Tips for Finding and Modifying an Accessible Home


Nearly 60 million people in the U.S., 19 percent of the population, have some type of disability with nearly 10 million of these individuals having difficulty with at least one activity of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and moving from room to room extremely difficult; according to census information.

There are websites that advertise disabled-accessible apartments and vacation properties, but few that provide information about existing houses for sale that are suitable for individuals with disabilities. Consequently, people with disabilities often find it difficult to locate properties that suit their living requirements and must look instead for houses that can be modified to meet their needs.


Real estate agents are an excellent source of information about local properties. Many realtors have taken it upon themselves to train their agents on the specific needs of individuals who are mobility challenged, and they have a body of knowledge that can help home buyers find homes with specific features. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas prides themselves in having agents that understand and cater to whatever their clients’ needs may be when finding their perfect home.


Realty listings can help you identify properties that have dimensions and features that can be adapted to suit your requirements. Barrier Free Home is a website listing accessible homes nationwide. Home listings include price, number of rooms, square footage and whether they have mobility-assistive features such as an access ramp, roll-in shower, elevator or chair lift. A robust search function includes a wide range of criteria allowing visitors to search by county, bedrooms, bathrooms and whether it’s VA approved or ADA compliant.

Once you do find a suitable home, bear in mind that the federal government has established several laws and administrations for the sole purpose of protecting your rights as a home buyer, no matter the nature of your disability.

[tribus-cta page=”8890″ text=”View Our Current Listings” icon=”home” icon_position=”left”]


Whether you choose to modify a home or you were just unable to find an accessible home, there are some things to consider.

First, make a list of all the modifications you need and separate them into “must-haves” and “wants”. Then consider the cost of modifications. Depending on what you do the cost can be in the 10s of thousands of dollars. For example, the average cost to remodel a bathroom in Dallas can be as much as $15,777. And that’s just the bathroom!


If you or a family member uses a wheelchair, an access ramp or flat threshold will be necessary for easy access.

  • A ramp should be textured or allow moisture to drain off or pass through to prevent accumulation.
  • Consider adding an exterior motion-activated light to enhance access and prevent accidents.
  • The driveway should be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair-accessible vehicle and have no cracks or uneven surfaces.

Hallways and Doorways

Many homes on the market were constructed prior to the Americans With Disabilities Act and lack the space necessary for easy and unimpeded access.

  • It may be necessary to widen hallways and doorways, which should be from 32 to 36 inches wide with enough room for someone in a wheelchair or using another mobility assistance device to turn around without difficulty.
  • Replace round door knobs with door handles, which are easier to grasp and manipulate for many disabled individuals.


Bathroom modifications are important because of the number of injuries that occur there every year.

  • Grab rails should be installed (over wall studs) in the shower or tub and along the toilet seat.
  • The toilet bowl needs to be from 17 to 19 inches high so that a wheelchair-bound person can maneuver on and off without risking a fall.
  • A roll-in shower is usually the best, most convenient option for bathing, though shower seats are often a viable alternative and non-slip mats or pads should always be placed on the surface to prevent falls.


Kitchen accessibility can be especially difficult for disabled individuals.

  • Countertops, which are generally 36 inches high, sit too high to be used for food preparation and should be lowered to 34 inches with leg space underneath.
  • Appliances (particularly stoves) should have controls on the front rather than the top for easy access.

If you’re having trouble finding an accessible home on the market, take heart. There are many properties that can be readily adapted to optimize mobility and ease of use. Our team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas is here to help. Our incredible agents are dedicated and will do everything in their power to find you the perfect home for whatever your needs may be.

Article provided by Medina at

Photo courtesy of

[tribus-cta page=”8890″ text=”View Our Current Listings” icon=”home” icon_position=”left”]  [tribus-cta text=”Contact Us Today” icon_position=”left” action=”trigent_cta_contact_form_action”]  [tribus-cta page=”6763″ text=”View More Blogs” icon=”heart” icon_position=”left”]