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How to Ease Your Hunt for an Accessible Home

by Melissa Thompson


House hunting can be a stressful or exhilarating experience, depending on how it’s handled. If you’re unprepared, however, you may struggle to find what you need, especially if you require an accessible home. Thankfully, you can take steps to make your search much easier.

Before You Begin

The first thing to do during this adventure is to look at your town and see how much the average home costs, and what listing prices look like. By doing so, you are not only better informed about how much you should offer but what price range to expect for your budget. For example, the median listing price for homes in Memphis sits at around $149,900. This figure will vary by neighborhood, but you can use it as a jumping-off point.

Also, if the appraised price of a home does not match the market value, you might have room to argue for a new price that is more in line with average rates. Similarly, look at what you can haggle over with the owner to sweeten your purchase, such as closing costs, home warranty, or any possible updates you would like completed.

Bathroom Features

Unfortunately, many houses aren’t made with accessibility in mind. Given that, you may have to make the alterations you require, so look for properties that allow modification. Sadly, if you have your eye on an older home, you may have to deal with certain obstacles, particularly in bathrooms. For instance, tearing into a wall to add a zero-entry shower, pedestal sink, or even installing grab bars and new flooring could release VOCs and asbestos. So, it’s best to look for homes on the newer side, as well as those with enough space to be changed or expanded.

Kitchen Amenities

Kitchen remodels can run into the thousands of dollars, so it can save you a pretty penny if you can find one that already has some degree of accessibility. According to Kitchen Magic, these features might include lowered cabinets and countertops, as well as open spaces to allow mobility. However, not every modification has to be an expense, or require a remodel, as small changes can make cooking easier and safer. Specifically, if there is space, you could bring in a short table to allow food prep to be done without danger or strain. Similarly, touch can-openers, lap cutting boards, and more can also help you cook in peace.

Hall and Walkway Dimensions

There is nothing worse than not feeling mobile in your own home. To ensure that you can maneuver freely, you’ll want to be certain both the halls and doorways are wide enough to meet your needs. On average, a wheelchair requires 36 inches to safely and easily pass through. Yet, for absolute safety, it's best to look for homes with 48-inch doorways and walking paths to accommodate a wheelchair and another person simultaneously. After all, no one should feel trapped or frustrated when moving through the place that is meant to offer shelter and peace.

Mobility Concerns

With mobility in mind, you’ll want to consider the entryways and stairs of a potential property. While it's possible to find no-step entries, to make coming and going safer, don’t despair if you can’t. In fact, it doesn’t take long or cost too much to have a ramp custom built for your house. Moreover, you needn’t look only at ranch-style properties to find something that you can work with since navigation can be simplified with just a stairlift. With top of the line models costing between $3,000 to $4,500, all you need is a little wiggle room in your budget.

The best way to arm yourself when looking for a home is to know what you need. By understanding your local housing market, knowing the median listing price of homes in your preferred area, and the dimensions you’ll want from a property, you can ease your journey. After all, this should be an exciting time, not something that causes undue stress.

By: Patrick Young Ableusa.info
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Finding the Right Home for You and Your Family

by Melissa Thompson

Purchasing a home is such a huge decision, you definitely want it to be the right one.  Before even starting the home search process, it’s important to think about what it is you want from your new home. 

For many the location of a property is the priority.  Perhaps you have your heart set on a charming neighborhood that you have always loved.  Or maybe you want a specific school district for your children. Whatever the reason, location is as important financially as it is emotionally. You are making an investment and future resale value should be taken into consideration. Figuring out where you want to live is the first step in finding the house that is right for you and your family.  Once you have an idea of where you want to live, you may discover that you might have to compromise a bit on the type of house you want.  For example, perhaps you like the idea of a ranch style home with a big yard, but there is nothing like that available in the area you chose.  If your priority is a certain style of home, you may have to compromise on the location. Location: The Most Important Factor in Real Estate

Looking for a home based on architectural style can be challenging, especially if you are moving to a new area that you are not familiar with.  One way to do it is to use the key word option on real estate search sites to type in descriptive words.  Once again, you may have to adjust your expectations because you might find a house you love in a neighborhood that you don’t like so much.  Perhaps new construction is the way to go for you.  That way you can choose where you want to live and build to your specifications. 26 Popular Architectural Home Styles

Often finances will dictate where you can search for a house based on what you can afford.  If you’re handy and don’t mind the idea of a fixer-upper, you might be able to find a diamond in the rough for a great price.  Just keep in mind the future expenses of renovating it. If a move-in ready home is what you’re looking for, maybe you should consider a town-home or condo, especially if the amenities that often come with those types of homes appeal to you.

There are so many questions to ask yourself before you begin looking for a house.  Do you want a big yard or do you hate yard work?  Do you want to be able to walk to restaurants and shops or do you prefer country living?  Do you mind a long commute to your job or do you want to live near where you work?  Take time to think these things through before you start your home search. Trust me, it will go more smoothly and be much more enjoyable if you go into it knowing what you want!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Things to Look for When House Hunting: A Top Ten List

by Melissa Thompson

House hunting can be overwhelming sometimes, especially for first-time home buyers.  Chances are you might get caught up in the process and important details might slip by you. While the number of rooms, condition of the kitchen, and size of the yard are important, there are other things to consider before you make an offer.  This list of things to look for can help get your search off to the right start.

