7 Important Things to Know While Looking For Accessible Housing
Paradigms about inclusive home access are shifting among builders and architects. Accessible housing is becoming more of a priority. However, it can still be difficult to find a house that suits your needs. Here are a few tips on how to find a house that works for you.
1. Start online
There are lots of different online services and apps that can be used to find a house. Some search tools allow you to narrow your search based on accessibility, while others will provide pictures to help you get an idea of what the house is like. In addition to prices, you can also look up crime statistics of a particular neighborhood and find out the home’s proximity to important areas, such as the grocery store and public transit access. Once you find a few you like, spend an afternoon driving by to get a better idea of the exterior layout since entering and exiting is often a challenge for people with mobility concerns.
2. Be realistic about pricing
According to the Motley Fool, being realistic about how much you can afford for a home involves more than just the down payment and mortgage. Your entire debt load, which includes mortgage, car payment, credit cards, student loans, and any other payments, shouldn’t exceed 36 percent of your pre-tax income. Try to limit the mortgage to no more than 28 percent of your pre-tax income. When budgeting for a house, include whatever finances you can.
3. Find a trusted agent
A good real estate agent is someone who is both savvy and caring. Since most real estate agents are paid solely through commission, they are incentivized to do a good job. Look at different real estate companies and interview a few agents. See which ones you are the most compatible with and can best help you find a house that meets your needs.
4. Get pre-approved
Getting pre-approved by a lender will help you narrow down your financial range almost immediately. The first thing that a company will do to get you pre-approved is to pull your credit report and credit score. If your credit score isn’t high enough to get approved for the type of loan you’d like, make a plan to pay off any debt you may have or raise your score however you can. It can take time to pay off debt, and you may have to postpone your house hunting for a while. Be patient. Improving your credit score and taking care of debt will put you in a better financial situation and help you in the long run. If your disability makes it difficult to earn an income high enough for a home with the amenities that you need, you may have access to assistance. Contact your local housing authority and ask about HUD Section 8 and other programs available to you.
5. Highlight potential modifications
When house hunting, it’s tempting to get nit-picky about what isn’t working. Remember, some things can be changed or replaced. Don’t pass on a good house that just needs to have some modifications. It’s worth consulting a contractor who can determine whatever modifications you may need and give you a quote on how much they’ll cost. A good example would be the bathroom. You may need a larger space to maneuver a wheelchair or walker. Check into opening the closet and reconfiguring the space to best suit your needs. A wheelchair ramp, stairway elevator, and grab bars in the bath are also changes you can make to a home that’s not quite perfect.
6. Hire a cleaning service
Some areas of the home, like carpets, require a professional service to keep a house truly clean. It also would be useful to get the kitchen and bathroom professionally cleaned, as this can get rid of any potential mold or allergens that might lurk in the rooms.
7. Change the locks
After purchasing your house, you’ll want to secure your home. There are many ways to do this, including installing a deadbolt and a door latch, as well as securing the windows. Once you figure out your move-in date, address the locks first by booking a locksmith. It’ll cost you approximately $96 to $210 to install new locks. You could also add a keyless lock if you have trouble turning a deadbolt.
Technology that includes home automation will continue to make houses more accessible. Your home may feature some of these improvements, or you may need to install them yourself. In the meantime, budget realistically, find a trusted agent, and don’t be afraid of modifications. These tips can make your home a place you love to live in.
Guest Blog brought to you by Patrick Young. For more information about accessible living visit ableusa.com