Empowering homebuyers with disabilities
Turning the corner, climbing up stairs, taking a shower – these aren’t always simple tasks if you have a disability or reduced mobility due to age. Without proper accessibility in the home the most mundane tasks become impossible. This is why finding the right home is crucial: a home built to give residents the freedom to be independent – a right everyone is entitled to. But the search to find homes for people with disabilities is a complicated task and often leaves homebuyers helpless.
A marginalized group
All homebuyers confront difficulties, but as a disabled person the challenge goes far beyond finding granite counter tops.
A report conducted by The Muscular Dystrophy group shows agents fail to understand the practical issues of disabled living and that many have little or no understanding of what accessible property is. It also suggests housing websites perpetuate a double standard as content creators fail to list relevant features for people with disabilities. Websites offer searches as specific as “waterfront” and “modern”, but rarely include terms like “disabled-friendly”.
Tips to simplify the search
Despite these shortcomings in the residential real estate industry there are organizations out there aware of disabled people’s needs. Having the right information about this niche market is the first step to securing your dream home.
Who can help
Homebuyers can seek the assistance of registered social realtors and landlords whose contact information can be found online. When choosing an agency to work with be sure to inquire right away if they staff realtors specialized in disabled-friendly properties. If they don’t – move on.
While not all websites are equipped for every type of user many are and have tailored listings to rent or purchase disabled-friendly property. New websites like HomeHippo.com offer a wide variety of handicapped homes worldwide and have customized advanced search engines for accessible properties integrated in the website.
What to look for
When searching for property its important to be able to communicate exactly what you’re looking for. Knowing official real estate terminology can help pinpoint good options in less time. Many real estate agencies and websites use the following terms when listing property fit for people with limited mobility:
- Accessible housing
- Barrier-free housing
- Amenity housing
- Adapted housing
Identifying the essential features a property should include can be a large part of the battle. Below are some features to consider:
- Wider doorways
- Lower electrical outlets
- Grab bars by the toilet and shower in the bathroom
- Fully accessible bathrooms
- Level external access
- Wider hallways and doorways
- Accessible kitchen units
- Light switches and heating controls at accessible heights
Independence is possible
No one should have to sacrifice independence. Inform yourself before starting the search to purchase a property; with the right tools finding a home that meets your needs is possible. Have a clear understanding of what you aspire to own; and remember to remain patient and positive throughout the process.