Zilbert's Miami Beach and South Beach Real Estate Blog

Apr 22 2014

6 Key Steps to Making Your Move Go Smoothly

Filed under: Misc, Real Estate Tips

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Are you planning a move in the near future? If so, you may be feeling the stress of move already weighing heavily upon you. While the task is going to be a major undertaking no matter what you do, there are a few steps you can take to help make the process of moving far easier on yourself and those around you.

Step #1: Plan Some Overlap Time

If possible, try to plan some overlap time between the time that you leave your current home and take possession of the new home. This way, you have time to paint the walls, install new flooring or do any other modifications that you would like to make to the new home before you actually move in your furniture. This will make the process of completing improvements far easier.

Step #2: Contact the Moving Company Early

If you plan to use a moving company to assist with the move, don’t wait until the last minute. Once you know when you plan to make the move, contact the moving company to ensure they are available at the time you need them. This is particularly important as warmer weather approaches, as moving companies get busier in the spring and summer than the winter.

Step #3: Get Rid of the Things You Don’t Need

You can make your move a lot easier if you get rid of those things that you do not need or want any longer. If the item cannot be repaired, throw it away. If it is still in good shape, consider having a yard sale, giving the items away to friends and family, or donating the items to charity.

Step #4: Beginning Planning for the New Space

If possible, take measurements of the rooms in your new house and take note where things such as doorways, windows and electrical outlets are located. With this information, you can begin planning on where you will place various items in your new home.  Also, be sure to measure doorways to ensure all of your items can fit into your new house. Not only will this pre-planning help make the move go more smoothly, but it will also help you determine which furniture and appliances you should leave behind.

Step #5: Arrange for Phone and Utilities

Before you actually make your move, arrange for your phone and utilities to be hooked up before you arrive. Keep in mind that these companies typically need several days or even more than a week’s notice before they will complete the hookup. If you plan to have Internet access, check into your options and make sure the home has the necessary phone jacks and cable outlets for your preferred choice.

Step #6: Fill Out a Change of Address Form

As it comes closer to the day of your move, be sure to fill out a change of address form with the Post Office. This way, any mail that is sent to your old address will be redirected to your new address. You will also need to contact your creditors, magazine subscriptions and other individuals about your change of address. Even if you have automatic debits taken directly from your bank account to pay bills, you will need to alert your creditors about your change of address to ensure the bills continue to be paid properly.

To learn more about how to make your move go smoothly, consult with an experienced real estate expert in your area.

Apr 16 2014

Ready to Put Your House on the Market? Be Sure to Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes

Filed under: Real Estate Tips

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Making a few upgrades and updates is often a good idea before putting a home on the market. While some changes can add to the value of a home or, at the very minimum, make it more attractive to potential buyers, there are some changes that are not worth the added expense. Similarly, making a few poor decisions can significantly hurt your chances of getting the home sold quickly and at a reasonable price. Here is a look at some of the biggest mistakes that sellers can make before putting a home on the market.

Seller Mistake #1: Putting the Home on the Market Too Soon

It is normal to feel anxious about putting your home on the market right away, but it is important for you make sure your house is ready for the market before you go through with this step. Remember, first impressions are vital, so you need to make sure your home is presented to potential buyers in the best way possible.

Seller Mistake #2: Making the Home Better Than Other Homes in the Neighborhood

While you certainly want your home to be comparable to the other homes in your neighborhood, you don’t want it to be better than the other homes in your neighborhood. No one wants to purchase the nicest house in a neighborhood, as the nicest house is not a good investment. When making upgrades, strive to make the home comparable to other homes in the neighborhood rather than making it better.

Seller Mistake #3: Trying to Hide Problems

You might think that hiding problems is the best way to get your home sold quickly. While you may be able to “trick” someone into buying the house by hiding problems, you could also find yourself in a whole lot of trouble for failing to disclose the problems. If the seller finds that there is a problem with the house that you failed to disclose, you might find yourself being sued.

Seller Mistake #4: Hiring the Wrong Real Estate Agent

Hiring a competent real estate agent is essential, so don’t hire someone simply because that person is a relative or a friend. Make your decision based on the agent’s proven record and ability to get your home sold.

Seller Mistake #5: Setting the Wrong Price

Many sellers set the price based on the amount of money they hope to get from the sale. Unfortunately, you cannot set the price in this way, as you are likely to put a price tag on the home that is much higher than the fair market value. The market always controls the price, so look at the current market and set your price accordingly.

