Thursday, July 30, 2020

Fair Housing and Diversity

When I wrote this post I was watching the funeral of Congressman John Lewis.  Before watching it I briefly saw a recording on tweet by the current occupant of the White House highlighting an earlier speech saying he was restoring "the suburbs". This is clearly a racist message to a base of voters and something that I have zero respect for.  

As a Realtor I have pledged to provide Fair Housing to all clients and just this past week I completed a 6 hour course on Diversity Training.  I will be earning a Certificate in the next few weeks from the National Association of Realtors specializing in "At Home with Diversity".  I care greatly for all of my clients and work hard to make anyone I engage feel respected and on equal par.  

Fair Housing extends beyond Race and Gender.  It also extends to those with Disabilities and Patrick Young is someone who is familiar with this subject.  He had recently asked me if he could write a guest post about finding accessible homes.  I am honored to be able to share this now.   I hope you find it informative and look forward to any comments after reading this.  

Tips for Finding the Right Accessible Home for You


Accessible homes are one of the most difficult types of homes to find. Not only are there relatively few of them on the market, but the needs of each person who needs an accessible home are different. Whether you’re a senior who is losing mobility or a younger person with a disability, you likely face unique challenges in your everyday life, which means that hunting for the perfect home can be overwhelming if not fruitless. 

However, if you take certain steps, such as broadening your search to homes that can be modified for accessibility, then you are likely to reduce your stress and get much better results. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while you look for a home that meets your needs.

Come Up with a Plan 

First of all, you’ll want to research and develop a plan. This is especially important if it’s your first time through the process. The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you’ll be buying a home or building a new one. If you’re going to construct a new home, costs can vary widely based on your location, size and shape of the home, number of stories, and if any excavation is necessary. 

If you’re purchasing a home, you will want to get three  free credit reports — one each from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You will also want to research the paperwork you should prepare for lenders and keep it organized, as well as determine how much house you can afford. Moreover, be sure to look into assistance programs,  that can help you with a home purchase and/or modifications. 

Estimate the Home’s Value

If you’re trying to sell your current home, you can get a ballpark idea of what it’s worth on such sights as Zillow but when serious it is best to consult a professional realtor to create a CMA.  It’s important to remember that online estimations will not be as accurate as an appraisal or one created by someone who has been inside your property and understands the local market.  Nonetheless, it can help you determine how to market your home. 

Hire a Good Real Estate Agent 

Next, you will want to find and hire a reliable real estate agent like Wendy Bornstein to help you through the process of buying a home. It’s imperative that they know the ins and outs of the local housing market. Along with consulting your agent about any houses they might know of, you can use online listings sites to put together a lineup of houses to tour. Further, look for an agent who, like Wendy, has their  SRES designation. This ensures they have an intimate knowledge of senior housing needs, including how to choose a home for mobility and convenience. 

Draw Up a Budget for Renovations 

In most cases with accessible homes, you will need to make modifications to accommodate your lifestyle. Be sure to factor in these costs when choosing your home; the key is to find a home within your budget that needs as few changes as possible. Generally speaking, you want a home that is  structurally sound, and one-story homes with ample open space inside are ideal. 

Here are some common modifications to consider when drawing up your budget:

Lowering cabinets and vanities

Widening doorways and hallways

Adding grab bars and railings throughout the home

Adding ramps at the entrance and over thresholds ((installing an entrance ramp will typically cost $1,000 - $2,800)

Installing a step-in tub tub

Replacing high-pile carpet with hardwood, laminate, or linoleum floors

Consider Current and Future Needs

During your house hunt, be sure to think about the needs you have now as well as the needs you might have later on. For instance, if you suspect that your limited mobility could evolve over the years, make sure to take that into account when choosing between a one-story and two-story home or between hardwood floors and high-pile carpet. 

Knowing what to look for and implementing a few strategies can help you find the right home for your needs. Remember to start with a plan, and estimate the value of your current home so that you know how to market it.  Also, find an experienced real estate agent, include any necessary modifications in your budget, and make sure you think about any potential needs you may have in the future. Before you know it, you’ll be in the perfect accessible home!

Image via Unsplash

1 comment:

  1. For some reason the links are not posting correctly to my website. Please go to my website to see my Fair Housing Post and to reach out to me.