Towns like Guilford, Clinton, and Essex in Connecticut's New Haven County have some of the country's highest concentrations of historic homes. While this is excellent news if you're looking for a unique home with character, rather than the cookie-cutter appearances of many modern structures, it can make it more difficult to find accessible housing in the area.
So what do you do?
Well, the good news is that by asking a few simple questions, you can figure out if a home has the accessible features that you need to stay comfortable. Here's what you should consider when looking for a house in the area.
The Home's Location
Before making any purchase, make sure you can live with the home's surroundings. Will you be living on a hill? While having an elevated home is certainly scenic, you'll have to worry about climbing when walking to or from the property, which could cause difficulty.
Are you close to your favorite activities? The easier it is for you to get to your desired locations, the happier you'll end up. Can you walk to restaurants and shopping? Are you close enough to the beach? Only you know how you want to spend your time, so make sure that you can get to these places with minimal assistance.
Do you have access to public transportation? If you aren't driving, you'll want to be close to a bus stop. Is there a bus station within walking distance? Are there hills along the way? Having a smooth, level walk to the bus could make all the difference in the world when leaving home.
Remember, the home's location all comes down to personal preference. What's suitable for someone else might not be the right fit for you, so have a look around and see what you can find.
How the House is Designed
What is the structure of the house like? If you have significant mobility issues, you'll probably want a one-story home, rather than one with multiple floors.
Stairs can make your life more challenging, so finding a house where you can spend most of your time on the ground floor could make your days more comfortable. You can search for one-story homes directly through the Page Taft website, so you don't waste your time looking at properties that won't work for you.
If there are stairs in the home, does it have mobility aids to help you between levels? Is there room to add some? While these aids are uncommon to find in houses, it can make your decision far easier if you come across a home that is already set-up for those with reduced mobility.
Does the home have wide doorways? Those in wheelchairs need as much space as possible in halls and doors to avoid getting caught up on things. If you're able to ask your real estate agent about the width before visiting, you can save yourself some time by eliminating properties with narrow doors.
How big is the kitchen? When you're in a wheelchair, you'll want a larger kitchen that allows you to move freely between stations. If you're less mobile, a smaller kitchen might be advantageous because you won't have to move around as much. Your choice comes down to personal preference, so have a look around and come to a conclusion based on what is best for you.
Figure Out the Accessible Features
Does the home already have some accessible features?
If the previous owner had some mobility issues, you might find that the home is already equipped for your arrival.
Check for grab bars in the bathroom. Usually, you'll find these features near the toilet and in the bathtub. They can prevent falls and help you stand-up, making them valuable if you're struggling with your mobility. If the home doesn't have grab bars, they are easy to install.
See how many electrical outlets the home has. Buyers often overlook this aspect but think about how difficult you find it to plug and unplug items into hard-to-reach outlets. A house with a small number of outlets will likely make the portals harder to reach and could cause you issues. Having lots of outlets also means fewer extension cords, which are a tripping hazard.
Do you require a service dog? If so, you'll want to have a yard. Even if you don't currently have a dog, but might need one in the future, buying a home with a yard is a good idea.
Look at the flooring. When in a wheelchair, thick carpets can make the home difficult to navigate, so try to find something with hardwood or laminate. Those who tend to fall, however, could opt for a high pile carpet to provide additional cushion.
Make sure the accessible features in your home match up with that you'll require to make the space as comfortable as possible for you.
Getting the Help You Need
Figure out what you need to make your life easier and talk to a real estate agent about it. Even though New Haven County has a lot of old homes, there are options available for you.
The experienced agents at Page Taft can help you find the perfect home to help you live your best life. Ask the right questions and you’ll have no problem finding the house of your dreams.