Get Serious About Buying an Accessible Home
Why’s it so hard to find a house? In a nutshell, property prices have risen much faster than incomes over the past decades, especially in hot markets like San Francisco. However, more recent factors also play a role, such as tighter inventory. It all adds up to one massive headache to people like you who want to quit renting and make a serious investment in a permanent nest.
There’s an added complication in your case: It’s got to be accessible so you can live there comfortably with your disability. But guess what? Youcan get the deed to the right dwelling, though it takes some effort. That means primarily saving up, boosting your credit score, and scouring the market for something that’s mobility-friendly, or at least amenable to modifications. Here’s a walk through the process that’ll see you into a new home if you’re ready to get serious.
Create a Budget
It seems rather simple to find the upper barrier you can pay for a home. Just add up household income, then subtract expenses, and presto! You’ve got your figure. That’s not quite how it works, however, as you need to throw in potential modifications along with closing costs and other hidden fees. Give yourself some room to cover all that and more.
Cut Your Spending
You’ll have an easier time paying for renovations — and the rest — with a large nest egg, though that requires a healthy dedication to saving, saving, and saving some more. That’s easier to do than you might think; just look at your expenses, then cut where you can. It doesn’t even have to harm your quality of life, according to the Balance.
Pay Off Outstanding Debt
Not all the money you save should go toward the house — at least, not exactly. Taking a chunk out of credit card debt and student loans improves your credit score, making it easier to get a mortgage. Even if you can’t eliminate obligations completely, at least make payments on time.
While boosting your score, order a credit report and go through it with a fine-toothed comb. There may be a mistake in previous payments or balances that’s given you a bad reputation. Of course, you will want to rectify those issues as soon as possible.
Find the Right Agent
If that doesn’t pan out, go the traditional route: engage a real estate agent and start hunting. The right professional needs to know exactly what features you need, so communication is key. In fact, some agents specialize in finding good accessible housing.
Your agent should help also find an attractive mortgage from a local lender, but there’s even more support available from the government ornonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together AmericaCorps, according to a contributor to The Mortgage Reports. When telling your agent how much you can afford, lowball it, as you may need that money for modifications or to make up for a drop in income while paying off your mortgage.
Seek Certain Features
While you should stay below the upper limit of your budget, that doesn’t mean saying “no” to amenities that you can’t live without. If you’re wheelchair-bound, that means having a ramp at the entrance as well as wide doorways in the interior. Modifications are easier to make with more financial aid, which is available from the same sources mentioned above.
If you haven’t found a suitable a home in your area of choice, don’t lose hope. There could be one just a short drive away if you cast a wider net, geographically speaking. Don’t be afraid to look outside your ideal neighborhood, or even in nearby towns and cities.
There’s more work to be done, even after you’ve found a home and committed to buying. You’ll need to have it cleaned, line up a qualified mover, then contact a locksmith to rekey the locks at your old place. That last item costs between $96 and $210, so squeeze that into your budget.
Do you feel better about the process? Good — now knuckle down, start saving, and hold your head high until you own the roof over your head.
Submitted by Patrick Young