Buying a home for someone who's disabled can present some significant challenges. Not only does the disabled individual have to go and look at houses, but they may require separate financing options -- and they will need to be very conscientious about the properties that they consider. If you're helping someone disabled buy a home (or if you're disabled and buying a home yourself), here are a few tips you should consider.
1. Getting Financing for a Disabled Home Buyer
Not all buyers can purchase a home in cash -- in fact, very few can. Buyers on disability generally have a significant drawback: they don't have conventional income. Instead, a buyer on disability might have a lump sum settlement or they may have regular income from disability insurance. But that doesn't mean they can't buy a home; it just means they need to go through a specialty loan package. The government wants disabled individuals to purchase homes and achieve financial stability. There are programs that are designed to take into account SSDI and other disability payments (such as structured settlements) in order to finance a home. Borrowers who don't have any regular income at all may need to pursue alternate avenues, but there are services available.
2. Learn About Your Legal Rights
Disabled individuals have the right not to be discriminated against, especially when it comes to their disability. Unfortunately, disabled individuals can potentially run into discrimination throughout the home buying process; real estate agents may hesitate to work with them because of the relative complexity of the process, and sellers may not want to meet with them because they are wary about the type of financing they will use. These actions are not legal under the Fair Housing Act. Disabled individuals may want to procure legal recourse if they believe that they have been unfairly discriminated against during the process of purchasing a home.
3. Identify Any Disability-Friendly Modifications Needed
In a perfect world, you would be able to find a home that had already been modified for a disabled individual. But for the most part, you will usually need to make modifications after the fact. This may include rails, ramps and special bathroom facilities. If the individual residing in the home was injured due to the actions of another and has won or is pursuing a settlement or compensation, they may be able to incorporate the cost of these modifications into the cost of their injuries. This is one of the reasons it is important to pursue compensation in these situations.
4. Look for Disability-Related Services
Location matters more when purchasing a home for someone disabled. And it isn't just about purchasing in a location that has high property values. It's very important to look for a property that's located next to disability-related services. This includes physicians, urgent care clinics, handicapped transportation, and even grocery stores. For those who are in a wheelchair or able to travel in a motorized scooter, it can be important to make sure that the location and neighborhood is highly walkable.
A walkable neighborhood is a neighborhood in which all of the amenities are very close by, allowing even disabled adults to live independently and take care of many of their needs. Being close to medical and emergency services can be absolutely critical during a medical event.
Though buying a home for someone disabled can be more complex than purchasing a home otherwise, it doesn't have to be a daunting task. You may want to find a real estate agent that specializes in real estate for those who are disabled, as they will be able to find properties that are most ideal for you.