Source: New City Movers
According to the United States Census Bureau, nearly one in five Americans has a disability that affects their ability to walk, climb, hear, see, lift, or perform basic daily activities without the use of a wheelchair, walker, or cane. However, less than one percent of homes are wheelchair accessible — and only about a third could be modified to meet the needs of those with mobility impairments. While fewer housing options are available to accommodate individuals with disabilities, accessible homes are out there, and this guide will help you to find what you need.
Make a List of Must-Have Features
Before you begin your search for accessible housing, make a list of the features you’ll need in a home. If you hold moderate mobility impairments, for instance, you may need a one-level home, stepless entryways, an entry-level bathroom and bedroom (or an elevator on the main floor), and at least one accessible bathroom with safety handrails or grab bars.
If you need a wheelchair accessible home, then your list may include the aforementioned requirements in addition to the following:
- Wide hallways and doorways
- Doors with handles rather than knobs
- Sinks with levers or handles
- Flat surfaces between rooms (no steps)
- Accessible features throughout the home, including accessible electrical switches and outlets, thermostats, countertops, and cabinets
If a home doesn’t contain these features, you may be able to modify the property in the future to make it more accessible. For example, you may be able to install a wheelchair ramp, lower the countertops and cabinets, replace the door and sink handles, and modify the kitchen or bathroom to make these rooms more accessible.
Moreover, several grants are available to assist you in making your home more accessible, comfortable, and livable if you hold a disability. A couple of options include the Modest Needs’ Self-Sufficiency Grant and the USDA’s Rural Housing Repair Loan/Grant.
Where to Find Accessible Homes for Sale
When you’re looking to buy a home but have a mobility impairment or disability, it’s important to work directly with a real estate agent who has experience in working with disabled clients, as he or she can help you to find accessible or potentially modifiable homes. If you are 50 years of age or older, however, you may choose to work with a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES).
In addition to working with a real estate agent, you can search for homes online by visiting websites such as:
- Accessible Properties. Through Accessible Properties, you can search for accessible homes for sale in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.
- Barrier-Free Home. Whichever state you live in, you can search for wheelchair-accessible homes, condos, and apartments in your area.
- Zillow and Trulia. Through these websites, you can create a search filter for “accessible” as you look for homes in your desired area.
Explore Your Financing Options
As you search for accessible housing, you may need a loan to finance the purchase of your new home. However, many financial assistance programs are available to assist disabled homebuyers, including the Homeownership Voucher Program under the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HomeReady Mortgages through Fannie Mae, and additional housing assistance under Habitat for Humanity.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, then you may also qualify for a mortgage under the Federal Housing Administration (known as an FHA loan). Before applying for a loan, however, it’s important to check your credit score, gather any documents you may need to apply for a mortgage, and work with a trusted lender to determine how much money you can afford to spend on the purchase of a home. After you’ve done so, look for an experienced real estate agent who can walk you through the entire home buying process.
While finding the perfect home can be a bit more difficult when you hold a mobility impairment or disability, these simple tips will help you to find accessible homes for sale in your area. Try not to worry if you can’t find a fully accessible home right away — your real estate agent can show you potentially modifiable homes as well.
Buying a home for the first time is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. And while this isn’t a decision to be made lightly, it’s hard to not let emotions get involved too. Many first-time home buyers choose to buy a fixer-upper, whether as a way to afford their dream home or to turn a profit. Either way, if you’re considering a fixer-upper, you need to know what to expect and how to keep the emotional and practical considerations in balance.
Finding and Buying Your Fixer-Upper
When you start searching for fixer-upper properties in your area, you need to determine what the true cost will be. Of course, the cost of buying a home is only one of several factors to consider. The cost of repairs needs to be included in your overall budget too. Money Crashers recommends making a list of exactly which repairs are needed, paying close attention to anything structural. A professional home inspector can help address structural issues and uncover any hidden concerns.
When writing your list of repairs, be careful not to take on more than you can handle. Buying a fixer-upper is only a good investment when you can keep costs low, which means you should expect to do much of the work yourself. With that in mind, it’s easy to get carried away with dreams and plans, but you don’t want to get in over your head with more DIY repairs than you can manage.
