23 Nov How to Find Your Family’s Accessible Dream Home (And Survive the Move!)
By Patrick Young
As a parent of a child with disabilities, you rely on routine and consistency to keep everyday life manageable. Family routines not only help your child feel safe, secure, and supported, they also keep you organized and in control.
So, when it comes time to move to a different home, it can feel like your whole life is turned upside down. Not only are you tasked with finding an accessible home for your child, you also have to maintain some sense of normalcy while moving your family from Point A to Point B.
That’s a lot of responsibility to add to what’s already a super stressful time. But while we can’t take the hard work out of moving, this article offers pointers for getting through your move with less stress for everyone.
1. Make a checklist of your accessible house hunting needs
As the parent of a child with disabilities, you have non-negotiable needs when it comes to house hunting. But like other buyers, you’re prone to being swayed by a beautiful home. Stay on task while house hunting by carrying a checklist with your must-have features. These may include:
- Single-story living
- Zero-step entrances
- Open concept design
- Wider doorways
- Smooth flooring
- Proximity to healthcare, special education, and other resources
2. Factor accessibility remodeling into your budget
Smart house hunting can land you a home that’s adaptable to your child’s needs. However, parents of disabled children should still plan for accessibility remodeling after a move. Necessary updates may include modifications like:
- Grab bars
- Lower thresholds
- Wheelchair ramps
- Accessible showers and baths
- Lowered sinks, countertops, and cabinets
- Motion-activated lighting
While it’s possible to finance home improvements, cash is the best way to pay for renovations. Unfortunately, most parents with a disabled family member don’t have a lot of pocket change lying around. To afford modifications, take advantage of mortgage programs that let you make a smaller down payment so you can reserve sale proceeds for home improvements instead.
Not sure how much you’ll make from selling your home? If you know what your home is worth, you can estimate sale proceeds by subtracting your outstanding mortgage balance, real estate commissions, and other fees from the sale price. To maximize profits when selling a home, focus on low-cost, high-impact preparation like staging, curb appeal, and fresh paint over costly upgrades.
3. Prepare your family for moving
Now that you know what you need in a home and how to pay for it, the next step is preparing to move. These tips offer a helpful starting point.
- Locate support services, healthcare providers, childcare, and other essential services before moving.
- Announce the move well in advance, with pictures and information about your child’s new home, neighborhood, and school.
- Keep kids engaged in the packing process with a family schedule and age-appropriate tasks.
- Set up your new home in advance so it’s move-in ready when you arrive. An unpacking service is a big help here.
- Pack your child’s favorite items last and keep a few comfort items available during the move along with necessities like medications and medical equipment.
If moving to a different state states, you may also need to navigate new health insurance plans, doctors, early intervention services, and other disability services. This can be complicated, so it’s important to start early so everything is in order when you arrive in your new town.
4. How to practice safe house hunting during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic introduces new difficulties to the moving process. Follow these simple tips to protect your family while moving.
- Opt for 3D tours and virtual showings, saving walkthroughs for properties you’re serious about.
- Limit walkthroughs to one or two people.
- Wear masks wash your hands and use hand sanitizer as needed.
- Avoid touching doorknobs, switches, and other high-touch surfaces.
- Ask your moving company about their COVID-19 protocol.
- Pack your own items and social distance or use a contactless moving service on moving day.
From packing logistics to parenting tips, there’s a lot to think about when you’re moving with a child with disabilities. But while you might feel apprehensive about the move ahead, the hassle of relocating is well worth a safe and accessible home for your family.