Accessibility is one of the biggest conversation pieces in modern home design and remodeling. People want to feel comfortable and want their guests to feel as welcome as possible in their homes.
Thankfully, this means that you can create a property that's safe and easy to navigate without having to worry about a negative impact on property value. These are some accessibility features that are awesome to include and why they matter.
1. Why Accessibility Matters
Accessibility is something that affects everyone, regardless of whether they realize it. Most of us age to a point where we start needing wheelchairs or other accessibility aids, and some need these from a very young age. Building an accessible home is something that has use for everyone and offers value even if you're not who it was originally intended for.
This adds value to your home and makes it a property that people from almost any age group can consider purchasing, which will be a great perk when you decide to sell.
2. Easy Changes to Start With
Small changes can be enough to make massive changes in a person's life. Adding perks like a handrail with LED lights can add accessibility and safety while still seeming luxurious and new.
Other items to add that can boost value are grips on stairs, if you have any, making your windows and doors easier to open, and even investing in clear lighting for pathways outside. Although these might not seem like accessibility boosts on first blush, they'll make living there far easier.
3. Widening and Raising Doorways
One of the biggest parts of a home that could use a change, which most people don't think about, is the doorways. Wider doorways allow more space for emergency workers to bring in and out wheeled gurneys, allow more space for walkers and wheelchairs, and ensure that you have plenty of room to move around if you need it.
This can be a slightly more expensive change, but the end result is good for as long as the house stands, so it’s a fantastic change.
4. Adding Ramps
Ramps are something most people don't ever consider adding to their homes, but think about all of the ways they can help! Of course, the most obvious is wheelchairs, but they're also great for moving furniture in and out, wheeling carts if you can't physically carry your groceries, pushing in and out large purchases, and so much more.
Although stairs have a classic beauty to them, they're not the most accessible part of any home.
5. Investing In the Bathroom
Bathrooms and kitchens are usually the main spaces where accessibility is needed most. People want to be able to live their lives as easily as possible while avoiding having to remodel every home they move into so it'll work. This could mean adding simple changes like grip bars in the shower (which could benefit everyone!) or having the second bathtub in the home be a step-in tub that can double as a hot tub.
Your bathroom doesn’t have to be outfitted like a hospital bathroom by any means, but it should allow someone to comfortably get around and use it in a way that won’t make them unsafe for doing simple things.
6. Understanding Change
Although many of these changes are permanent, it's vital that you keep some areas open to change. Technology is always changing rapidly, so although adding things like a modern intercom system (most Alexas and Google Home devices have this built-in) can be helpful, you need to remember how quickly they age.
Consider building shelving units for them so that when you upgrade or replace them, you won't have to take them out of the walls.
This doesn't mean you can't add things that you might only need for ten years! Although an automated chair lift for stairs may only work for ten years, it's incredibly necessary for those ten years. Weigh life necessity with how important it is to build items into the base of the house itself.
7. Common Mistakes to Avoid
There are some mistakes people make that were done in good faith as an attempt to boost their homes that end up taking off value. Falling for simple schemes to make things seem accessible but are actually wastes of money can leave you with a less accessible home.
This could mean you add a ramp, but it's too steep to be usable, or adding easy open windows that are too far from the ground for someone seated, or shorter, to be able to reach them. Be aware and mindful of each decision you make.
Safety Brings More Value
Home value sits at the front of most property owners' minds. If you're ready to make your home safer and more accessible while boosting your property's value, follow some of these tips!
Sam Willis is a freelance writer that loves sharing his knowledge and expertise in residential and commercial real estate, as well as engineering and construction. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia where he enjoys spending time with his wife and researching real estate trends in his free time. Sam’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a construction industry resource site.