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If you have a disability, searching for a home
requires an extra layer of thought and consideration. Any house you purchase
must either already be accessible for you or be easily modified to suit your
needs. This can make the house-hunting process substantially more stressful.
However, if you know what to look for and
empower yourself with knowledge from the start, you’ll have a much easier time.
Here’s a look at a few of the things you should keep in mind while searching
for an accessible home.
Your specific accessibility needs matter most,
but there are a few general features to look for in an accessible
home. For example, you should try to value ranch and other single-level homes over those with multiple
floors. Try to avoid homes that have elevation changes between rooms on a
single level, such as those with sunken living rooms.
Other small things, such as levers on doors and cabinetry, will make life
substantially easier for you. You may not be able to find all these things in a
house but keep them in mind. You can always make upgrades later on, but the
more accessible your home is from the start, the better.
Buying a home is expensive, no matter what.
Your first step should be taking a good look at your funds to figure out what
you can afford. There are plenty of online calculators that can give you a
sense of how much house you can purchase, as well as what kinds of loans you
can take out.
There may also be resources available that can
lessen your financial burden. For example, PennyMac
VA loans allow veterans to purchase homes with a small (or even no)
down payment without taking on mortgage insurance charges. Moreover, these
loans tend to have more favorable rates than conventional loans. There are
plenty of other loan and grant programs that may be available to you as well,
so research your options and see what makes the most sense for your situation.
The cost of the house itself isn’t the only
thing to consider. You should also budget in additional costs, such as the home inspection or hiring movers. Don’t skimp
out on these. An inspector is vital, as they will ensure your home is fit for
the necessary renovations. Movers make a big difference as well, saving you
tons of stress. If you’re moving long distance, consider a hybrid moving service,
which splits the cost between the movers that load
the van, the driver, and the unloading movers in the new location.
In addition to the money you should expect to
pay when you move in, you should also consider long-term costs. If you have a
degenerative disability, or you expect to live in your new home for a long
time, there’s a good chance you’ll need to add more accessibility features as
time goes on.
There are plenty of ways you can upgrade your
home to make it more accessible, from hardware changes and simple ramp
installations to shower conversions and stair
lifts. These costs can surprise you if you don’t plan ahead for
Before you purchase a house, give serious
consideration to what kinds of upgrades and renovations it may need over time.
It may be tempting to go with the first house you see regardless of what it
might need down the line, but if you take your time to find a house that
already features most of what you need, you’ll be better off in the long run.