Guest Blog by Beverly Nelson, Stand Up for Caregivers!
Finding the right home for your needs can be challenging when you need it to be accessible. Since there are so many different disabilities, and combinations of them, a great first step in your search would be to sit down and make a list of your needs. Then prioritize them into MUST HAVES, PREFER TO HAVE, and WOULD BE NICE.
For example, some homes may have no stairs but the doorways aren’t wide enough to allow for a wheelchair or other equipment, while others have lots of open space spread out between two floors. Wheelchairs come in different sizes so maybe you adjust the wheelchair rather than rejecting the home. Looking at your priority list allows you to quickly work through the alternative home choices. Since your home should be a comfortable place where you feel safe, it’s important to find the exact right spot for your needs.
Fortunately, if finding an existing home that fits your needs is too difficult, you do have the option to buy a home that’s close to perfect but needs a little work. There are some basic home modifications you can do that will allow you a full range of mobility, as well as others that cost a bit more but may be worth it in the long run if you love everything else about the home. These changes might include widening doorways, lowering countertops, knocking down walls, and installing safety measures in the kitchen and bathrooms.
Looking forward is another great consideration. If you are the caregiver what happens if you succumb to some minor disability which affects your ability to assist the disabled person. In that case, is the home useable or could that situation lead to an additional move? Or would you then need to bring in additional help? Also, if the disability is a relatively short-term situation which may improve over time because of having physical therapy then additional patience may be required. These are all important considerations.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to find the right home for your needs.
Do Some Research
The classifications for an “accessible” house or apartment differ widely depending on the area you live in and what your specific needs are. For instance, some of these offer a variety of equipment already installed, such as stair-lifts, tracks on the ceiling for hoists, and lowered countertops, while others offer an elevator and a step-free living area. Do some research to find out what’s available where you live, what the price ranges are, and exactly what you need.
Find a Good Realtor
Because there are sites specifically dedicated to home listings that are accessible for a variety of needs, it can take quite a while to go through them all to find what you want. It’s best to have a great realtor who can help you sort through the data and narrow down the choices. Look online and do a little homework before making a decision and talk to a few different real estate agents to find out where their specialty lies. You might network around the area to see if there is an agent with experience with disabled clients. Their sensitivity to the situation, as well as their experiences might help significantly in the search.
Set a Budget
Knowing how much you can afford to spend on modifications is important, especially if you live in a small community where accessible homes are rare. Do some research on the types of modifications you’ll need and set a budget with a little padding; you never know what unforeseen costs may come your way. Keep in mind that the average national cost for disability accommodation remodeling is $5,233 but this can vary significantly depending on the target area and required modifications.
Hire a Contractor
While some home modifications may be DIY jobs, many others will require a professional contractor who knows his way around drywall and power tools. It’s important to hire the right person for the job, so look online for reviews and get quotes for cost and deadlines before making a hiring decision. Disability modification experience is nearly a must, particularly if the project is larger!
Look for Grants
In many states, there are grants available for individuals with disabilities who are looking to make changes to their homes. Do some research online to find programs specific to your state and pay close attention to the eligibility requirements. You may be able to get funding for most or all your home modifications this way.
Finding the right accessible home can take some time, so try to be patient as you look for a place that suits your needs. Talk to your friends and family members about your needs to get their more independent perspective of your needs. Their counsel may be more realistic than our own since they are looking in on the situation in contrast to being emotionally involved on a daily basis.
We hope that all of these considerations will assist you as you narrow down your choices.
great realtor – https://www.thebalance.com/finding-a-real-estate-agent-1798907
average national cost – https://www.improvenet.com/r/costs-and-prices/disability-remodeling-cost