Paul Stonkus' Blog
Buying a home that works for both seniors and young children can be complicated, if not impossible. When searching for a new home, it’s important to keep in mind the special requirements for every member of your family both now, and as they continue to age.
Parents or other older relatives may need assistance getting upstairs or in and out of a tub. Even if they are fine now, aging is a tricky thing and mobility issues can crop up at any time. Planning for them now can save you money and stress in the future.
At the other end of the spectrum, child-proofing a home is important for small children or new infants, so keep an eye out for sharp edges and remember you’ll have to bring strollers, high-chairs, car seats and more so plan for easy-to-open doors. Don’t forget that as your kids get older, their needs will change as well: plan for privacy and personal space where you can to save on upgrading your home in the future.
For the best home search, make sure to let your real estate agent know who all will be living with you. He or she can assist in finding homes with the features you need and can provide advice about what things are feasible to change yourself, and what will make a house cost more than your budget in the long run.
Some important features to look for include:
- Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.
- Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? We can help! Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.
- Wide Doorways: A door without a turning requirement (and those that open wider than a right angle) need to be at least 32 inches wide to ensure that wheelchairs and walkers will fit. Right angle doorways or those that require turning to enter or exit should be at least 36 inches wide.
- Wide Hallways: For comfortable use by strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs, look for hallways that are at least 42 inches wide. That much space gives you the option of installing handrails on one or both sides. Handrails can help both small children learning to walk, and elderly people with mobility issues.
That’s the easy part. The hardest room for both the very young and the elderly is the bathroom. It’s a good idea to ensure that your home has a minimum of 2 full bathrooms to allow you to accommodate the needs of all members of your family. Seniors need ADA toilets (also called comfort height) and grab bars, while your small child would need an extra-tall stool to use the taller toilet. Large showers with floor level entrances, seats and grab bars are best for the elderly, but its often easier to wash your kids in a tub, especially when they’re young. With two bathrooms, you can satisfy the needs of everyone in the family.
Last, but not least, pay attention to faucets, handles, and knobs. Rounded ones can be difficult for both the old and young members of your family. Look for a single handle, lever and touchless options for the best results all around. Don’t forget to test cabinets and drawers for weight or friction pull closers since those are more difficult than soft close or magnetic options. It’s okay if the home doesn’t come pre-fitted with the knobs, handles, etc. you want, a quick trip to your local hardware store will solve it.
Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.
Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.
When considering becoming a homeowner, one of the decisions you can make that will be beneficial to you is to deposit a down payment. However, the question is how do save up that hefty down payment?
One of the biggest roadblocks for prospective home buyers is securing a down payment. Fortunately, though, technology seems to be playing a huge factor in shrinking the burden of down payment. The whole saving process has become quite a bit less rigorous.
Below is a list of how you can overcome the down payment hurdle and ensure you have enough money when it’s time for you to buy.
Save A Fixed Amount Every Month
Saving a fixed amount is the simplest and most convenient way to save money. Open a savings account and discipline yourself to pay in a certain sum into the account every month. Discipline yourself not to use the money for any other purpose aside for your down payment.
Save a lot more than you spend, review your expenses and cut down on items that are not necessary. Whatever money generated as a result of this should be added to your down payment account.
Skip Vacations for A Year
I know going for a vacation during the year is something you are looking forward to and you have it all planned out. However, if you are looking to save up enough money for your down payment, then you should consider scrapping out vacation until you have enough money for your down payment.
Reduce Your Debt
Having a credit card with a high interest rate can limit your ability to save. Pay off your interest debt starting with the highest; after that, you can close off that card while you proceed to pay off the next.
Borrow from Your Retirement Plan
You can ask human resources or your payroll officer if it’s possible to borrow against your savings to buy a home. Many profit sharing setups make provisions for employees to loan a certain amount from their retirement plan to become a homeowner.
Borrow from A Relative
When it comes to getting a home of your own, most family members and relatives would be willing to help; they can grant you loans without interest, gifts and other non-monetary items that will help you in your down payment quest.
Get Another Source of Income
Getting a second job would mean you would probably be working round the clock, but in the long run, it would pay off. Getting another job means another source of income and more money to save into your down payment accounting.
Finding your new home is an exciting new prospect, and you want to ensure you get the home you really want. Before you start your home-search take some time to thoroughly consider what you want and need out of a home, what you want it to look like and what features you desire in your neighborhood and the surrounding area. To get you started, here are some pointers for creating your ideal home checklist.
- Basic Requirements. What do you need in a house? Take inventory of your household needs and belongings to determine your basic desires, outside of the obvious roof over your head, running water and electricity. If you have multiple children, do you want them to have their own rooms? Do they need a bathroom they can share? Does your elderly parent live with you and need a ground floor room with easy access to the kitchen and living spaces? Maybe you’re a single professional or young couple focused on starting a new business, so space for a home office or workshop is at the top of the list. Number of rooms, bathrooms, size of the yard, features and layout of the kitchen, storage space and number, size or openness of living areas are all things to consider when developing your needs list.
- Desires. What do you want in a house? Separating needs and wants can be difficult when dreaming of your new home. Start with the big and more obvious ones, like a pool or built-in barbecue, crown molding or a chef’s kitchen. You can add many features that you want after the fact. You can install a pool, replace the sliding door with French doors and even add your own crown molding. Setting aside some wants initially can open up your budget to purchasing a home that you can then invest more funds in and install most of the features you want. If you’re not interested in putting additional work into the house once you move in it is helpful to see what features bring up the cost of your new home so you can start thinking about what you can live without when it comes down to crunching numbers and staying within your means.
- Take it or leave it. You have your list now consider what items you entirely can’t live without (from the want or need category) and what you can be more flexible on. Unless you’re building a home from scratch with the perfect budget to boot, you will have to be flexible when searching for your home. Not every house will have every single feature on your list. Is it the master bath with his and her sinks that you need? Is it a big yard with a tree perfect for your kid’s treehouse, or is it a multi-story home with den and living room that are your most sought-after features? Finally, determine which features to keep on the list to help with future resale value, even if they aren’t on your initial needs or wants lists.
- Resale Potential. The things you aren’t thinking of. Where does potential resale value fit into your overall home buying plan? You might love a home with vintage French windows, but a house with dual-pane windows might add more value to the home when you try to sell it later. Maybe you don’t care about hardwood floors, or you aren’t thinking about ample built-in storage space, but your future buyers are, and you have the opportunity to invest now in added value later. When you review your ideal home checklist with your real estate agent ask for advice on how your needs and preferences align with a future resale.
Before you start your home search or dive too deep into online listings work with your real estate agent to hammer out your ideal home checklist. Once you know what you desire in a home start working with your agent to find the best area for you to live in, read on to part two of this article to create your ideal neighborhood checklist.