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Top Tips for Finding an Accessible Home

| August 28, 2019
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House hunting, buying, selling, and moving can be challenging no matter the circumstances.  When you’re looking for an accessible property, things can be even more complicated.  Here are some pointers for simplifying your search and locating the perfect place to call “home.”

A cornucopia of options 

When it comes to features in accessible homes, the options are nearly limitless.  It’s important to think through what will be your first priorities in a property.  Some suggestions that can be especially desirable are things like a one-floor living plan, a no-step entryway, and an open-floor plan.  Oftentimes finding a home with a comfortable structure will allow you to make changes over time.  Think about what will provide the most independence immediately, and then what features you would be interested in adding in the future. 

When looking at potential homes, these are some commonly selected features which can enhance accessibility: 

Lighting.  Great lighting and easy-to-reach switches and outlets can make it easier to navigate throughout the home.  Improved exterior lighting can also bolster navigation and safety, especially around walkways and the main entry.

Entryway.  Consider installing a zero-step entryway, or adding a ramp to improve accessibility.  Depending on your situation, a portable ramp could be a helpful option. 

Doors and door-frames.  Many people benefit from small changes to interior doors, such as widening them and replacing round door knobs with lever-style handles. 

Flooring.  Homeowners often consider installing new floors in their homes.  Think about whether you would be comfortable with low-pile carpet, or if you prefer fully accessible flooring options, such as hardwood, tile, laminate, or vinyl.  Consider some of the newer options out there as well, such as cork or rubber flooring, which are soft yet durable choices.

Kitchen.  Most homes don’t have what would be considered accessible kitchens, but many people benefit from some simple changes and won’t need a comprehensive kitchen remodel, which can run as high as $55,000 in Las Vegas.  Depending on your circumstances, a side-by-side refrigerator, or one with the freezer on the bottom, could be preferable.  Removing the kitchen sink and cabinet so you can install an accessible version can be a boon.  Consider slide-out shelves on low cabinetry, and a Lazy Susan (available for $11.99) in a corner cabinet to make it easier to access supplies. 

Bathroom.  Bathrooms are especially challenging for many people.  There are several ways to immediately improve a more traditional bathroom, such as adding a bench to the shower (an adjustable bench can be purchased on Amazon for $32.50), installing a handheld showerhead, and replacing the faucet with one that has lever-style handles.  If a barrier-free bathroom is your goal, you might need to gut the space and revamp it, which can be a worthwhile investment for the sake of comfort and safety for many homeowners. 

Stair lift.  Sometimes the property you decide on has stairs to navigate.  Adding a stair lift can be a help for many homeowners, even if your main living area is the ground floor. 

Thinking ahead

As exciting as it is, moving can be a chaotic adventure.  Some of the small details you might feel like putting off until later are often better managed before things get too hectic.  For instance, when you find your new home, updating your change of address keeps mail and bills coming without delay.  Transferring utilities is another must, as well as installing new locks on your home, since there’s no way to be sure who has keys to the place.  By knocking out some tasks before moving day, you can smooth out the process, and settle into your new home with peace of mind.

Finding an accessible home is challenging.  Consider searching for a home with features that are especially important for your personal safety and independence, and think about what you could add over time.  It’s a great way to get into a comfortable and supportive property, and then you can turn it into your ideal home.

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