While looking for an accessible home might be a formidable task, it’s important to find a house that will fit your or your family’s needs. Finding a home with specific accessible modifications such as entrance-way ramps or lowered countertops can be challenging, but building from scratch or finding a home that can be renovated to suit your requirements are truly great alternatives.

What to look for in an accessible home

Before you begin your search for an accessible home, connect with a great real estate agent who can help comb through listings to find appropriate options. Be sure to outline a few requirements too, such as a home with a single-story layout. Other great features include wide doorways and bathrooms large enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

When you require numerous and very specific modifications, it can be a much better choice to build a new home suitable for your needs. When it comes to a custom build, seasoned professionals can assist you in building the accessible home of your dreams. 


When you’re looking at homes or planning a layout with your builder, be sure to consider every room of the house when you’re determining whether it would work for you. 

Two of the most important rooms in the house to consider are the kitchen and bathroom. The best-case scenario in the kitchen would be lowered countertops and appliances installed at chair-height. Another great feature is having a kitchen sink with space underneath to allow for a chair to fit. 

When it comes to the bathroom, even if the bathrooms aren’t designed for wheelchair use, look for homes that have enough space to allow for a chair to turn around comfortably. Countertops and appliances can be lowered, but it’s tough to change a floor plan if the bathroom is already too narrow. Remember to keep this type of design in mind when working with pros.

Bedrooms don’t have as many specifications for accessibility, but two important things to think about are doorway width and closet access. Doorways should be 32 inches wide, and closets should be able to support modifications for lower hanging rods. 

Flooring is a crucial component whether you’re building or surveying a house for its accessibility rating or planning. Carpets can be difficult for wheelchairs to maneuver on; opt instead for hardwood or solid floors. Tile can be great for wheelchair use, but avoid linoleum because it will likely become scuffed and damaged and require replacement sooner than more durable materials.

Finally, consider installing a generator to ensure that the home still has plenty of light in the case of a power outage or storm. Keep in mind that generators can cost up to $15,000, though you’ll need to set aside an extra $300 to $3,000 for the cost of installation. It may seem like a very pricey investment, but it could give you peace of mind in the long run.

Other considerations

Along with looking at a home room-by-room or as you plan your build, consider entrances and street access. Unless they’re built specifically for the differently-abled, most homes likely won’t have a wheelchair ramp. Luckily, these can be built without too much difficulty, or your contractor can add this to the list of necessary design elements. 

Don’t forget to consider the height of light switches throughout the home. Many times these can be adjusted, but be sure they’re low enough for a wheelchair user to reach.

Financing a home

When you’re considering what kind of mortgage to get for your accessible home purchase, consider getting a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. These loans can be great for those buying a home for the first time, or for people who have a shorter credit history. If you have less than 20 percent for a down payment, you can apply for FHA online and see if you qualify. For anyone building a home, you can look to an FHA construction loan. 

Hunting for an accessible home or building from scratch will likely take some time, but keep an open mind and err on the side of patience. As you tour homes or plan a build, certain elements should be prioritized, such as a single-story layout with an open floor plan. Kitchens, bathrooms, and entrances can be modified or designed for accessibility, and certain features can be added later. With perseverance and a good team on your side, you can make finding or building an accessible home a reality!

Article provided by Patrick Young of Ableusa.info
Photo Credit: Pexels
Published on 12/25/20
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