Disabled or aging people may have difficulty living in a home that hasn’t been adapted to accommodate them, so some homeowners modify their property to make life easier. What happens when the time comes to sell that house? What is the resale value of an accessible home?
The scope of accessible modifications
Some of today’s homes are built with Universal Design principles, which make the home accessible for whomever may live there and may help boost resale value. A Universal Design home will have an entrance without steps and wider doorways, for example. But functional modifications can make a standard home a much more comfortable place for an elderly or disabled person to live. Alterations may include such changes as:
- Installing ramps and lipless thresholds at home entrances to make it easier for a person using a walker or wheelchair to enter.
- Widening interior doorways to a minimum of 36 inches.
- Installing walk-in tubs or modifying shower entries with lipless thresholds.
- Adding grab bars near toilets and in showers.
- Replacing doorknobs and faucet handles with levers.
- Lowering light switches so that those in wheelchairs can reach them.
These modifications can be made without sacrificing style, which will help preserve the home’s resale value.
What happens at resale?
Life situations change, and at some point homeowners who modify their property for accessibility will need to sell it. The resale value of an accessible home depends on several factors.
If the home is located in a community whose population includes a relatively higher percentage of seniors or disabled people, accessibility modifications possibly will increase a home’s resale value. Such features are also increasingly appealing to the 35-to-55 age group. The opposite may be true in an area full of young families.
The degree of modifications, and the cost of reversing them, also play a role in the resale value of an accessible home. Many modifications, such as levered door and faucet handles and wider doorways, appeal to buyers of any age or situation. Other changes may not be particularly costly to reverse. Lowered light switches, for example, can be raised fairly easily, and grab bars can be removed. But some changes will require substantial expense to modify. An example would be raising counters, stovetops and sinks that have been lowered to accommodate the wheelchair bound.
Consult your real estate agent
A professional agent who knows both the neighborhood and the value of accessibility modifications can guide you through marketing and pricing your home. She will know how to present your home to potential buyers for whom these accommodations will be attractive features, as well as how to negotiate with a buyer who does not need them.