Seller Mistake #6: Staying Emotionally Attached to Your Home

Feeling an emotional attachment to your house makes it more difficult to see it for what it truly is. As a result, you overlook those things that are wrong with it and in need of repair. Being overly attached can also lead to hurt feelings when someone makes a lower offer on your house or otherwise criticizes certain aspects. Remember, once you put your house on the market, it is no longer your “home.” Rather, it is a commodity.

To learn more about how market your home effectively, consult with an experienced real estate expert in your area.

 

Apr 07 2014

Feeling Cold Feet? Three Common Reasons Why Home Buyers Have a Change of Heart

Filed under: Real Estate Tips

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Are you having difficulty committing to a home purchase? If  so, you are not alone. In fact, a large number of house seekers back out before taking the final plunge. In some cases, this may be the right choice. In other cases, it is really a matter of getting over an unreasonable fear and finally realizing the dream of homeownership. To that end, here are a few of the most common reasons why buyers fail to close on the purchase of a home.

Reason #1: Fear of Taking on a Large Loan

Perhaps the most common reason for buyers to back out of a deal is a fear of overspending. It is easy to get swept away at the prospect of purchasing a home, particularly after looking at all of the beautiful homes that are available to choose from. After you start the process of searching for a home, you may find yourself stretching your budget further as you try to purchase a bigger and better home. Eventually, the price tag becomes so great that you simply don’t want to purchase a home anymore.

To prevent this from happening to you, set a budget before you start looking for a home. When you talk with your real estate agent, insist upon staying within this budget. Don’t even bother looking at homes that are not within that budget. This way, you will not reach the point where you are feeling overwhelmed by the expense you are about to take on. Remember, just because a lender says you can take on a larger loan, it doesn’t mean that you should.

Reason #2: Taking on Too Much at One Time

Some home buyers dream of buying a home at the same time they are making other major life transitions, such as planning a family, going to graduate school or taking on a new job. Trying to do too many things at one time can be overwhelming and stressful.  To avoid this issue, sit down and make a plan for your future goals. If there are other steps that need to be completed before you can focus on buying a house, take care of those issues first.  That way, you can be certain you are ready to focus your attention and your pocketbook on buying a home.

Reason #3: Unforeseen Problems

Unfortunately, some home seekers have to call off the house hunt because they are experiencing unforeseen troubles. Common issues that get in the way of a house hunt include marital problems, a death in the family or job loss. Obviously, there is not much you can do to prevent these issues from occurring. In addition, if you do experience one of these problems, it is certainly in your best interest to put the house hunt on hold until you can return things to some level of normalcy.

To help prevent these problems for happening to you, consult with an experienced real estate expert in your area to help with your home purchase.

Mar 27 2014

First Time Buyer? Avoid the Common Mistakes That Most Brokers See

Filed under: Real Estate Tips

First Time Buyer? Avoid the Common Mistakes That Most Brokers See

A recent survey conducted by Coldwell Banker found that brokers are seeing some disturbing tends with first-time homebuyers. Namely, many of these buyers expect to be able to get more than they can actually afford in a home. As a result, first time buyers are experiencing a certain level of disconnect that leaves them feeling discouraged about their options.

The survey, which gathered feedback from 150 brokers who work for Coldwell Banker, found that nearly half of the brokers saw affordability as being the number one concern among first-time homebuyers. 81 percent of those who were looking for an affordable home also wanted a home that was in move-in condition, while only 7 percent were looking at purchasing a fixer-upper.

To enjoy the level of affordability that many of these buyers are seeking, representatives from Coldwell Banker are suggesting that more first-time homebuyers consider purchasing a home that is a fixer-upper. By purchasing a home that is a fixer-upper, first-time home buyers can save money while also building equity in the home over time. By selling the home at a later date, the homeowners can purchase a second home that is more aligned with their housing expectations.

While this can certainly be sound advice, other real estate experts recommend exercising a bit of caution when purchasing a fixer-upper. While they can help to save money, they can also become a money pit if the wrong house is purchased. Therefore, it is important to have the home professionally inspected in order to determine what exactly needs to be repaired. A house that just needs a basic facelift, such as new carpeting, paint, window treatments, landscaping and other cosmetic improvements are often an excellent option. Those that are going to require major repairs or upgrades, on the other hand, may not be worth the savings.

