Once again we have a post by our guest writer Harry Cline with sage advice, this time for people with disabilities and how they can ensure the purchase of just the right home:

 No matter what your circumstances, your home should be convenient for you and supportive of your lifestyle. When you’re a homebuyer with a disability, finding a good fit can be challenging. However, with a handful of smart resources, your home can not only meets your basic needs but also help you live a more comfortable and fulfilling life.

 When Buying a Home these are things you will want to consider:

Exercising Your Rights 

Buying a home can be a difficult task, regardless of your circumstances. It’s a major purchase, so while it’s exciting to embark on the adventure of finding an abode of your very own, several concerns may be running through your mind.  Your budget is a big one. Using an online calculator, like this one, can ease your mind. You may be concerned about discrimination as well, but it’s important to understand your purchase of a home is a protected right. Lenders, sellers, and real estate agents owe you the same respect as any other homebuyer. If you feel your rights are violated there are ways to get help. You can file an online complaint form or discuss your options with an attorney.

Housing Trend 

Finding a home to accommodate your unique needs can be daunting. However, there are a couple of popular trends that are making accessible homes more readily available. They are:

  • Universal design. Universal design applies to meeting the needs of all people who might reside in a home, regardless of age, size, and ability.
  • Aging in place. Aging in place is specifically oriented toward helping people remain in their homes as their bodies and minds age.

The nature of the two concepts, to help people live comfortably and independently in a home that supports their needs, means there is a great deal of overlap in home features. For instance, steps are usually limited, and bathrooms typically offer grab bars, a threshold-free shower, and raised toilets. The accessible kitchen area might boast such amenities as a shallow sink with a recess underneath to accommodate working in a seated position, an easy-to-reach dishwasher, and a low-mounted microwave. Because these ideas are increasingly executed, the availability of homes that could potentially meet your needs, or be easily tailored to your specifics, is growing.

Modifying a Home

Evaluate Bones 

It can be a little overwhelming deciding what modifications to make to an existing home, and in what order. This can feel particularly complicated when your home’s structure requires altering.  Starting with a home accessibility checklist can clarify where a house’s weakest areas are and help you prioritize modifications. For instance, if the house is currently set up with multiple-level living, you may need to create living areas on the ground floor. This can mean turning an office into a bedroom or adding a bathroom or kitchen. Installing a chairlift is another idea, one which can help reach facilities on different floors such as the laundry area.  HowStuffWorks explains you may also need to widen hallways and doorways to accommodate assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or walkers. 

Easy Additions 

Sometimes, the simplest things can make the biggest differences in accessibility. Flooring is a relatively easy and inexpensive modification. If your home currently has plush carpeting, consider installing a smooth surface throughout, such as vinyl or linoleum. This Old House suggests adding an automated lights system, which you can control from a wireless remote, master control, or even your cell phone. Think outside the box on making individual rooms more functional as well. For instance, installing a towel bar or hook at the perfect height next to the bathing area makes reaching for a robe or towel convenient. Or, you could make the kitchen more accessible with roll-out drawers in lower cabinets. 

Accessible and Comfortable 

Whether you opt to purchase a new home or modify an existing one, your home should promote your independence. Evaluate your needs and weigh your options. With thoughtful considerations, your home can improve your quality of life.

Valentina Boonstra

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