Guest Post by Patrick Young, Able USA
House-hunting can be a stressful endeavor, as any homeowner can probably attest, and that tends to be especially true when you have a disability. Personally, I’ve often found it difficult not to fall in love with a home before I know if it’s able to accommodate my specific needs. After all, it’s hard not to swoon over a property you see online, only to deal with the emotional fallout after you discover that it doesn’t check the most important boxes. Although I’d like to say this hasn’t happened to me, I must admit that I’ve encountered disappointment more than once.
Are you on the hunt for an accessible home? You may quickly discover that some disabilities can require certain design elements and home features to ensure safety and comfort, which can make finding an accessible new home more of a hassle. In addition to working with a great real estate agent, there are a few things that buyers who are living with disabilities should keep in mind during their home search.
You May Need to Budget for Additional Modifications
When it comes to finding a home with accessibility features, each person’s needs can be vastly different. So during your house hunt, you may need to think about adding features and making modifications before or after you move into your new home. Tally the costs and consider them when making your offer.
For example, one modification you might consider is replacing carpet with hardwood flooring. If you use a wheelchair or other assistive devices, having hardwood floors can make it much easier to move about your home, and hardwood floors can also be easier to keep clean. While this can be a rather costly upgrade, choosing less expensive woods like pine or bamboo can keep project expenses more manageable. Having subfloors that are in good condition and completing the upgrade before your heavy furniture is moved in can also keep costs lower. For smaller homes and less-involved hardwood floor installations, homeowners can pay as little as $1,000. Other home modifications you may need to budget and plan for include widening doorways for wheelchair access or remodeling bathrooms for fall prevention.
You May Be Able to Use Grants for Accessibility Modifications
Making modifications to your new home may be your safest bet for ensuring that it truly fits your needs because finding a home that includes the accessibility features and upgrades you need to live a comfortable, safe, and independent life can be challenging. If you’re worried about being able to afford accessibility changes to a new home, rest assured that there are grants and funding programs that can help you out.
Both low-income and veteran homeowners may qualify for special grants aimed at helping those with disabilities make the necessary adjustments to their homes. VA grants can be especially helpful for veteran home buyers, since veterans can use these grants to purchase accessible homes or make needed upgrades. In addition to home modification and accessibility grants, qualified veterans who are living with disabilities may also be able to use VA loans to purchase a home with no money down. Then they can put the savings toward modifications.
Utilize Online Tools In Your Home Search
Sadly, finding accessible homes can be a challenge for most buyers. This is an ongoing issue facing realtors and buyers alike, but there are few online resources that can make your search a little easier. From the Fair Housing Act to ADA requirements, you can use these resources to research specific requirements if you plan on purchasing a new home within a building or community.
If you want to buy a more traditional property, however, you may need to dig a little deeper to find properties that fit your unique needs. You can compare listings you find through real estate websites that have been tailored to help those with disabilities. For example, the site Accessible Properties provides listings for homes, apartments, and other properties that all include accessibility design features. Just enter your zip code, and you should be able to view wheelchair-accessible homes in your area. If you are looking for financial resources to help you buy an accessible home, know that there are programs and special loans for non-veterans, too.
When it comes to finding an accessible home that fits your unique needs, and walking you through the home buying process, a good real estate agent can help! Contact Josh and Kristi Burke at RE/MAX Innovations to start your search.
Author, Patrick Young
Patrick Young is an educator and activist. He believes people with disabilities must live within a unique set of circumstances. Patrick created Able USA to offer resources to others with disabilities to help them navigate the various aspects of life as a person with a disability.
Getting your home ready to be sold can be a daunting task with a lot of question marks. Let us move past all the questions of what to paint or replace and move on to how to stage your home to get the most out of each future showing.
A lot of agents are going to tell you "less is more" and "get rid of this" or "just pay for one of these". At the end of the day you need to think of your home as a sales floor at a high end retail store. The people coming to view your home should walk away with a couple of subliminal thoughts. The home should be so organized that they think this is going to be an easy place to live in. Keeping this home clean is going to be a breeze and this solves a lot of problems at my current home. They will think because your home is so organized that you have taken extra special care of your home from the minute you purchased the place. Above all they should remember your home before thinking of the other 6 homes they looked at that day.