In addition to finding that many first-time homebuyers had high expectations in regard to the quality of homes within their budget, the Coldwell study also found that many expect to be able to purchase a larger home in a prime location at a price that is below market value. In fact, 71 percent of first-time buyers were looking for larger homes than they were 10 years ago. These homes, however, typically come with a much larger price tag than a smaller single-family home, a townhome or a condo.

41 percent of the brokers who participated in the study said that buyers were also looking for a home that is near to work. In most metro areas, homes that are located near to employment centers are typically more expensive than those that are further away. Of course, buyers can enjoy a certain amount of savings if this helps to reduce gas cost or makes public transportation more readily available. For this reason, experts recommend looking for homes that are in a transit oriented development (TOD) or other community with low-cost public transit available. Car sharing, trip sharing and carpooling are other options to consider.

 

Mar 20 2014

Livability Releases List of the Top 100 Places to Live in the United States

Filed under: Community News

Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach, Florida

Livability recently released list of the top 100 best places to live in the United States. The list focuses solely on small to mid-sized cities rather than the large cities that frequently grab the headlines. Despite the smaller size of these cities, they still offer a variety of parks, museums, medical facilities, shopping options, retail establishments and commuting options for residents to enjoy.

The top ten cities listed on the list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live were as follows:

  • Palo Alto, California – noted for its mild weather, beautiful natural scenery, great cultural amenities and thriving economy, the city earned an overall “livability score” of 646.

  • Boulder, Colorado – featuring the Rocky Mountain foothills and miles of bike trails and rivers coupled with a variety of downtown eateries and brewpubs, Boulder received an overall “livability score” of 643.

  • Berkeley, California – tied with Boulder with a “livability score” of 643, the city is unknown for its hippie past. It has since grown to boast an energetic downtown area with great places to shop and eat.

  • Durham, North Carolina – with a history of textiles, tobacco production and agriculture, the city taps into its past as a research and technology hub. With a “livability score” of 640, the city offers great food and excellent educational opportunities.

  • Madison, Wisconsin – highly rated for its amenities, higher education opportunities and other amenities, the city received an overall “livability score” of 639.

  • Miami Beach, Florida – known for its amenities and its natural beauty along the oceanfront, the city packs a lot into 7 miles. Art deco buildings, museums, shopping and restaurants are just a few of the reasons why the city earned a “livability score” of 639.

  • Rochester, Minnesota – with a “livability score” of 636, the city is best known as being the home of the Mayo Clinic. Not only does the city have the world’s most well-known hospital, but it also has a bustling downtown and ample space for residents to enjoy.

  • Salt Lake City, Utah – as home to the University of Utah, the city boasts a strong working community that provides plenty of support to locally owned businesses. With its beautiful setting and an emphasis on family living, the city received a “livability score” of 635.

  • Eugene, Oregon – with four temperate seasons and ample amenities, the city still manages to maintain low traffic congestion because so many residents choose to walk and bike to work. With farmers markets and plenty of dining and nightlife opportunities, the city received a “livability score” of 633.

  • Reno, Nevada – offering dry heat and cooler temperatures when compared to the rest of the state, the city features the Sierra Nevada mountains, quick commutes and casinos. The natural beauty combined with the numerous city amenities give the city a “livability score” of 631.

Clearly, the cities included just within the top 10 are quite varied, with some being found in the Western United States, some to the east and everything in between. The cost of homes vary quite significantly, with the median price of a home in Palo Alto being close to $1.5 million compared to just $245,000 in Miami Beach. To see the full listing of the top 100 places to live, visit the Livability website.

Mar 13 2014

What Gen Y Looks for in a Home to Buy

Filed under: Home Improvement, Misc

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If you’ve lived in your home for some time, you notice when the neighborhood around you is changing to a younger demographic. Thinking this might be a good time to sell, you wonder what was so appealing about the house down the street to the young couple that just moved in.

The first thing you need to understand is that trying to put Gen Y’s—or so called “Millennials”—into a box may only lead to frustration when trying to sell your home. According to Forbes, the millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 2000, accounts for 4 in 10 of the US population. So before you run to the local DIY or call a contractor, talk to us first. We can help you determine the most important changes, upgrades or improvements to put your home on the Gen Y radar. Using recent comparables in your neighborhood, we can show you how your home stacks up, and recommend the appropriate fixes.

Functional Spaces

The most important prized priority in a home is functionality. Informality rules the day and a flexible layout strikes a positive chord with millennials that want room for a home theatre, game space, and home office rather than a formal living or dining room. So, even if you have formal spaces in your home, staging them so that a Gen Y buyer can see dual or multi-purpose can add appeal. They may not otherwise visualize an office in the corner of the dining room opposite a game table if your formal dining suite completely fills the space. Add shelving and a small desk area to a corner of the living or dining room, or even in a kitchen nook.

