Purchasing an Accessible Home“Accessible” describes a place that is easy for a person to enter, navigate and use. What an accessible home looks like varies from person to person, because every disability is different. Accessibility for a person in a wheelchair, for example, looks different than accessibility for a person with a hearing impairment. Many buyers seeking accessible homes aren’t people with lifelong disabilities. Rather, they’re adults experiencing age-related changes to their mobility and vision. For these buyers, certain home features offer broad appeal such as: There are additional features buyers might want in an accessible home, such as lever door handles, multi-height kitchen counters, bathroom grab bars and smart home technology. However, these features should be considered “wants,” not “needs” as buyers shop for a home. That’s because finding a fully accessible home is difficult and buyers are unlikely to find every desired feature in a move-in ready home. Buyers should prioritize structural features when shopping for an accessible home and plan to modify their new home with inexpensive updates like new door hardware to achieve full accessibility.
If possible, buyers should purchase a new home prior to selling their current home. This allows time to complete minor modifications before moving into the new home. If sale proceeds are needed for the purchase of a new home, renting temporary accommodations is another option that spares buyers the hassle of living in a home during remodeling.
Remodeling a Home for AccessibilityIndividuals who choose to stay in their current home have a different challenge: modifying an inaccessible home to meet their mobility needs. This is especially difficult in homes with multiple stories or closed floor plans, as remodeling could require expensive structural changes like installing an elevatoror removing walls.
Homeowners should note which modifications are necessary to achieve full accessibility and research costs for each project. Remodeling projects that address current mobility needs should come first, while less urgent projects are saved for later to spread out remodeling costs. Homeowners should also have a plan for financing their remodel. The Seattle Times lists the most common ways homeowners finance remodeling projects, while Paying for Senior Care suggests home improvement grants, low-interest loans, and other forms of financing assistance for home accessibility modifications.
If remodeling would exceed the cost of moving into a more appropriate home, homeowners should reconsider their plan to age in place. While it’s difficult to leave behind a cherished home, remodeling an entire home is a lengthy, stressful and expensive process. Remodeling just one bathroom can cost from $3,833 to $12,571 for Englewood, Colorado, homeowners, and it could render the room unusable for several weeks.
Choosing whether to move or stay in a home isn’t an easy decision. However, it’s important that people with mobility impairments let safety and finances, not emotion, guide their choice. As hard as it is to say goodbye to a home, a safe and accessible living environment is essential for maintaining a high-quality life with impaired mobility.
(Article provided by Medina at Accessiville.org .)
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