Home Sweet One-Story Home
After the sale of our two-story home, the search began to find somewhere to live before our barrier-free house was built and move-in ready. Thus began a whole new mission of finding a handicap accessible rental that also accepted pets, offered short-term leasing, and was in our budget to help us save for the build project. Ugh. Not as easy to find as one might think.
Looking for the least disruption of life, our first instinct, of course, was to find a ready-built barrier-free home to move right into. Who wouldn’t want to save on the cost of building or the hassle of finding “in between” housing if there was something already there that worked for you? We were picky only in the area we wanted to live so that Roa could remain with his same therapies and school. Low and behold, there was an accessible home not far away! We jumped at the chance to take a peek at it, didn’t completely love it, thought it was over-priced…but that open concept, those hand-rails in the bath, the flat lawn with walk out deck…. we made that offer anyway just to have some ease in the confusion in an already confusing process.
Yet, as life goes, this proved to be another little lesson for our family- offer placed, offer accepted, only to be (honestly minutes) later rejected as a new cash counter-offer came in. You see, accessible homes are hard to find and when one comes onto the market, they fly. Sometimes right from under you.
Back to the drawing board. Literally. So the blue prints were drawn, and the search continued to find our in-between home. As I stated above finding one that is wheelchair accessible, short-term, and pet-friendly wasn’t an easy thing. So we settled for two out of three. We found a two-bedroom townhouse that welcomed our dog and cat for a six month lease that could later move into a month by month payment plan for an additional fee. When we first toured the available townhomes in this community there were a few one-level units open. But, no surprise, they were scooped up on a first come first served basis before we could get our application in.
The townhouse community is a nice one- pool, playground, and walking trail for residents. Yet it is a two-story with bedrooms up, so Roa’s wheelchair and walker are pretty much off limits indoors. We took this housing situation as a sign to keep moving on that drawing board to make the perfect home for Roa to find his independence.
So, the accessible home journey lessons we learned at this time:
1) Many realtors do not list homes as handicap accessible so as not to limit the buyers interested. As you search, it takes looking at the descriptive details listed or photos. Keywords are open-floor plan, easy-living features, one-level living, all living facilities on one level.
2) Even words like, handicap accessible features may only mean a ramp was installed to the front door or a bath has support bars.
3) If you are open to condo or townhouse association living, your options open up a bit more for both rentals and purchased homes. Yet, space is still a factor.
4) Opening your search area to neighboring towns or school districts is pretty much necessary to find a ready built barrier-free home.
5) Looking at ready built one-stories is always an option, but adding handicap accessible features to a house can prove to be space and money consuming.
6) If you find something that works for you, jump at it. It may be gone before you know it.