Finding the perfect new accessible home can feel like a hassle, even when you are searching for basic features. When your list of new home requirements includes design elements needed to accommodate a disability, however, house hunting can become even more stressful. Knowing where to look for properties and how to find the right financing can be overwhelming. So if you are a buyer with a disability who is currently struggling with these steps in the home buying process, you should know that asking yourself these questions can make things so much easier.
Are You Planning to Sell Your Current Home Before You Buy?
If you answered “yes” to this question, then the first step in your home-buying process should be to determine your home’s value. Online tools and calculators, such as the PennyMac home worth tool, can make this seemingly complicated task much easier. You can use this real estate tool to get a ballpark estimate of your current home’s worth. Since your current home value can be a huge factor for determining your new home budget, it’s also important to keep in mind that online estimates aren’t quite as accurate as professional appraisals. A number of local factors can impact the true value of your current home, so be sure to also get an appraisal from a qualified professional.
Does Your New Home Budget Include Modification Costs?
Depending on your accessibility needs, you may be hard-pressed to find a home that comes with all of the specifications and modifications on your list. While certain design features like a single-story floor plan may be easy to find in available homes, other accessibility features like widened doorways and ramps may be more difficult to find as you search for your perfect home. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t turn a less-than-perfect house into the accessible home of your dreams. You just need to include modification costs in your home-buying budget, which may mean adjusting the amount you can comfortably offer for an available home.
Should Your Future Needs Factor into Your Home Choice?
Buying a home is one of life’s biggest decisions. That’s why many people end up staying in their homes for years, or even decades. If you plan on growing old in the home you plan on purchasing, then you should think about your aging-in-place needs in addition to your current mobility requirements. Luckily, aging-in-place modifications tend to be very similar to those needed for more accessibility. Walk-in showers, grab bars, and ramps can help improve your mobility now while protecting you from serious falls as you get older.
What Are Your Lending Options?
Preparing your finances is one of the most essential steps in buying a home, and completing this step can also help you figure out which lending options may be available to help you pay for your accessible new home. As part of this process, you should review your credit reports and current assets, then research your eligibility for certain homeownership programs. For example, VA home loans typically require little to no down payment and offer lower interest rates, both of which can make buying a home more affordable, especially for disabled veterans.
Is Your New Neighborhood as Accessible as Your New Home?
When people with disabilities search for a new home, they also tend to search for accessibility features in the surrounding community. Accessible communities include design elements and accommodations that make it easier for citizens with disabilities to move around, including evenly paved sidewalks, ramps to building entrances, and safe access to public transportation. Having at least some of these features in your new neighborhood will make your day-to-day life less stressful, so be sure to mention these community needs to your real estate agent.
When you’re on the hunt for a home that accommodates your disability needs, you don’t have to feel so overwhelmed. Just start by asking yourself a few key questions, and your quest for the perfect new home can involve a lot less hassle and a lot more happiness.
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