How You Can Ensure the Hunt and Move to a New, Accessible Home Is Smooth Sailing
This post was written by Natalie Jones of Homeowner Bliss a recent homeowner looking to share her and her husband’s experience with those looking to find their first home!
Whether you have a disability or mobility issue or are about to take on the care of a loved one who does, finding an accessible home (or one that can easily be made accessible) is the key to a happy, healthy, independent life. If you’re just about to get started with the house hunt, be sure to heed these tips to ensure the search, as well as the pre-move period, is easier and comes with less stress than homebuying is famously known to bring.
Start Repairing Your Credit Score ASAP
Improving your credit score, which will determine if you get approved for a mortgage and how sweet an interest rate you’re offered, takes time and patience on your part. That’s why it’s vital that you start the repair process immediately. You’ll want to get a copy of your credit report so that you can make a solid plan. The three best things for building a solid credit score are paying off outstanding debt, minimizing the additional debt you incur, and time.
And while you’re thinking about financing, consider some additional options that those with disabilities have when it comes to securing a mortgage.
Find a Home That Checks Off as Many Boxes as Possible
Different people need different features in an accessible home, and only you know what those are for you or your loved one. Unless you build a brand new home from the ground up, nothing you find is going to check off all your boxes.
Your goal is simple: Find a home in the right location for the right price that is as close to what you need as possible (and one that has the potential for modifications). Know your own hierarchy of priorities. For example, if you value a single-story layout more than anything else, it doesn’t matter how many other boxes a potential home checks off — that one is necessary. Some potential priorities include an open layout, lack of stairs, wide pathways for wheelchair accessibility, smaller square footage for easier upkeep, and prime location within walking or short driving distance of your work, your kids’ school, or other points of interest.
Anticipate Future Modifications
Even if they aren’t currently built or designed in a perfectly accessible manner, some homes are better suited for accessibility modifications than others. You should anticipate any modifications you plan to make to any potential home and then enlist the help of a contractor or other building professional to help you estimate feasibility and cost. Ultimately, how this estimate turns out will determine whether a home is right for you or not (and if you can bring it in under budget).
Any modifications that require serious work — structural changes, replacing flooring, widening doorways, converting stairs to ramps, or lowering kitchen and bathroom counters for ease of use, for instance — should be performed before you move in. Your total homebuying budget should include these repairs and modifications.
Get Your New Home Truly Ready for the Move
As a companion tip to the previous one, know that there are a couple of other things you can do before you move your stuff that will make an enormous difference in how comfortable and safe you feel on day one. The first thing to do is to have the property cleaned — deep cleaned. Germs and other allergens and pollutants won’t just go away and a quick run of the vacuum won’t help either. The other tip is to get your locks changed sooner than later. Shoot to hire a locksmith as soon as you know your closing date. New locks will only run you between $96 and $210, so it’s well worth the cost to be safe and secure on your first night.
Finding the right home is stressful enough, but finding the right accessible home is even more so. Dealing with the financial side of things and marching toward moving day is sure to leave anyone feeling a bit ragged. Heed these tips to save yourself some stress and make sure the house you settle on is right for you and ready to go as soon as possible.
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