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Is Your Property A Good Candidate for Accessibility Adaptations?

4th Mar 2013

There is always a high demand for wheelchair accessible housing. Accessible housing not only attracts buyers who use wheelchairs, but also attracts families with older live-in relatives or who frequently host visits from friends or family members with mobility-related disabilities. Easy access homes are also attractive to buyers who are looking for a “forever” home that can support their family for generations.

Cost is the primary obstacle that holds real estate agents back from making accessibility-minded investments, followed closely by a lack of information about the available adaptations. This quick guide will function as your introduction to accessibility renovations by helping you answer the most important question: is your particular property a good candidate?

Some homes would only require a few cheap additions to become truly accessible, others are located in exceptionally suitable areas with the potential to provide a return on even the largest investment, while other homes are not even worth the consideration. It’s important to consider every detail.

Determining Feasibility and Cost

Learn all that you can about local disability law, and use the guidelines as inspiration even if they do not apply to yours situation. Check out a few universal design guides from your local library. You’ll notice right away if there are any major flaws that would prevent your home from meeting the needs of people with limited mobility.

For a taste of what you’ll be up against, the home in question will need one convenient no-step entry and the ability to widen doorways to 32 or more inches. The main floor needs a bathroom. These considerations are the very bare minimum: you would still need more improvements before being able to market it as truly “accessible” but you’ll still attract buyers/tenants with mobility concerns.

If the above modifications are feasible, you can go the full accessibility route with a few smaller changes. ADA (or equivalent) approved bathrooms are a great place to start. A fully accessible bathroom is on every mobility-minded buyer’s list of most wanted features. Take some time to visit USMS for walk in bath installations and other home modification estimates.

Determining and Creating Value

Some properties are begging for an accessibility makeover due to location alone. Being near a reputable rehabilitation center, adaptive gym, or special/specialized school, can make a huge difference in terms of desirability and home value with adaptive features considered. The condition of local sidewalks, accessibility of nearby parks, and general attitude of the neighborhood can make big differences as well.

You can add extra value by investing in features that accessibility-minded buyers would love but wouldn’t ordinarily expect to find included. A full wet room instead of shower, for example, is a feature that everybody could enjoy. Adapted closets and kitchen storage can be inexpensive but largely successful. Bonus features such as these do not necessarily raise the home value too much, but they can definitely lure in a buyer who would have otherwise went with a more inexpensive property.

Is Your Property a Good Candidate?

Talk to a few buyer agents who have experience finding accessible homes, but more importantly, talk to your local rehabilitation centers and equipment-related charities to get an inside scoop on the buying trends in your area. They’ll let you know about important factors that impact demand, such as newly initiated or newly cancelled financial aid packages or competitively-priced adapted units going up for sale in the future.

You can never have too much information. Whether you’re thinking about selling your own adapted home or whether you simply see the potential in your investment property, accessibility is a popular and necessary niche in the real estate market – good improvements are good for the seller, the buyer, and the community.

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