Entertainment Space

The second item a younger buyer looks for is entertainment space. For some, a patio with a hot tub and barbeque pit fills the bill, while others prize an open kitchen with room for guests to socialize over food preparation. Stage your kitchen with a mobile island and stools, if they’ll fit.

Bright Hues

Generation Y tends to lean toward brighter colors and signature pieces of art. If your home already has color, just refresh it with a new coat of paint. Conversely, if your home is mostly white, consider changing up the color to a warmer hue like these, or adding bright pops of color with pillows, strategically placed flowers, a bowl of apples or pomegranates.

Retro-Style

Many millennials are drawn to older styles in homes, decor and even vehicles. Many have adopted decor from the 60s and 70s in to their homes, and some even draw inspiration from the 50s. If your home is older and has original craftsmanship, detailing, or fixtures, don’t be afraid to highlight those when describing your home’s features. In fact, if you have covered over some of those architectural details, now might be the time to revisit that decision and bring them back out in the open.

Low Maintenance Exteriors

When thinking about changes to the exterior of your home, consider reducing the amount of upkeep required. This generation is all about the experience of life, so while they may want to put in their own vegetable garden, they usually don’t want to have to worry about annually repainting the house. If you are thinking of replacing siding, for instance, consider fiber cement siding that mimics wood, brick or stone, but is impervious to termites and fire, doesn’t require painting, and won’t rot. Before making a change, though, talk to us about the best return on your investment, not just its appeal to one group of buyers.

We can help you put your home in the best light to appeal to Generation Y, Generation X and even Boomers, so give us a call and we can talk about what you need to do next to sell you home.

Mar 12 2014

5 Tips for Purchasing a Home This Spring

Filed under: Real Estate Tips

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Springtime is typically one of the busiest times of the year for home buyers, which means competition can become fierce in certain markets. To help increase your chances of getting the home you want, there are a few tips you should keep in mind this spring as you start looking for a house.

Tip #1: Start Early

Perhaps the most important step you can take toward purchasing a home in the spring is to get started early. This way, you have plenty of time to interview a number of different real estate professionals before you choose the one you want to work with. Ideally, you should interview at least three or four real estate professionals before choosing one. Be sure to also check references to help with the process of narrowing down your choices.

Tip #2: Get a Handle on Your Finances

The next step in the process is to get a clear idea of how much you can afford to pay for a house as well as how much you can pay toward a down payment. Your real estate agent can help you determine this information and can help you meet with a mortgage lender to get a clear picture of your finances. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), most first-time homebuyers make a downpayment of 6 percent. The NAR further reports that 24 percent of the funds used for down payments are funds received as gifts from relatives or friends. If you do not have enough money to pay for a 6 percent down payment, there are several loan programs available to help reduce these costs.

Tip #3: Get a Pre-Approved Loan

Getting a pre-approved loan will tell you exactly how much you can afford to pay for a house. It also tells you how much the lender is willing to loan to you, which is information that you can use when negotiating with the seller. After all, when the seller finds out that you have already been approved for a loan, the seller will know that you are a serious buyer. This will also help to expedite the process once you find the home that you want.

Tip #4: Keep Yourself Available

As your real estate agent receives and reviews new listings, he or she will be contacting you if a listing is a good match. The more quickly you are able to view the property, the better your chances of grabbing the home you want before someone else puts in an offer.

Tip #5: Keep an Open Mind

While you certainly want to find the perfect home to suit all of your needs, you may need to make a few concessions. When looking at homes, be sure to consider the home’s potential. Obviously, you can’t change certain factors, such as the neighborhood where the home is located or the basic floorplan. You can, however, easily change the color of the walls, replace flooring and otherwise make basis aesthetic changes to make the home more appealing to you. With the help of a knowledgeable real estate agent,you will be better able to differentiate between those homes with promise and those that should be avoided.

Mar 11 2014

Real Estate Terminology: Abatement, the First in a Series

Filed under: Market Updates

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Every industry has its own vocabulary, and real estate is no exception. If you are newly in the home-buying market, you may find yourself stumped by the lingo, acronyms, abbreviations and jargon commonly used in real estate sales materials, online listings, contracts and the like. We do not want you to be confused, so in this series of posts, we will define several terms for you in everyday language. Abatement is one real estate term or expression with which to become familiar.

