February 18, 2022
House hunting is, in and of itself, a tall order. However, when you have accessibility needs, finding the right home to accommodate your disability is even more challenging. According to a recent study, of the 11.6 million people living with disabilities in the United Kingdom, 1.8 million don't have suitable accommodation. Those living in the United States aren't fairing much better either with most struggling to get affordable housing.
Fortunately, there are various resources you can use to help you find your perfect home. The traditional way is to use a real estate professional who specializes in helping people like you find their dream home. However, there are other less conventional methods that you can consider.
Find accessible housing already on the market
Before you start shopping around, make sure you are clear on what your exact requirements are. For instance, Door Sponge notes that if you are using a wheelchair, you're probably looking for a single-level house with hallways and doorways wide enough to fit the wheelchair. You might also need rails, ramps, and a roll-in shower to make life much easier. Also, the sinks and counters in kitchens and bathrooms need to be at your wheelchair's height.
While you can still find a suitable property by using sites like Zillow, when looking for accessible housing, your best bet is to work with a realtor. A real estate professional will help save you all the time and hassle of sifting through thousands of listings. You just have to provide them with a list of your requirements, and they will get back to you with suitable properties. An experienced realtor has a couple of valuable resources that you lack - insider knowledge and professional networks. They can even show you ideal properties that are yet to hit the market, boosting your chances of securing a property. A professional estate agent will help when you need to sell a house fast.
Make necessary renovations
If even with the help of a realtor you are unable to find an ideal home that meets your accessibility needs, you can opt to buy a house and then renovate it according to your requirements. There are several benefits to using this route. To begin with, you'll have more options since you won't be limited by your accessibility needs. Secondly, it allows you to have your perfect dream house by adding all the features you've always wanted in a house. Lastly, you may be able to find a much cheaper property since you'll have a wider pool to choose from.
Using the funds you save from the purchase, you can make the required renovations. Keep in mind that renovating a home to accommodate physical disabilities can be quite expensive. According to Improvement, such a project costs a total of $5,233, on average. The scope of your renovation will depend on your preferences. A kitchen, for instance, can be made more wheelchair accessible by lowering the height of the countertops and moving appliances down to your chair's level.
Buy a home "as-is" to get a cheaper deal
As you might be aware, buying a home is one of the most expensive personal investments. The average house price in the UK is £231,855 while the average property in the US goes for around $284,600. Buying a house "as-is" allows you to save more money on your purchase and, thus, can spend more on renovations. "As is" means that you are willing to buy the house in its current condition. While this allows you to get a property at a cheaper price, you can require the seller to make repairs, even if it has serious defects.
If you are planning on buying a house as-is, there are some steps you can take to safeguard your investment. First, you need to talk to a lawyer and do a title search. You also need to check the land records for any warning signs. For instance, in case the area constantly experiences flooding, this may be indicated in the land records. An attorney will help to draft a contract that includes a provision allowing for a full-home inspection as well as the option to back out of the deal in case of any issues.
Finding your perfect home shouldn't be as difficult as it often is. With the right information and help from an experienced real estate professional, you can make the process much easier and faster.