A guest post by Patrick Young
When it comes to house hunting, everyone is working to find a home where they can live safely, comfortably, and happily. However, disabled people can have a far harder time with this than able-bodied house hunters. After all, most homes weren’t created to be accessible or with accessibility in mind, and, depending on the design, a home can be difficult or impossible to modify.
Here at 4 Buyers Real Estate, we do our best to make sure that everyone can find the home of their dreams. In order to help you reach that reality, we’ve come up with this guide to accessible house hunting. Here’s some information to help you tackle this task.
Rule Dealbreakers Out
The easiest way to narrow your search and prevent things from getting overwhelming is to pick two or three neighborhoods to consider and rule everything else out. This will make your hunting process less stressful by leaps and bounds. Check out our guide to finding the right neighborhoods for you and naturally limiting your search to accessible areas.
You can also narrow your search by figuring out which home details are non-starters, either due to aesthetic preferences or accessibility needs. For example, if you need a wheelchair or wide mobility device to get around, you can quickly rule out homes with narrow hallways. If you just don’t like how Cape Cod homes look, then you don’t have to consider that type of home “just in case.”
Let yourself have deal breakers: It will get rid of house hunting background noise and help you hone on in the details that matter most.
Utilize Disability Resources
Take full advantage of any resources that are available to you locally while you’re house hunting. For example, you can reach out to your local disability office to see if they have any guidance on which neighborhoods take the best care of their sidewalks. Local disability groups may have insight into positive (or negative) house features you may not have considered yourself, or be able to get you in touch with a contractor that can confidently evaluate potential properties for accessible modifications.
Figure Out Your Finances
When house hunting, you need to make sure you have your financing in order. Reach out to your lender to get a sense of how much house you can afford. Be sure to ask about whether any portion of your loan can go towards modifications or upgrades for the home such as ramps, elevators, or lowering shelves and cabinets. The ability to make some changes to potential properties to make them more accessible will open your options up significantly.
You should also think about the best way to buy your house. For example, if you run a home-based business, it may make sense to purchase your home under your LLC. This can offer some tax benefits, which can save you money in the long run. However, this isn’t the right fit for every business or business owner. Talk to your lawyer about whether or not this makes sense for you.
If it would be a good fit, but you haven’t yet registered as an LLC, consider hiring a service to do so on your behalf. The process can be a bit tedious, and outsourcing that work will save you time and energy that can be spent on more urgent tasks.
Although house hunting with a disability isn’t always an easy task, it’s certainly worth the work. Everyone deserves to be able to find the home that’s right for them. With knowledgeable allies on your side, you can make your dream home a reality.
On the hunt for your dream home? 4 Buyers Real Estate can help you in your search — contact us today!
Patrick Young wrote this blog post for us. He has been disabled since he was a teenager. When he’s not busy working as a graphic designer and writer, he spends time playing on a wheelchair basketball team and cooking with his wife.
Photo Credit: Pexels