Once you have found the right home that fits your budget, start exploring options to finance it. Don’t overlook loans designed for a fixer-upper purchase, which have built-in reserves for funding your renovation projects. If you’re a veteran who has served on active duty for six months or more, you’re likely eligible for a VA loan. With this type of loan, you can get reduced interest rates, and you can purchase your home without having to make a down payment (as long as you don’t buy your home for more than its appraised value).
Think About Resale Before Buying
Even before you buy, start thinking about whether you plan on staying in or selling the home once it’s all fixed up. Flipping a home for a profit can be a great investment, but going into it with that plan will likely affect some remodeling decisions. The location of your home makes a difference in resale value too. If you’re planning on remodeling your dream home and staying put for a while, this is less of a concern. But if you plan on selling the house soon afterwards, make sure you don’t overimprove for the neighborhood. If you plan on adding upscale features, you’re better off buying in a nice or up-and-coming neighborhood so you can get the price you’re hoping for.
Once you close on your new home, where do you start with repairs? Before you jump in, determine which projects you can do yourself and what you should hire out. Don’t try to take on anything that would be unsafe to do yourself, such as electrical work, but be prepared to put in some sweat equity as much as possible. Make sure you have all the right power tools for DIY repairs, including a few necessities such as the best drills, sanders, and jigsaws.
Structural repairs or any work that needs to be done on the exterior of the home should come first. These projects are essential for your safety if you’re living in the home. You should also prioritize updating old HVAC systems, and take care of any wiring or plumbing problems.
After completing essential structural repairs, be strategic about which remodeling projects you choose next. According to HGTV, kitchen and bathroom projects are always safe bets for resale, so they’re a good place to focus some time and money. Whether you plan on staying or selling, you always want to keep resale value of projects in mind. It’s always smart to keep design in line with the home’s style and avoid anything that’s too trendy.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the process of buying a fixer-upper, but the end result is often worth the work. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to rush into anything. Do your homework before buying and remodeling for a smart purchase that pays off.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Timber frame housing has been around for a long, long time as far as in the 1800’s. There are a lot of advantages of using timber framing for your dream home. Apart from practicality, it also adds to the aesthetic value of the property.
Concrete and steel construction is what a lot of people prefer, but timber compares favorably in several areas today.
Wood construction is soothing to the eyes and mind while maintaining a pleasant temperature inside.
Timber frame homes are also electrostatically inert which means even more tangible health benefits when using wood to make a home.
Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at why you should invest in a timber frame home.
Timber Frame Housing – Superior And Aesthetically Pleasing
While earlier other construction methods were clearly superior to timber framing, advancing tech and knowledge about timber have led to it closing the gap. Timber framing has seen enough improvement to be considered commercially viable instead of just residential buildings. Top timber framing companies have also allayed fears about structural integrity with modern building techniques.
Believe it or not, the tallest timber frame building is the Tall Wood Residence in Canada which is a whopping 18 stories in height. While this is no comparison to heights using other methods, for the average homeowner, this dispels any myths about lack of structural integrity when using timber for construction. Here’s why a timber frame house should be something you should aspire to.
5 Reasons why you should opt for timber frame housing
Higher structural integrity
Contrary to popular belief, timber does have a higher structural efficiency than concrete and steel construction. Timber used in construction also has a higher load per unit weight when compared to other forms of construction. A stud made of timber used in construction has equivalent compressive strength to concrete. Moreover, there are treated varieties of timber available that further enhance the natural strength of the material.
Quality Aesthetics and Design
A timber frame house offers more flexibility to the designers than concrete without any compromise on structural integrity. Tall and strong timber pillars take the whole load of the floor, so there is no requirement for load-bearing walls. This opens the door (no pun intended!) to several design possibilities like cathedral ceilings and other unique ideas. Also, wood offers a much more pleasing living environment than concrete – a well-done timber frame house is a sight to behold and wonderful to live in.
Opting for timber as material for construction can save you up to 20% when compared to traditional construction methods depending on the type of building. Timber frame construction offers you the same properties and better aesthetic value for a much lower price.
