Finding the right home is hard, especially for individuals who have special needs. It’s not an impossible process, but it is best to keep a few tips in mind to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
Know Your Needs
The most important part of the process is knowing exactly what sort of housing you need to accommodate your disability. The more information you can provide to the real estate agent, the more likely they are to find something appropriate. There are times when finding an appropriate home on the market will be impossible, so it can also be prudent to meet with contractors so you can determine which houses can be renovated to meet your needs. According to Disability.gov, most renovations for this purpose only cost between $150 and $2000 dollars, so you should remain open to the idea of altering an existing home.
Take Your Time, But Act
Finding a home can be a long and frustrating process, but it’s important not to rush things. Buying a home is a big decision, and it’s important not to forget any details that could make it hard to live with your disability in your new home.
On the other hand, it’s also important to act once you find something that does meet your needs. Nothing is more frustrating than finding your perfect home and losing it because somebody else bought it before you made up your mind. Take all the time that you need to make sure the home is appropriate, but be sure to act once you are positive that it is.
Look For Support
It may seem impossible to get your own home, but there’s plenty of support out there that can make the process easier. Many government programs, such as those offered by state governments and the federal Department of Housing and Development, offer financial support for disabled people who want to buy a home. Private groups, such as Habitat for Humanity, can also help build or fund a home. These groups usually work very closely with disabled individuals, so they know how to build a home that can meet any special requirements. Those organizations can take more than a year to go from applying to closing on a home, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible if you think they can help you.
Know Your Rights
Disabled individuals face a lot of challenges when it comes to finding a home that meets their needs, so they shouldn’t need to deal with discrimination for landlords or real estate agents. Fortunately, the Fair Housing Act offers protection against that type of discrimination. Discrimination is relatively common in spite of that protection, so it’s important to know your rights before you hunt for a home.
In this case, discrimination includes advertising a home in a way that indicates a preference for people who are not disabled, refusing to sell or rend to a disabled person, or interfering with their ability to exercise their housing rights. They are also forbidden from offering different terms to disabled individuals than they would to anybody else. Disabled individuals are also entitled to make reasonable modifications to their home to accommodate their disability.
In the event of a violation, individuals are entitled to file a complaint to the United States Department of Housing and Development, which will attempt to resolve it. The HUD will start by attempting to reconcile the two parties, but if that fails the matter will go to court. The court can order the landlord to pay compensation to the wronged party, so it’s important for people to know their rights and be willing to fight for them. If you aren’t sure if you have a case, consider consulting an injury lawyer or other legal expert who has experience dealing with cases that involve disabilities.
Choosing a neighborhood in which to raise your family can seem like a daunting task. It’s not easy to point to a place on a map and decide to put down roots and stay for years to come. Buying a home is a significant investment, and you want to be sure you’re picking the best area possible to meet the needs of your family. But you don’t have to wait to learn about your neighborhood until after you’ve already closed escrow. Here are some resources to help you research your future neighborhood ahead of time, enabling you to choose the best place to raise your family.
Look at Local School Ratings
The easiest way to find a neighborhood where you feel comfortable raising your family is to look at nearby school ratings. The website Great Schools is an incredible resource that ranks schools based on test scores and parental reviews. Simply type in the generic city or metropolitan area you’d like to live in, and look at the map to see the results. You can customize the map to only display the types of schools you’re looking for, like high schools vs. preschools. It’s easy to see where the best neighborhoods are because they typically have the highest rated schools. Once you have narrowed it down to a more specific area, GreatSchools.org will even show you individual school attendance boundaries to make searching for a home even easier.
Research Crime Statistics
It’s not enough to find a neighborhood that has good schools. Crime levels are another very important factor in any home search. Use local municipal websites or sheriff’s department websites to find out what types of crimes are being committed in the area you have chosen. NeighborhoodScout is another great resource that shows the different types of crimes in any given area. Crime is everywhere, so don’t be too alarmed when you see multiple incidents show up in your desired area. The important thing is to look at what types of crimes are being committed in your area. Are they petty crimes like a teenager stealing a lawn chair, or are they something much more serious like armed robbery and home invasion? Doing research on local crime statistics is a great way to get to know the neighborhood long before you’re committed to moving in.
Search for Nearby Amenities
Once you have settled on a neighborhood, look at the amenities that are available nearby to see if they meet your family’s needs. Check local city and county websites to locate nearby public parks and swimming pools. Look up children’s classes and activities that may be offered through your local community center. Check national and state park websites to find out if there are any state-run nature facilities nearby. Don’t forget to look for amenities for the adults as well. Are there coffee shops and restaurants nearby? What about a gym, and a grocery store? These are all things that impact quality of life and contribute to a neighborhood’s overall desirability.
Once you have chosen a neighborhood, research all the housing options for your family. Even if you are using an agent (as you should), check homes that are selling by owner. Often times homes in the best neighborhoods are sold by word of mouth before they even hit the market. Talk to people in the area and try to get the inside scoop to be sure you can find a home in your desired neighborhood.
Don’t be intimidated when trying to choose a neighborhood for your family. Doing research online before you begin house hunting can help save you a lot of wasted time and can help take a lot of the unknowns out of moving to a new area. Follow these tips and help make your next move a little more certain, and help you rest assured that you are moving your family into the best neighborhood possible.