How to Find Your Dream Home When Accessibility Is a Must-Have

Developing a list of must-have features is a boon to house hunters, but when that list includes accessibility, things can feel pretty complicated — especially since accessible homes are few and far between. How do you unravel that issue in a market that’s thin at best? Let’s take a look.

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First, Tailor Your List

Everyone has their own unique circumstances they bring to the property search, and developing your criteria is your first step toward a successful experience. Work on sorting out what details are must-haves and what you could live without. That can feel like a tall order, so start with your ideal home and work backward, honing in on the features that you need every day for your must-haves, then adding those items you would use intermittently, or which are more about convenience than basic comfort.

For those on the hunt for accessibility, this might include things like a one-story house with an open floor plan. If you drive, a home with a large garage might be a must-have, and if you don’t drive, a location close to public transportation might take priority. If you prefer not to have a lawn to tend, an apartment might be your dream come true, and you can even include concerns like parking and particular neighborhoods in your search.

Because so few homes of any type are already accessible, it’s often best to expect at least some level of modifications in your future abode. By focusing on your top priorities, you can winnow your list down to a manageable level.

Keep in mind that while you may be tempted to save by purchasing a home “as is,” these homes often have major defects and structural problems, so they’re usually not worth the savings.

Examine Your Budget

Developing a practical budget is a big step toward making your dream home a reality. It will help you weed out homes beyond your price range and help you decide what you can afford, both in terms of the property itself, initial remodeling, and renovations you might like to complete at a later date. You’ll need to take into account your income and debts, as well as what kind of loan you might qualify for. Keep in mind that if renovations are needed, there are also a number of grants available to those seeking accessibility.

Upgrades and Options

A popular accessibility upgrade is a bathroom renovation. An accessible sink, taller toilet, grab bars, and a threshold-free shower are some popular options, as well as light switches and outlets at a more reasonable height. You can always hire a handyman to complete projects like this.

Another popular renovation is an accessible entryway. This might include things like a lift, ramp, widened doorway, and foyer that’s free of obstacles and barriers. Prices will vary in accordance with how much alteration is necessary, as well as what your preferences are. Doorways can be widened for a minimal cost with simple offset hinges.

If you opt for a newer apartment complex, it will likely offer accessible doors, entryways, and walkways. What’s more, if you rent rather than buy, your landlord is required to make reasonable accommodations for you. For instance, if no accessible parking spaces are available, that would be an accommodation you could likely get. On the other hand, elevators and lifts are relatively expensive and therefore not always practical.

Just because there are not a lot of accessible homes available doesn’t mean you have to give up. Develop a practical priorities list, hash out your budget, and contemplate renovations. With research and the right perspective, you can make that dream home your reality!

For more information about any home improvement and to talk to one of our friendly team at balance ARCHITECTURE based in Harrogate, please call on 01423 209043 or email on

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