Our Top Search Tips for Finding the Right Accessible Home for You
As more seniors are ageing in place, and builders become aware of the need for homes to accommodate all types of abilities, it’s becoming easier to find homes that are designed with accessibility in mind. Even with the increased popularity of accessible home features, there’s still a chance that your perfect home won’t quite meet all your needs. We’re here to give you our top search tips, including how to transform any home into the one that’s just right for you.
Finding the Right Location
Of course, you want your home to meet your needs, but what about the neighbourhood? Even though all public buildings are required to provide reasonable access for people with disabilities, some towns and areas are more accessible than others. Some things to think about when choosing a location include proximity to amenities, accessible pavements, and other things you’d enjoy, like being close to a park or green space. If you have a certain town or neighbourhood in mind, start by researching the average home price in that area. You can start with online listings, but a real estate agent familiar with the area is often your best resource because they know the ins and outs of the area. This way, you can be sure that you’ll be looking at homes within your budget.
Looking at the Big Picture
Once you’ve set your budget and picked a location, you’re ready to start viewing homes so you can find “the one.” Details are important (we’ll get to those), but don’t forget to look at the big picture too. There are the obvious necessities to make a home accessible, and then there are less obvious needs you may overlook if your focus is too narrow. Abilities.comexplains how homes with universal design more than just specific features have but also the best layout for everyday activities for example, an ideal kitchen layout keeps in mind heights of work surfaces, rise and fall options, workflow, appliances, and accessories.
Another part of focusing on the big picture means thinking about changes you could make to a home and make the necessary accessibility upgrades. In an ideal world, the perfect home for you would already have all the features you need, but in case that home isn’t out there, it’s smart to think about potential modifications you could make. The important thing to consider during your search is how much work will be required to make a modification (will you need to hire a contractor, or could it be a DIY project?) and how much to budget for these changes. For instance, you should probably stay away from “as-is” properties even though they may seem like a great deal for a blank slate that you can customise to your needs. These homes typically have major functional issues that you’ll have to take care of before you can even begin thinking about addressing accessibility.
Focusing on Key Details
One reason it’s good to think about the big picture first is because a home’s layout is typically harder (and more costly) to alter than other features. The small details are important too, though, and they can make a huge difference in your everyday life.
Entrances: The main thing to look for is an entryway that’s step-free and that is wide enough. If you need to make modifications to meet these requirements, keep in mind that installing a ramp isn’t a very big project and there are several options you can choose from.
Halls and Doorways: Width is an essential feature inside the home, too, especially when it comes to navigating halls and interior doorways. According to Lifetime Homes, you’ll want to have at least a 1500mm clear turning circle or a turning ellipse of 1700mm x 1400mm in each room.
Kitchen and Bathroom Accessibility: As the blog Lotsa Helping Hands explains, kitchens and bathrooms are the two rooms that pose the biggest challenge when it comes to accessibility. That means these are also the rooms that may require the most work in terms of remodelling if the home you find doesn’t already have these features. In both rooms, you’ll need space underneath counters and sinks, plus safety features like grab bars in the bathroom.
Whether you’re thinking about the big picture or focusing on small details, the ultimate goal is to find a home that gives you maximum freedom and flexibility in everyday life. We believe there’s a perfect home out there for everyone. It just takes knowing how to search, which is why we’re here to help you find it!
Rush, Witt & Wilson are ready to help you find the perfect home. Take a look at our website or contact one of our offices to get started today!
Photo credit: Unsplash
Blog courtesy of AbleUSA