Accessible Apartment Hunting Tips

Anyone who has been through the process of moving knows that moving to a new home is a lot of work. Unfortunately there's just no getting around the work required for cleaning, packing, and hauling your items. Couple that with trying to find a place that suits your needs, makes you happy, and is (most importantly) within budget, and the whole process is downright daunting!

Luckily, the digital age has made it a bit easier to do a lot of the research without needing to leave the comfort of your own living room. Websites have not only made it easier to find available homes in your area, but available accessible homes (we'd like to thank our influencers for helping to spread the need for such features).

Before your embark on your next move, check out these five tips to help you get started:

1. Start with Your Wishlist

A man using a power wheelchair taking in the view

Wishlists are just that: a list of ideal features you would want in your dream place that may or may not come to fruition. A wishlist is important because once you're out and about scouting different places, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and miss a few crucial necessities you need to really make a place worthwhile.

In addition to items such as number of bedrooms, outdoor space, or even having a washer/dryer in the unit, also consider adding some of the following:

  • Access to the home – What floor is it on? Are there ramps? What are the curb heights?
  • Accessible parking spaces for yourself or caregivers
  • Outdoor lighting – Are the pathways and parking lots well lit?
  • Doorway widths for both interior and exterior doors
  • Lowered countertops
  • Roll-in shower

2. Be Search Smart

While some may leverage Craigslist for their apartment search, there are several websites with accessible search features. Apartments.com, ForRent.com, and ApartmentGuide.com all feature filters for handicap or disability access, which can streamline your searches and save you time. You may also consider reaching out to local organizations who have knowledge of the area and can reach out to a broader network to help you find the home of your dreams.

3. Take a Friend

A man using a power wheelchair hanging out with his friends

It's always helpful to get a second opinion, particularly when touring a new space. Take a friend with you on your search to help point out considerations you may not have thought of. They'll catch things you may miss on the tour and help you think through potential obstacles that could pose problems in the future. You could even ask that friend to take pictures in and around the property so you have something to reference later. This is particularly helpful after a full day of apartment hunting!

4. Spend Time Exploring the Community

A woman using a wheelchair grocery shopping

The apartment complex itself may be well equipped, but that about the surrounding community? What kinds of restaurants or grocery stores are nearby? Are the sidewalks wide enough to easily maneuver? Is it safe? These may be some of your considerations when scouting a new location to live. Think about your lifestyle and what types of activities are important to you. If your community isn't easy to navigate, it could make your life unnecessarily difficult.

5. Consider Your Timing

Many landlords are eager to keep spaces full, so they may pressure to you commit to a timeline that you aren't comfortable with. Take into consideration your own schedule, and whether, for example, you'd need to take time off from work or require professional help. Also take into account the weather and its unpredictability; storms will make an already challenging task that much more challenging!

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Date: 1/21/2020 12:00:00 AM


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