The Best Tips for an Accessible House Hunt
When you have a disability, online advice tailored for able-bodied individuals can fall a little flat. Take house hunting, for example. A property search guide that doesn’t take accessibility into account can miss vital steps people with disabilities need to take to have a successful buying process.
MI4 Real Estate has been working in the real estate world long enough that we’ve developed some surefire tips for a simplified property hunt. We wanted to take those tips and find ways to tailor them to work for people with disabilities. Here are our best tips for an accessible house hunt:
Research the Process Thoroughly
Before you get started on your house hunt, take some time to research the process. Learn about the standard touring practices in your area, including how they’ve changed in light of the pandemic. Look up the process of making an offer on a house, as well as what happens between getting the offer accepted and closing. The more familiar you can be with the process going in, the less likely you are to be thrown by any curveballs.
Take, for example, “as-is” home buying. There are many good reasons to buy a home as-is, but it’s also a big decision. When you go this route, you’re agreeing to buy the home in its exact current condition. Since you make that call before you do inspections, you won’t really know what that condition is when you make the call. If you go this route, it’s important to know how locked in you are at what point—and what the process for backing out would be, should you decide to do so. Familiarizing yourself with these things before they come up is a lot less stressful than figuring it out in the moment.
Find a Real Estate Ally
Everyone should choose a real estate agent carefully, but people with disabilities need to take extra care. You don’t just want someone who knows the market—you want someone who also understands your needs and is willing to be your advocate while you search. For example, if you use a wheelchair, your agent needs to factor that in while scheduling tours. They need to ask if the house is accessible and, if it isn’t, they need to arrange some way to make it so.
Take your time picking an agent—the right one will make a huge difference. If you’re not sure where to start, consider asking around at your local disability services, or within your network. You may be able to get some great recommendations for agents who have experience keeping accessibility in mind.
Once you have a few options, schedule interviews. You should definitely ask questions to gauge your agent’s expertise, but you should also focus on how well you get along. You’ll spend a lot of time working with your agent during your house hunt, so social compatibility matters, too.
Look for Potential
It’s relatively uncommon to find a home that’s already accessible. However, a house doesn’t have to be in perfect shape from the jump: it just has to have the potential to get there. For example, if you find a one-level home that’s perfect, apart from a small step to the front door, don’t rule it out. Small renovations like adding a ramp take almost no time and little budget.
If a house needs a lot of work, however, you’ll need to start weighing the pros and cons. The more renovations you need to do, the less the price of the house should be, in order to keep expenses manageable. Moreover, you may have to get some changes made before you can even move in and suitably use the house. If you’re on a lease or some other time crunch, that might not work. Still, if you have the budget and the time, accessibility renovations can make your dream home work for you.
Your house hunt may be a little bit more complicated than some when you have a disability to consider, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find the right property. With a knowledgeable agent on your side and research under your belt, your house hunt can be a major success!
Want to sell your current property? MI4 Real Estate can give you a cash offer and a completion date to match your needs! Contact us today.
11 May 2021