Your home is a space where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the world and enjoy some peace. When you’re shopping for real estate, you want to find a property that suits your personal style and needs. This is especially true if you are living with a disability. Individuals with disabilities tend to have lower-incomes, making the hunt for affordable yet accessible housing more challenging. However, with some advanced planning, time, and effort, you will find your dream home. Let the below steps guide you through the process.
Determine your budget and financing needs in advance
If you currently own a house that you are planning to sell, get an idea of how much of a profit you will make using a real estate valuation tool like Zillow. Look at properties similar to yours in terms of design and square footage in your area to get an estimate of how much your place might sell for. The money you make can go towards your down payment on your new place—ideally, about 20% of the total sale price.
When investing in an accessible home, there may also be financing options available. For example, the U.S. Government’s Federal Housing Authority offers mortgage loans based on income received from Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. You just have to prove that you will continue to receive these benefits for at least three years after applying for the loan. If you are unemployed or only employed on a partial basis because of your disability, such a loan can be helpful.
Make a list of your accessibility needs
Different individuals have different needs in terms of accessibility. For example, individuals living with cerebral palsy are advised to get a house with a single-level floor plan that eliminates the need to climb stairs. If you have vision problems and require a guide dog, getting a house with a yard where your four-legged friend can get fresh air makes sense. Other characteristics that make a house more accessible include handrails, a shower with a seat, and doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Keep your future accessibility minds in need as well: You might not need a wheelchair now, for instance, but will you require one down the line?
Odds are you won’t find a house that meets every single criteria on your accessibility checklist. Home renovations can help fill in the gaps. Take one of the most frequently used rooms of the house, for example—the bathroom. To make it wheelchair accessible, you can have the doorways widened, add a walk-in shower, and lower the height of the sink.
Leave plenty of time for a smooth move
Once you’ve found your accessible home, start preparing to move. To minimize stress, leave plenty of time for the transition. Plan on packing up one room at a time so that your entire house isn’t turned into a whirlwind at once. Use colored post-its to specify which boxes should go into which rooms, and keep a list of how many boxes you have per room to ensure nothing gets lost. If you are going a long distance, consider a hybrid move. With this approach, you divide your move amongst three providers—local movers to unpack your house, a transport team to drive your goods, and local movers in your new location to unload the truck. This approach tends to be cheaper and can save you up to 40% on moving costs.
There’s no need for house hunting and moving to be a stressful experience. With these guidelines, you will be able to find an accessible home and enjoy a hassle-free move. Just give yourself some time and soon enough, you’ll be comfortable in your new house.
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