Shopping for an accessible home is easier than you might think. With advances in both design and available technologies, there’s no end to the accessible features you might find in your new home. Of course, making modifications is also an option, especially if you start with the right floor plan. Here’s what to prioritize when hunting for a house that’s accessible — or modifiable.
Connect with a Savvy Agent
The first and most important step in your house hunting process is to connect with the real estate agent Mike Farmer. He will be able to take your housing needs into account, and will help guide you through the process of finding the perfect new home.
Consider Your Options
Before you launch this major home hunt, there are a few important points you want to keep in mind. Take stock of your budget so you know exactly what you can afford to spend on a home, and be sure to add a little extra to cover any necessary repairs or modifications. Knowing how much you can afford and what houses typically cost in Savannah (for example, they averaged $235K last month) gives you a starting point as you prepare to shop around for a lender. Once you have these ducks in a row, it’s time to start looking for your new home.
Don’t Focus on Flooring
While plenty of homes feature carpet, fewer prospective homebuyers prefer such flooring. But this shouldn’t be a dealbreaker when you’re shopping for your dream home. Modifying your home by adding wood flooring not only makes it more accessible, but it’s also easier to clean than carpet. Plus, hardwood may increase the value of your property, notes the Spruce.
Look at the Floor Plan
While replacing the floors in a new home may not be a significant project, tearing down walls certainly is. Therefore, you should prioritize the floor plan when shopping for a house.
Wider doorways, for example, to accommodate a person in a wheelchair may be a necessary requirement for your new home. Generally, a 32-inch width is ideal — and it’s the rule for ADA-compliant doorways in businesses, too.
Adequately sized bathrooms are another consideration. After all, you can tear out a bathtub in a day, but expanding the bathroom’s square footage won’t be an easy task. Additions like a curbless shower might cost more than standard shower stalls, explains Plank and Pillow.
With ample room in the floor plan, however, the installation is a bit simpler. The same goes for other aspects of the home, whether the layout involves a fluid kitchen-to-dining transition or a stark lack of narrow hallways.
Lot Size and Layout
Location is everything for many homebuyers, and that includes the lot size and layout. Regardless of the features a home offers inside, if it lies on an uneven lot or up a full flight of stairs, it may not be your dream property. That said, designing an accessible home from the ground up may not be an option for many homebuyers.
In most cases, installing ramps can help with accessibility on an uneven lot or home with stairs (installing a wheelchair-accessible ramp typically costs between $1,000 and $2,800). But winding pathways and ground-level gardens are also inaccessible for many people who use wheelchairs. If the lot allows, you may be able to install a wheelchair-accessible garden and pathways. If not, you may want to continue looking for a property that’s a better fit. After all, removing soil and smoothing the entire yard is costly and time-consuming.
Picture the Potential
While not every house will have the features you need, it pays to keep an open mind. Whatever features the home currently has, know that there may be a modification to make it work.
For example, you could design an accessible kitchen with modular, adjustable countertops and cabinets. Without removing the existing kitchen, you can use modular installations to make counter heights accessible to every family member or provide lower cabinets for easier use.
Checking out other homeowners’ renovations and custom home case studies can also help shed light on reasonable modifications. Ultimately, utility must come first when shopping for or building a new home. So, seeing how others thrive in their modified homes can help you picture yourself in yours.
While it’s not ideal to face renovations on your home as soon as you purchase it, keeping an open mind can help you narrow down the search. Whether you scout out a property that’s perfect as-is or make some strategic changes to an otherwise ideal home, achieving an accessible abode is easier than you may have imagined.
Photo via Pixabay