Finding and buying a new home can be a stressful process. Doing so while recovering from an injury only adds to the pressure. You might not realize it at first, but your injury attorney in St. Louis can help you with more than pursuing monetary compensation for your damages. He or she can refer you to a realtor specifically trained to find accessible homes that meet your needs.
Tell your Realtor All of your Needs to Filter Houses
During your initial meeting with your realtor, tell him or her all of your physical limitations and any additional limitations you expect to have in the future. Your realtor’s first goal is to help find houses that fit your needs, so the more information he or she has about your needs, the more effectively he or she can be. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time looking at houses that you ultimately don’t pursue because they aren’t accessible and can’t be modified. Giving your Realtor the needs up front will also help them assess where certain adaptions may be needed and then describe them to a contractor willing and able to install them.
Accessibility Adaptations you Might Need
If you’re not sure which specific adaptations your new home will need, talk to your doctor about your condition. Your doctor can recommend specific home modifications, such as:
- A wheelchair ramp;
- A stairlift;
- A wheelchair platform lift;
- An accessible shower/bathtub combination;
- Lowered countertops;
- Widened doorways;
- Grab rails;
- Outdoor railings; and
- ADA-compliant toilets.
Discuss a Realistic Budget and Modification Plan with your Realtor
Virtually no home is 100% move in ready. There are always things that you’ll need to be happy, and if your Realtor is experienced, they’ll have access to good contractors that can help get things done. Some people just don’t have a way to make updates before moving in – if modifying the home isn’t a realistic option for you, your real estate agent can help you find homes that don’t need modifications. Don’t assume that you can’t afford the modifications you need. You might be able to get funding to help cover these costs or they might be covered by your insurance.
It’s also important to make plans based on how long you anticipate needing accessibility modifications. If you are temporarily in a wheelchair as you recover from an injury, it might make sense for you to simply set up your bedroom on your new home’s ground floor and then move it upstairs once you can walk on the stairs. If you are permanently disabled, you will need to invest in an accessible home.
Finding the Right Home for You
You shouldn’t expect to settle for a house that doesn’t work for your needs simply because you have very specific needs. Be willing to be patient and compromise when necessary – what if instead of a stairlift, you chose a one-story home to make it possible for you to access every area of the home? Brainstorm accessibility ideas with your realtor and other members of your household to see if there are solutions other than modifying a new home to make it accessible.
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