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House Hunting Tips for Hopeful Homeowners With Disabilities




When you live with a disability, there are some unique considerations to make during your house hunt. In this article, The Center for Independent Living of South Jersey will discuss some helpful tips for finding an accessible home that suits your needs and budget. We'll also touch on navigating various stages of the home buying process so you can prepare for a smooth transition.      

Accessible Home Features

Some of the most important features to look for when searching for an accessible home include wider doorways and hallways, open floor plans, entryways without stairs, and lever door handles.  Smart home features, such as voice activated assistants and doorbell cameras, can also make living independently with a disability easier and safer. If you have specific needs or requirements beyond these general features, be sure to communicate them to your real estate agent so they can help you find homes that suit your individual needs.

Accessibility of the Location

Another important factor to remember when searching for an accessible home is the property's location. Inform your realtor if you need to be close to public transportation or medical facilities so that they can prioritize homes in those areas. And if you have young children who need to attend school, try to find a home in a school district that meets their needs.

Doing Your Homework

Once you have found a few potential homes that meet your criteria, it’s time to start researching prices in the area. Comparing prices can help you understand what you can expect to pay for a given type of property in a given location.

 

It's also essential to compare mortgage options and interest rates before making an offer on a home. Consult with a financial advisor to determine what type of mortgage is best for your situation. And know that lenders will evaluate factors like:

 

●      Your job security and income

●      Your credit history and score

●      Your debt-to-income ratio

●      The amount you're requesting to borrow

●      The down payment amount you're able to make

 

If you're self-employed, you may need to provide additional documentation to prove your income. Lenders will also look at the value of the home you're interested in and compare it to the loan amount to determine if it's a good investment.

Maintaining Important Documents

Digitizing your housing-related documents is a smart strategy to keep them organized and easily accessible. By converting these documents into PDFs, you ensure that their formatting and content remain consistent across different devices and operating systems. This uniformity eliminates compatibility and accessibility issues, providing a seamless experience when viewing or sharing your documents.

 

Moreover, the use of online tools to convert, compress, edit, rotate, and reorder PDFs adds a layer of convenience and flexibility to document management. These capabilities allow you to generate professional-looking documents easily, enhancing the organization and presentation of your important housing-related records without compromising their integrity or accessibility.

Consider New Construction

As a person with a disability, purchasing a new construction home can provide an excellent opportunity to ensure that your living space is designed to meet your specific needs. However, there are several considerations to keep in mind. First, it's essential to work with a builder who understands and prioritizes accessibility. This includes features like wide doorways for wheelchair access, lower countertops for easy reach, non-slip flooring, and other modifications.

 

Before making a purchase, consult with a real estate professional experienced in accessible housing to guide you through the process. Remember, the goal is to find a home that doesn't just accommodate, but truly supports and enhances your lifestyle.

Making an Offer on a Home

Once you've found the perfect home and researched the prices in the area, you’re ready to make an offer. Work with your real estate agent to come up with a fair and reasonable offer based on the market conditions and the property's list price.

 

If the sellers accept your offer, congrats! You're one step closer to owning an accessible home that meets your needs. If not, your realtor will help you negotiate the price until both sides are happy.

Other Home Buying Stages

You’ve found your home and secured financing, but there are a few more steps to take before signing on the dotted line! For example, you'll need to get homeowners insurance, determine whether you need flood insurance, and obtain any permits required to modify the property. After completing these steps (and navigating any challenges that might crop up), you'll be ready to move into your new home!

 

If you’re planning to run a home-based business from your new location, take a few precautionary steps. First, make sure that your new potential neighborhood allows for home businesses. If they don’t, then you’ll need to look elsewhere. Then, set up your business as an LLC to receive personal asset protection and tax benefits, which may include some of your home expenses.

Quick Tips for Moving

Here are a few tips to remember as you prepare for a smooth transition to your new home:

 

●      Plan ahead as early as possible.

●      Purge your belongings before packing them up.

●      Pack similar items together, and label all your boxes.

●      Hire a professional moving company, if possible.

●      Create a budget for the move, and stick to it.

Find Your Perfect Home

Searching for an accessible home doesn’t have to be daunting. Remember to determine the features and location you need, consider new construction, create an LLC, make kitchen upgrades, and follow the other tips above. You’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect place for you and your family.


Written by: Martin Block

 

The Center for Independent Living of South Jersey is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that encourages people with disabilities to make their own choices and to take more initiative and control over their lives. Visit our website to learn more!

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