Hunting for Accessible Houses

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Real Estate

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7 Things to Look for When Hunting for Accessible Houses
 By Patrick Young

An accessible home can make your life a lot easier. Thankfully, the need for accessible housing is reflected in the contemporary housing market. If you’re on the hunt for a home that meets your needs, there are a few things you should look for. Here are some basic things you need to keep in mind when looking for a house that will make your life easier.
A Single-Level Home Is Ideal
For most people with disabilities, a single-level home can make life much easier. As one article from Detroit News points out, one-level living serves as a figurative step toward universal home accessibility.  What’s more, it also allows you to age in place in a safe and independent way. A single-level home can be great for long-term living and is a good base for your search. Start your search online and narrow the search for single-level homes. Fortunately, there are a few sites that help you search for accessible homes. Even if you find a single-story home, you likely will still need to make some modifications, such as remodeling your kitchen or installing an entry-way ramp (this can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000).
Make Sure There’s Enough Floor Space
Regardless of mobility, a house with plenty of floor space is safer. Also, be sure to look for floors that aren’t too slippery. Replacing flooring isn’t cheap, but getting non-slip vinyl can be a substitute until you’ve saved enough money for replacing it.
Check for Wide Doors
A house with wide doors can make it easier to maneuver for a person in a wheelchair. The minimum width of a door should be around 32 inches. While it is possible to widen a door, it can be expensive. If wide doors are critical for your house, take extra time to find a house with what you need.
Look for Low Counters
Many people find that having multiple counters at various heights with leg space underneath can improve home accessibility. Low counters can also help you stay safer in the kitchen and allow for self-sufficiency. If you need to remodel for accessibility, it’s possible you could modify only a few counters, which will help you save money.
Get the Right Kind of Doorknobs
The best kind of door knobs are houses with solid handles instead of twisty knobs. Some areas, such as Vancouver, Canada, are making broad changes to improve home accessibility for everyone. Doorknobs are typically easier to replace than widening the doors, so if your house doesn’t come with that option, don’t rule it out.
See If the Area Is Accessible
  is increasingly important in community planning and architectural development. You’ll want to see if the neighborhood has ramps on sidewalks and that the sidewalks don’t just abruptly come to an end. A good neighborhood will also have public transportation that’s within a reasonable distance. The public transit will be able to take you to the grocery store, the bank, doctor, your work, and school.
Secure Your Home
Before you move in, take the time to secure your home properly. Thieves most commonly get into a house by taking advantage of an unsecured window or door. Research the locksmiths in your area by going online and looking up reviews (the national average cost to hire a locksmith is $144). A good locksmith will (literally) help you sleep better at night. Your locksmith can install a good deadbolt for the door, as well as take care of the windows to help you feel safer.
Some insurance plans, including Medicare, have been expanded to cover things like home accessibility improvements. Even if a house you love doesn’t have everything you need, you can get some coverage to help make changes that suit you. Take your time as you go house hunting — a good house is worth the time and the investment, so make it count.