Better for the environment
Because of the inherent ability of a wooden structure to better regulate temperature, you spend much less on heating/cooling costs. This is especially true when you consider timber frame homes paired with structural insulated panels or SIPs. People living in timber frame homes see marked improvements in their energy and utility bills over time. Most building materials are manufactured with significant duress to the environment, but wood is grown naturally and is a perfect zero carbon footprint product which is renewable.
Other practical reasons
There are several practical reasons to opt for timber frame housing as well. For starters, it maintains the relative humidity a lot better than concrete structures. It offers much better insulation against hot and cold weather. Timber frame homes are also acoustically sound which means that you can eliminate irksome echoes without adding much at all to the décor. It has minimal drying out period when compared to concrete which means less turnaround time. The building process is much more predictable and not affected as badly by inclement weather.
Summing it up
With improved techniques and technology in this area, timber frame homes currently offer a lot more to the homeowner than several years ago. There are several practical reasons to opt for timber home whereas earlier it was only aesthetics. If you want a dependable and aesthetic timber home customized to your liking, getting in touch with professional timber frame brands is the way to go. They have several plans to choose from and you can customize them to your liking as well.
Any dog owner will testify that one of the biggest charms to having a dog is knowing their excitement every time you come home. Of course, they become accustomed to your home, and when the time comes, moving can be hard on them, oftentimes disrupting the routine they have known for years or months. If you love your dog and are looking to buy a new home, you have a million things to consider, among those things is the well-being of your pet.
When the time comes to find a new place, there’s a lot to keep in mind. You’ll want to assess the layout of the home, consider your pet’s needs, and get to know your potential neighborhood before making a final decision.
On a Dog Scale of One to 10
So on a dog scale, how much does your neighborhood love dogs? There are a variety of ways to tell:
- Do you see a few dog walkers around?
- Do the dogs look friendly and socialized?
- Are there pet stores in the vicinity?
- A dog park?
- Plenty of veterinary clinics and hospitals?
- Does your house have a good-sized yard with protective fencing?
If you answer yes to all of these questions, your neighborhood probably scores close to a 10. This means your dog will have plenty of amenities to keep him safe and happy.
Depending on your dog’s needs also measure the following factors:
- Does the house have a big enough yard for the needs of your pet?
- Secure and high fencing?
- A doggy door?
The Local Laws
Most states and localities still consider pets personal property. Because of this, the laws pertaining to pets and pet care are important to note; they can inform you best in the event that your dog gets loose or lost. Contact the local animal services or Humane Society to find out the restrictions on:
- Dog registration and licensing
- Leashes and dog walking
The aptly named dog magazine The Bark suggests that dogs can suffer high levels of stress when their surroundings are shifting and changing around them. Don’t forget that your dog depends on you to feel safe and stable. Make sure you provide him some extra attention leading up to the move.
Before the Move
Try to keep his comfortable space in place so that he feels safe and guarded. Once you move in, don’t buy new bedding or toys. Cesar Milan warns to pack your dog’s bedding last, to help him feel a little more stable until the last possible moment. Transferring your dog’s toys and bedding to the new home will help make sure he maintains a level of familiarity.
During the Move
The actual move day can cause a tremendous amount of confusion, not just for your dog but also for you. There might be movers coming in, with the doors open, taking furniture, shifting rooms around. This can create additional stress for your dog. A great option is to remove your dog from the chaos and take him to a local kennel for boarding.
After the Move
The hard part comes when the move is over. As Life Hacker suggests, make sure your dog acclimates well so he doesn’t suffer from anxiety or stress in the new environment. The first couple of days are key:
- Show your dog plenty of attention and time.
- Keep your anxiety level in check too, as dogs respond to their owners.
- Set up his sleeping area with his familiar bedding and toys.
- Take him a dog for plenty of walks, let him follow you around the house, and shower him with play time.
- If possible, avoid leaving him alone right away in the new house, maybe take a few days off work as you make him comfortable.
Buying a house is demanding enough, requiring time, effort, and patience. As a loving dog owner you want the best for your dog, and staying on top of a few details can save you lots of heartaches later. Keep your dog calm through the chaos of moving by remembering a few key things, giving them lots of love, and remaining vigilant to their behavior.