The truth is most buyers bite off more than they can chew when it comes to how many homes they want to look at. So we need to do what we can to stand out. This does not mean go spend a small fortune on staging furniture and wall art. Now do not get me wrong, these are great things to do but they do not necessarily sell your home any faster or for a better price. I say spend your time, energy and money on projects that will help your potential buyers see themselves living in your home. Make sure the most important spaces are immaculate and organized.
In the master bedroom your bed should be made up as if your home is a 5 star hotel. Your closet should look like that retail store, so what does that mean? Everything on a hanger should be hung straight with like items next to each other. Within those like items you should keep them in order of light to bright to dark. Try and keep an even amount of spacing between each hanger. If you have shoes on the floor they should be straight and have their laces tucked. The bathroom should have a minimal amount of items out on the countertop. All mirrors and countertops should be cleaned and sparkling. Now I can not believe I have to say this, but yes you need to close all toilet lids. If you have a glass shower door hit it up with some windex.
In the kitchen make It look like a William Sonoma catalog photo. This is a definite "less is more" situation. The pantry should be organized, and most of the reason for this is to make it easy to show that you have plenty of room in your pantry. The cook of the family potentially purchasing your home should look in here and see just how easy finding ingredients is going to be at their new dream kitchen. Next step is clear off that refrigerator of all clutter. The last thing you want them thinking of is the chaos that we all have in life. Keep in mind you are selling a dream not a home.
In the Living Room fluff some pillows. Strategically place a throw blanket and do not leave anything unnecessary laying out. Ok maybe a well thought about coffee table book, and make it something that sells that dream. Examples are a Robb Report, book on traveling, or a cook book. Sorry dudes you need to put away your Sports Illustrated, Fantasy Football guide, and automobile magazine.
At the end of the showing you want these people to see their lives and dreams coming to life in the home you are selling. Disorganization is a great way for people to see themselves having a chaotic life in the home you are selling. If you are in the Kansas City area hiring cleaning company and an organizer is a great way to do this if you are not sure where to start. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or want to know more about the process.
For a lot of us, it's the gold at the end of a rainbow - to build the home of your dreams from scratch. But what should be a super exciting time in your life can also be super stressful. From understanding the construction process, to navigating construction loans and rate locks, there are a ton of questions that come with building a home, and we're here to answer them.
Plan ahead and practice the patience of a Buddhist
You did it! You saved up a sizable down payment, got that promotion at work, and you're ready to build. What you need to keep in mind is that a build job (depending on where you live) can take around 9-12 months to complete. That means if you're thinking about moving next spring, you should have started digging last June. Which really means you should have started working with a real estate agent and shopping builders by April.
You will need to put down a larger earnest money deposit
When you ask a builder to start building for you, they are likely to put the loan into their own name (there are some exceptions, for example you own the lot or you are using a construction loan). In most subdivisions, you will have the luxury of closing once the home is completed. This means that the builder takes all the risk, and they want to be sure you aren't going to back out mid-construction on a house that they've built custom to you. Earnest money requirements vary by builder and depend largely on how custom you're making the home. Some builders will take installment payments on large sums, and your real estate agent can help you navigate this process.
The fun stuff doesn't start until Month 4
There's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes before your house can start being built. First you will have to pick a builder, a floor plan, and a lot. A good new construction agent can show you multiple builders' work and help guide you to a floor plan that meets your needs. Once you've got a quote from the builder, you can go to contract. At that point, the builder files for a permit which can take over a month. Then you'll have your groundbreaking (we like to have a little champagne for this) and finally you'll see the foundation poured. Despite the champagne, this part of the process is less exciting, but around the 4th or 5th month of construction, your house will get framed! At that point, the home starts to come together quickly, and you can begin visualizing your design selections.
You don't have to have it all figured out up front
A lot of homeowners make the overwhelming mistake of trying to navigate tile selection before they've even gone to contract. Rest easy. Your builder will give you an allowance at contract explaining what is included in your purchase price and you won't need to pick specifics until the house is near framing stage. Most builders allowances give you a wide selection of options when it comes to finishes and if you want to upgrade anything, your agent will simply fill out a change order for the difference. This will allow you to pay cash or lump it into the loan. Your builder and your real estate agent will also make sure that you're on time when it comes to making necessary selections leaving you plenty of time to Pinterest.
Interested in building a home in the Kansas City area? Contact us and we can help connect you with the right builder and walk you through the new home buying process.