Location, Location, Location

They say that the 3 most important things to look for when buying a home are location, location and location.  While a home might not be perfect, loving your neighborhood and neighbors can make all the difference in living with imperfection.  And face it…you can change almost anything about your house, but you can’t change its location or the people living nearby.  When you go house hunting, make sure to consider the home’s proximity to your work, the appeal of the neighborhood, where in the neighborhood the home is situated, ease of access, noise from neighbors, traffic, pets and access to parks, shopping, schools and public transportation.

Home Placement

Beyond location, look at how the home is situated.  If the home is on a hill does it have a view, a walkout basement, or lots of stairs to climb? Do neighbors' windows look directly into the home? Is the yard suitable for kids, pets, gardening, or other uses? Is their safe access to the home? These are all important questions to ask yourself when determining if it is the right property for you.

Check Out the Neighborhood

While it’s important for your house to meet your expectations, it’s equally important that the neighborhood meets them too. Take a drive around the development you are interested in on week days and weekends, during the day and in the evening.  Are the homes in good repair? Are yards kept clean and tidy?  Is the neighborhood safe enough for people to walk, run or bike?  Are there children playing outdoors?

Consider a Home’s Curb Appeal

You want a home that is going to reflect your lifestyle. Do you live a casual, laid-back life? Then you probably won’t want a formal Victorian or Tudor style home.  A simple, contemporary home might better suit you.  Pay close attention to exterior features.  Think about maintenance.  For example, a brick home is easier to maintain than one with siding.  Do you like working in the yard?  If not, you might not want a house with extensive landscaping.  Is the roof in good condition?  Attention to detail will help you choose the home with the best curb appeal for you.

Size and Floor Plan

You may be thinking about buying your dream home. But is your dream home practical?  Do you need 4 bedrooms and 4 baths when you live alone? A spacious home may provide the extra room you've always wanted for a home office or a theater room, but you'll pay higher heating bills and have higher taxes. Additionally, it will take more furniture to furnish and money to decorate. Think about how the new home space will be used and whether it will fit your lifestyle now and in the future.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms

Decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms you will need and only look at homes that meet that criteria.  You don’t want to fall in love with what is otherwise a perfect house if it doesn’t provide the space needed for your family.  It’s smart to consider counting an extra bedroom in that number so that you have additional space for a home office or guest room. If you think you might add on to the home later, make sure you consult an architect who can advise you on space planning and regulations.

The Kitchen

For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Don’t settle for a home with a kitchen that doesn’t work for you.  Yes, you can remodel later, but at great expense.  If it’s an easy fix like replacing cabinets or countertops, get a price quote before committing the house so that you will know if it is within your budget to take that on.

Closets and Storage

Older homes often have small closets and lack storage space.  As you’re looking at a home ask yourself where you will store your belongings.  Tiny closets don’t have to be a deal breaker.  There are ways to maximize storage without renovations. Newer homes tend to have lots of storage and you may sacrifice living space while having more closet space than you need.

Windows and Lighting

While looking at a home keep in mind your preferences regarding light and privacy.  Do you want a lot of windows to provider bright, sunny rooms?  Pay attention to the locations of electrical outlets and fixtures to make sure they will meet your lighting needs.      

Finishing Touches

Even a simple home can look spectacular with the right moldings, hardware, and a fireplace.  If elements like these are important to you, look for them while house hunting. 

You may not find everything you want in one house, but keep this list handy and you are more likely to find the home that best suits your needs and desires.  Better yet, let Melissa Thompson and her Team at Your Key to Memphis help you find your dream house today!

Happy House Hunting!

Photo credit: gorenter.com

Now is a Great Time to Move Up to Your Dream House!

by Melissa Thompson

We hear a lot about people downsizing and simplifying, but if you are looking for a larger home, now is a great time to sell your smaller home and move up to something that better suits your wants and needs.  Perhaps you have a growing family and need more space, or an additional income-earner has joined your household or maybe you have enough equity in your current home that you can now afford your dream home. Whatever the reason, movin’ on up is an exciting prospect!

Ok, now let’s contain that excitement a bit and think about what it means to purchase a more expensive house.  First, just because you can afford something on paper, doesn’t mean you should commit all your resources to the most expensive property on your radar.  It would behoove you to take a thorough look at your current budget and then play with the numbers a bit to determine how much more you’re willing to spend each month on a higher mortgage payment.  A dream house is wonderful, but being house-poor is not.  Think about your lifestyle and don’t make the mistake of getting into a financial bind that doesn’t allow you to do the activities you enjoy.

When financing your new home, you have a couple of options.  If you haven’t sold your current home yet, you can choose a Home Equity Loan or a Bridge Loan to make the down payment on the new home.  A home equity loan allows you to borrow against your current home’s equity and is usually less expensive than other loans.  A bridge loan is a short-term loan that is used until you can obtain permanent financing.  Because they are short term, the interest rates on them will be relatively high.

Before you put your house on the market and commit to purchasing a new one, educate yourself about the prices of houses in the areas where you will be selling and buying. Whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, an experienced professional Realtor will be able to assist you in navigating the process. The goal is to sell high and buy low, and in today’s market that is an achievable dream!  Call Melissa Thompson at 901-729-9526 and let her help you find your dream home today!

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Melissa Thompson
Crye-Leike Realtors
6525 N Quail Hollow Road
Memphis TN 38120
(901) 729-9526
(901) 756-8900
Fax: (901) 435-0620