Finding a Home When You Have a Disability
If you are one of the more than 40 million Americans with a disability, living alone might present challenges. However, you should know that there are many things you can do to enhance your independence and live life on your own terms. From advice on what to look for in your new home to how to reduce strain during the moving process, the following few paragraphs can help get you started when it’s time to make your move.
First, look at your finances.
Before you can sit down and figure out what, exactly, you need in a dwelling, you have to know how much money you are working with. Unfortunately, real estate costs money, but you do have resources. You get a ballpark estimate of what your current home is worth, as well as how much your preferred property might sell for, by using an online tool such as a home value estimator. Keep in mind that this is not a substitute for an expert valuation, and your bank will require a formal appraisal before your loan is fully approved.
If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for a VA loan. With PennyMac VA loans, you’ll be able to access lower interest rates and won’t have to put any money down. VA loans are available to veterans who meet lender requirements and have served a minimum of 181 days of peacetime service.
If you are intimidated by the home-buying process, you can also contact HUD to speak with a housing advocate. In addition to providing information on the costs associated with the process, they can also help you become more familiar with laws that protect you as a disabled buyer. Legal Match also asserts that HUD might be able to assist with financing.
Next, start asking yourself questions.
As you take the first official steps toward buying a home to meet your specific needs, it’s a good idea to have a checklist handy. This should consist of questions specific to your situation.
A few things to ask yourself might include:
- Can I reach the cabinets?
- Are the walkways even and free of tripping hazards?
- Do I have to navigate stairs to enter?
- Are the hallways and doorways wide enough for a wheelchair?
If you are visually impaired, you’ll also want to pay close attention to the amount of natural light that comes into the home during the day. While your needs are unique to you, it’s almost always in your best interest to ensure you have an accessible bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. An entry ramp to the door is also an asset, even if you do not currently have mobility issues.
At some point, you might have to decide if you would rather renovate a property that you like or wait for something that’s ready for you and your family. Keep in mind that your best bet is to partner with an experienced real estate professional who understands the market.
- If you plan to rent while you wait for the perfect house, know your rights. A landlord cannot bar you from making reasonable modifications to a rental.
- Plan to hire a professional moving company. If you prefer to make packing a family matter, contact a company that offers storage containers. These are portable units that are delivered to your property, and you can keep them as long as you need. You’ll likely need one or two, and when you are done, your moving company will pick them up and transport them to your new home.
- Confirm that your new house or condo is in close proximity to any medical services you need regularly. If you no longer drive, use Google Maps to locate public transit options or check out Lyft, Uber, and local taxi companies to verify that transportation services are available when you need them.
A good place to start your accessible housing search is online. If you find something that’s not quite an ideal fit, contact a local realtor for a private showing. You can also consult with a contractor to estimate costs. Remember, you always have the option to upgrade your new home to meet your accessibility needs if the perfect house isn’t on the market.
Our team has experienced realtors here to help you with your next move. We can set you up with a custom home search right away. 828-989-4228
For additional resources, check out this article.
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