Tips for Finding, Buying, and Moving into an Accessible Home

by Meredith Jones

There are a number of reasons to buy an accessible home. Perhaps you have a disability, you have a loved one with a disability, or maybe you’re an older adult making preparations for aging-in-place. Whatever your reason, buying an accessible home has its challenges.

Due to the shortage of accessible housing, people need to approach the house-hunting process with a solid strategy. Here are some tips to help, courtesy of Shepherd’s Centers of America.

Connect With a Great Agent

Before you do anything else, get in touch with an agent who cares about finding a home that is perfectly suited to you. Ask your agent a few important questions to get a sense of their reputation and professionality:

  • How long have you been an agent?
  • How many buyer clients do you have right now?
  • How long does it typically take your buyers to find a home?
  • Can I call your references?
  • Are you familiar with these neighborhoods and regions?
  • How do you help buyers stand out in a competitive market?

Research Your Mortgage Options

Researching mortgages is another important step to take before you start shopping for homes. Because there’s a lot of demand for accessible homes, they can be quite pricey. Ensure you understand your mortgage options to get help financing this big purchase. Learn the difference between an adjustable rate and a fixed-rate loan. In a fixed-rate mortgage, interest rates are static for the life of the loan. This is ideal for people who want to know exactly how much they will pay monthly.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

With a mortgage pre-approval, you’ll have a better idea of the amount you can comfortably spend on your home. A pre-approval will also show sellers you’re serious about buying, giving you a competitive edge. When you finally find the perfect accessible home, your mortgage pre-approval will allow you to move quickly and snap up the property before anyone else does!

Prepare your finances in advance to ensure you get pre-approved for the mortgage you want. For example, take steps to increase your credit score and improve your debt-to-income ratio. You may also want to put more money aside for a down payment. A higher down payment amount can help you get a better mortgage rate!

Negotiate With the Seller

When beginning the negotiation process, it is important to familiarize yourself with market conditions such as housing prices and loan rates to ensure you are getting a good deal. Secondly, make sure to be realistic with your offer. Try not to get too caught up with small details that might not have much of an effect on the final sale price and focus on terms that will make the most difference.

Connect with a Local Handyperson

Utilizing an app to find contractors for your home projects can significantly streamline your renovation or repair process. When you’re looking for a handyperson service, this app provides a seamless way to connect with vetted professionals ready to tackle your needs. Moreover, it offers access to experts who can guide you whenever you have questions, ensuring you’re never left in the dark about any aspect of your project.

Beyond finding the right person for the job, this type of  app allows you to manage your project directly within the platform— from initial consultation to final completion. This integrated approach simplifies communication, scheduling, and payment, making it easier than ever to bring your home improvement visions to life.

Make Your Own Modifications

If you can’t find an accessible home on the market, look for homes that are potentially modifiable. Just remember to account for the added cost of making these modifications on your own. You may be able to get federal, state, or private grants to offset the cost of your home modifications. For example, there are several home improvement grants for veterans, rural homeowners with lower incomes, and homeowners with spinal cord injuries.

Add Smart Tech

Integrating smart technology into your new home can significantly enhance your living experience by adding convenience, efficiency, and security. From smart thermostats that adjust the temperature for optimal comfort and energy savings, to intelligent lighting systems that you can control with your voice or smartphone, the possibilities are vast.

Imagine having smart locks that provide keyless entry and give you peace of mind with enhanced security features, or smart assistants that help manage your daily tasks and entertainment needs. These innovations not only make your home more responsive to your lifestyle but also can assist you in creating a living space that’s safer, more comfortable, and perfectly attuned to your preferences.

Plan for a Stress-Free Move

Moving is always stressful, especially if you have a disability. Hire help to make the process easier. You can hire people to help with decluttering, packing, organizing, moving, cleaning, and anything else that needs to be done. Moving.com points out that many companies also offer on-demand storage services, meaning they will pick up items from your home and deliver to a storage unit for you. You may even want to hire a moving specialist to protect particularly valuable or heavy items that need to be transported to your new home.

Believe it or not, accessible house-hunting doesn’t have to be a frustrating nightmare! Work with a great estate agent, know your mortgage options, plan your own home modifications, negotiate with the seller, and hire professionals to help with the big move. All your efforts will be worth it when you put your feet up in your new accessible home!

Shepherd’s Centers of America connects older adults to empowering programs, which improve their health and quality of life in more ways than you might imagine. Visit our website to learn more!

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