How to Buy an Accessible Home for Barrier-Free Living

How to Buy an Accessible Home for Barrier-Free Living

Every person with a disability deserves to enjoy barrier-free living. But the reality is that many people with disabilities face considerable challenges navigating everyday life in the home. From staircases and narrow hallways to awkward bathrooms and high countertops, many homes lack the features that would make life easier for people with disabilities. Feeling fed up? It’s time to move! Here are some basic steps to follow as you begin your hunt for an accessible home.

Find a Great Real Estate Agent

Start your house hunt by finding a great real estate agency like Shelter that genuinely cares about placing you in a home that meets your needs. Make sure your agent is interested in more than getting you into a home as quickly as possible. A great agent will listen to your accessibility requirements and put in the effort to find accommodating homes within your budget. Your agent should also be willing to work with you to make the home touring process as easy as possible, whether this means scheduling all of your tours in one day or shooting virtual tours that you can watch from home.

Explore Money-Saving Alternatives

Unfortunately, as Huffington Post explains, Australia is home to one of the least affordable housing markets in the world. Buying a traditional home just isn’t realistic for a lot of people. If you’re looking for ways to save, you may want to consider buying an “as-is” home and making repairs and upgrades to suit your accessibility needs.

Just keep in mind that buying a home “as-is” comes with its own set of drawbacks, so it’s important to do your due diligence before moving forward with your purchase. For example, consider consulting with an attorney and hiring a licensed contractor to inspect the home for major structural issues.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Great accessible homes are few and far between. Make sure you’re ready to move quickly when you come across the perfect property or someone else might just snatch it up. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is always recommended, especially in competitive markets. With a mortgage pre-approval, you can show sellers that you’re serious about making an offer and expedite the closing process.

At the same time, Bankfirst notes getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a better idea of your borrowing capacity so you can avoid wasting your time looking at homes that are out of your budget.

Plan Your Modifications

If you’re lucky enough to find the perfect accessible home during your housing search, congratulations! Your work is done. However, most people will need to complete a few renovations after moving in. Think about the specific accessibility modifications that will make the biggest difference in your quality of life.

According to, some of the most common home modifications include threshold ramps, walk-in showers, handrails, and grab rails. You may also want to make some bigger modifications like installing non-slip flooring, lowering your kitchen counters, and adding knee space under the sinks in your home.

It can be tough to scrape together the money for home modifications after buying a home. Fortunately, there are a variety of federal programs and private organisations that can help you fund these home upgrades. NDIS, EnableNSW, and Home Modifications Australia are some good places to start. Make sure you do your research and take advantage of the financial assistance available to you!

Whether you’re newly disabled, planning to age-in-place, or tired of living with a disability in an unsuitable home, buying and modifying an accessible home will make a huge difference in your quality of life. Finding the right home may be a bit of a challenge, but the house-hunting process can also be incredibly exciting! Ready to live barrier-free? Shelter can help you find the perfect home for your needs! Contact us today to start your home search. Call 03 9889 3990.

by Patrick Young, for more details see

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