Abatement

In general legal terms, the word abatement means removal or diminishing of something. In residential real estate, the term most refers to property tax in the form of a property tax abatement. Since property taxes are ongoing annual homeowner expenses even after you completely pay off a mortgage, having access to a property tax abatement or real estate abatement is a valuable savings when buying a home. For example, if a city, county, state or other property-tax entity offers a tax abatement, it could reduce the monthly housing costs by up to 3% during the abatement period.

Property tax abatement programs make it easier to qualify for a mortgage by reducing your income/debt to housing cost ratio. In addition, as long as the abatement continues in effect, it adds to the attractiveness of your home when you decide to sell.

Certain abatements are for one-time improvements to an existing property can vary widely depending on the area. They can be as for upgrades or enhancements as different as:

  • Installing a green roof or other environmentally friendly additions
  • Renovation that increase the property value
  • Conversion of non-residential buildings to residential use

Improvements must conform to the abatement requirements, building codes and permitting processes, so if you are planning to purchase a home that you intend to renovate, make sure that we know so that we can advise you on the abatements in effect for the properties that we show you.

In addition to state and local abatements, there are even some federal tax incentives for restoring and preserving homes designated as historic of historical civic value. Other abatements are for qualified newly constructed homes.

Some cities have property tax abatements in effect for years. These most often are set in place to attract buyers to neighborhoods or areas that are under redevelopment, in the process of revitalization, or have lower demand. The specific qualification requirements for abatements differ from area to area, so be sure to talk with us about access to potential abatements when you are house hunting.

Asbestos and Lead-Paint Abatement

Other uses of the word abatement relating to real estate include certain expenses associate with buying older property, or property being repurposed from commercial to residential. For example, when purchasing a home built before 1978, any renovations or improvements to a home might need to conform to lead paint abatement requirements. Another potential abatement cost is asbestos removal. Prior to the 1970s, asbestos was used as insulation in ducts and pipes, as vermiculite attic insulation, in wall and ceiling acoustical tiles, concrete exterior siding, floor tiles and other common home materials contained asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates asbestos removal, so if you plan to make changes to an older property, we can help you navigate the ins and outs of asbestos abatement and recommend qualified professional asbestos removers. Certain homes may qualify for an asbestos or lead paint removal grant.

Call us …

We can help you determine what the home you are considering buying might qualify for, so be sure to ask us about both tax abatements and asbestos or lead paint abatement grant programs when you call.

Mar 06 2014

Basketball Themed Home Makeovers for March Madness

Filed under: Home Improvement, Misc

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With NCAA Final Four Basketball finals coming up, basketball themed bedrooms, game rooms, theater rooms and garages stoke dreams of future champions. Give a makeover to a space in your house and score big time with March Madness fans and upgrade your home’s real estate value at the same time.

Put in an in-door basketball hoop like this mounted basketball hoop. Hoops come in various sizes and mounting options, so decide if you want your hoop on the wall, over the door, or on its own stand. Freestanding hoops typically adjust for height so your hoop can grow with your child.

Home value tip: An over-the-door hoop can damage the top of the door, so use thicker foam padding under the hoop’s bracket to protect the door. Be sure that the “basketball” is made of non-marking material. That way, you will have less repainting to do if you place your home on the real estate market.

If you are looking at a media or game room makeover, consider all the age groups that will use the room. Place your basketball hoop as far opposite of your television screen as possible. Your makeover will not seem as fun if a stray ball or elbow damages your big screen. If you do not have a media room, or separate room for a basketball retreat, I can help you find a home for sale that better meets your needs.

Home value tip: Adding a fully automated media room may not add value to a smaller home, especially if it takes away from essential living space. According to an article in Investopedia by former real estate agent and award-winning author Jean Folger, while luxury home buyers in certain areas and age groups look for the addition of IT and AV technologies when searching for a home, others homebuyers will not consider paying more for specialized spaces over more generic living space. I can help you decide if a home theatre is the best remodel option for your home when considering your home’s resale value.

Think about replacing carpet with hardwood or wood-look laminate like this home’s indoor court. Add basketball-themed peel-and-stick decals to flooring to make removal and changes simple. That way, when your budding WNBA-star decides to be a ballerina instead, you’re not worried about damaging your new flooring with hard to remove paint.

