How to Find an Accessible Home: Tips for Buyers with DisabilitiesHome builders are increasingly embracing accessibility, with universal design features like first-floor master suites, lever door
How To Find An Accessible Home Tips For Buyers With Disabilities
How to Find an Accessible Home: Tips for Buyers with Disabilities
Home builders are increasingly embracing accessibility, with universal design features like first-floor master suites, lever door handles, and accessible switches and outlets growing more common in new construction. However, for people who need total accessibility at home, it’s still challenging to find a house that meets their needs.
This guide will discuss what makes a home accessible and how people with disabilities can create a home that works for them.
What Makes a Home Accessible?
Accessibility looks different for everyone. What makes a home accessible for a wheelchair user is different from what makes a home accessible for a person with vision loss. However, there are some things all accessible homes have in common:
Single-level living: People with disabilities aren’t strictly limited to single-story homes thanks to residential elevators and chairlifts. However, single-story homes offer a more turnkey solution for people with disabilities.
Physical supports: From railings to grab bars, physical supports are important for people with physical disabilities. Many supports can be built into a home’s design, such as a half wall between the kitchen and dining area or towel bars that double as grab bars.
Wide-open spaces: Accessible homes have wider doorways and hallways and rooms large enough for mobility device users to turn and navigate freely.
Accessible outlets and switches: When builders bring light switches down and outlets up, they’re easier to reach whether you’re standing or in a wheelchair.
No or low thresholds: Thresholds are a barrier for wheelchair users as well as a trip hazard. Eliminating thresholds in doorways and showers allows free access to every part of the home.
Parking: For people with disabilities who drive, it’s important to have parking with a clear, flat pathway to the door and enough space for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle if needed.
These are the features to prioritize when searching for your home. However, this may not be all you need to live a barrier-free life at home. Despite the growing popularity of universal design, most people with disabilities still need to renovate to achieve full accessibility.
Renovating for Home Accessibility
Buying a house that has the basic framework for accessibility spares you major remodeling, but people with disabilities should expect to do some renovation after purchasing a home. Luckily, there are mortgages, loans, and grants that can help pay for home modifications.
These are renovations you may have to undertake as a homeowner with disabilities:
Bathroom remodeling: Bathroom remodeling may include installing grab bars, a roll-in shower, and new fixtures. Since these projects far exceed DIY skills, you’ll need to hire a bathroom remodeling contractor. Bathroom remodels cost Scottsdale homeowners $10,944 on average, but you may spend less or more depending on the bathroom projects planned.
Kitchen remodeling: Common kitchen projects include lowering cabinets and countertops, installing accessible appliances, and modifying cabinets for roll-out and pull-down access. Kitchen remodeling costs can easily surpass $25,000. For an affordable stopgap solution, replace the appliances and use a kitchen island as an accessible workspace.
Replacing hardware and fixtures: Compared to kitchen and bath remodeling, replacing hardware and fixtures is cheap. Nonetheless, costs add up. Homeowners may need to replace doorknobs, cabinet hardware, faucets, and switches as well as install new outlets, switches, and lighting fixtures. Simple hardware replacements can be done yourself, but anything that involves moving plumbing or wiring calls for a professional. Expect to pay $100 - $200 for minor plumbing and electrical projects.
Homeownership can be a great move for people with disabilities. Owning a home gives you greater freedom to turn your house into a barrier-free space. However, the path to homeownership is also more challenging when you have a disability. When you need help finding the right home for your accessibility needs, reach out to Dwellings Realty.
The Dwellings Team is comprised of the four owners of Dwellings Realty Group, all family members, and all graduates of The Ohio State University. We want you to know that we haven't forgotten the val....