House-Hunting for Accessible Properties: A How-To Guide

By Jillian Day

There is intense competition for accessible housing in the United States due to a lack of resources. According to The League, less than 2 percent of US housing units are accessible. Now, that doesn't mean that it's impossible to find a home that will suit your unique accessibility needs; the process will simply require a bit of extra time and effort. The following guide explains how to find an accessible property successfully.

House-Hunting for Accessible Properties: A How-To Guide

Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

Determine What 'Accessible' Means to You

Accessibility needs aren't universal, so write down your requirements to help guide your house hunt. For example, older individuals who have trouble with stairs may prefer to live in a single-level house. Meanwhile, persons in wheelchairs may require wider hallways and doorways. According to Karman Healthcare, a doorway needs to be at least 32 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair.

Let your list of accessibility needs help you negotiate your quest for a new place to call home. However, note that you might not find a perfect home "as-is" on the market. You should also keep an eye out for properties that can be easily modified to accommodate you. Say you require wheelchair accessibility, for example. Vantage Mobility explains how homes can be reconfigured accordingly by lowering doorknobs, adding ramps, and installing new appliances.

Get Your Paperwork Organized and Figure Out Your Finances

If you're a first-time homebuyer, there is some paperwork you should get organized before you make an offer on a house. First, do your research into the process, including determining what you can afford and how to find a real estate agent. One option is to connect with a service like Home Captain who can walk you through the entire home buying and selling process and provide a comparative market analysis.

You should also figure out your finances up front. For example, getting pre-approved for a loan can make you a more attractive buyer in the marketplace.

Accessible features on a home

Note that you may be able to take advantage of specialized loans or grants for disability housing. It's also possible to acquire additional funds to make the home modifications you need. Likewise, there are also grants for select groups like veterans. Military One Source details resources for veterans like Homes for Our Troops, a private nonprofit.

Must-haves for the House-hunting or Remodeling Process

With the above steps taken care of, you can start looking for your dream home. While you can get a head start by looking online, it's best to work with a realtor. They will have the networking and negotiating skills to secure the best deals. Similarly, if you plan to make renovations, hire a pro. Treasured Spaces highlights the advantages of working with a general contractor, such as the streamlined service and built-in insurance coverage.

Also, if you are able to attend an Abilities Expo, look for free, info-packed workshops on making your space accessible. At the upcoming Chicago Abilities Expo on June 25-27, the experts at Paralyzed Veterans of America will conduct their Accessible Home Design workshop at 1:00 pm on Friday.

Finding your dream home when you have accessibility needs may require some added investment of time, money and effort. However, it's by no means impossible. The above guide takes you through the process, step by step.

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