Home value tip: Hardwood may increase the value of your home, and choosing a sustainable or eco-friendly option may make your home more attractive to a potential home buyer. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America suggests replacing carpeting with hardwood, vinyl, linoleum tile or even slate, since carpeting often is home to dust mites and pollen and other allergens. I can help you find a qualified contractor to install your new flooring and help you determine the best choice of flooring for return on investment when you place your home for sale, so just give me a call.

Your extra garage space might be the optimal location for a basketball makeover. You can see a great example in this garage makeover. A three-car garage space can double as a half-court basketball area, complete with a scoreboard clock, painted-in lines and a larger hoop than you would use inside the house. Garage ceilings often are higher and can accommodate larger hoops, but most still are not high enough for a full-sized hoop at regulation height.

Home value tip: Finishing your garage floor with high-quality epoxy paint, if done right, can add value to your home. I can help you find a qualified professional to refinish your garage floors and help you determine if it will add value to your home.

Outdoor courts continue to be popular with families for the obvious advantages of keeping the noise outside and protecting the home’s interior from damage. Make sure to place your hoop in an area that avoids direct contact with windows and exterior surfaces on your home that are prone to damage—such as metal roofs, garage doors and gutters—and potential health hazards such as fragile asbestos siding. Consider a freestanding basketball hoop and place it far away from exterior surfaces that might sustain damage like the one on this patio or this fenced in one.

Home value tip: If your home has asbestos siding, or you are considering purchasing a home with asbestos siding, I can advise you on regulations and ordinances regarding removing, repairing or covering your siding. A professional contractor with specialized training in asbestos removal is usually the best option, so call me for referrals. Any siding replacement may change the value of your home. According to Remodeling‘s annual Cost vs. Value trends, the siding you choose makes a difference when considering your return on investment (ROI). So contact me and I will help you decide what will increase your home’s value most.

If you are looking for a home for sale to host your March Madness parties, give me a call. I will help you find just the right property for you.

Mar 04 2014

Planning for Multi-Generational Living

Filed under: Home Improvement

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Extended families living in one home are more the norm these days. When looking for a home to share with your older parents, consider that while they may be completely mobile now, in the future they may need assistance to maintain balance, negotiate stairs, utilize a wheelchair or walker, or enter or exit the bath. If you inform your real estate agent and pay attention to these important requirements when house-hunting, you will save yourself costly remodeling in the future:

  1. In addition to entry doors, doorways to bedrooms, bathrooms and all family rooms need to be at least 32 inches wide to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, and 36 inches wide if the chair needs to turn to enter or exit the room. If the door’s maximum opening is 90 degrees (i.e. against a wall), be sure to use the larger door size.
  2. At least one external entry door should include a threshold ramp, and be accessible without stairs. Even entryways with shallow steps should be capable of accommodating a wheelchair ramp if the need arises.
  3. Hallways should be at least 42 inches wide to accommodate both wheelchairs and walker. Handrails should be on both sides of the hallway, if possible.
  4. Look for a home with at least one bedroom on the ground floor. Adding elevators and stairlifts are also possibilities, but add more expense to your home alterations.
  5. Bathroom modifications can be expensive, so first, look for a home with a walk-in shower to simplify the bathing process. If a walk-in shower is not available, consider remodeling one bathroom to include a walk-in bath.
  6. The bathroom should accommodate a comfort height or ADA compliant toilet, along with a grab bar (not a towel bar), to insure your family member can sit and stand with ease. Make even a small bathroom handicap accessible with the right remodel.
  7. Consider electrical needs of an older relative. Easy access to power outlets for personal and medical devices, and easy to operate light switches are important considerations as well. Extension cords and trailing electrical cords are trip hazards, so the rooms they occupy need plenty of installed outlets at accessible heights. Have an electrician add an outlet above the nightstand, or consider getting a lamp with built-in outlets.
  8. Pay attention to faucet, door, and cabinet knobs. Hard to operate knobs on lavatories and bath/shower stalls should be replaced with single handle or touchless options. Replace round doorknobs with lever-style knobs, and change out friction pull cabinet closers for soft-close or magnetic ones.

Property owners may need financial help to remodel or update their homes to accommodate the handicapped and elderly. Grants funded by several government agencies may cover the construction and renovation costs, including labor and administrative expenses. They may cover purchases of equipment and supplies necessary to make your home accessible for your loved one.

Most of all, be sure to inform your professional realtor about your needs from the beginning of your home search. Your real estate agent will focus on homes that consider all your requirements, including meeting the needs of all generations living in the home.