Selling a house site-unseen is always a little harrowing for me. I have done it a few times, usually with positive results, but no matter how much you try to describe a place, it’s a bit of a worry. This last deal was my first opportunity to work with wheel-chair users, and I will say, it was quite a fun and different challenge. Though neither of my clients could enter the homes to tour them, advances in technology really assisted in our endeavor.
On one tour, my buyer sat in the car as her daughter and I toured each home, calling her on the phone from within while she looked at the photos online. We were able to answer specific questions she had about mobility and the features of the house specifically. It probably took a good deal of faith on her part, but it really got the job done. Just driving up to some homes, quickly marked them off the list.
Other times, we toured without my buyer in-tow, but took video, photos, measurements and got a general sense of the place, and related it back to her later. All the virtual tours, still photos, aerial photos and bird’s eye maps available online helped quite a lot. That, combined with the opinion of their daughters, sealed the deal.
There were some other interesting decisions and challenges along the way that I hadn’t given much thought to before:
1. Where would ramps go? Could they work with existing egress windows and yard lay-outs, even porch columns?
2. Were hallways, kitchens, bathrooms and doorways wide enough for wheel-chair maneuvering?
3. Could existing shower stalls be easily accessed or would they need remodel?
4. What was the flooring and were there transitions that would impede wheels?
5. Was the back yard accessible and usable to the buyers?
6. On what floor and how accessible was the laundry facility?
7. How much remodeling would need to be done to accomplish these things?
8. What percentage of square footage would be accessible to buyers vs that which was left to live-in help?
I’m sure there were a ton more smaller items to consider, but these were the main issues for us. My clients had a daughter planning to live with and assist them, so I’m sure someone in a different situation would have a great deal more to consider. However, it was a very interesting and informative challenge to accomplish. The advent of the ADA has armed our industry with a number of helpful search parameters that work to weed out those homes not viable for non-ambulatory people, but in the end it takes teamwork to find the ideal house and make it a home.
Congrats to the Senn family on their amazing ranch home purchase, with just a few modifications it will make a lovely home (and garden) in which their family can enjoy themselves! Congrats!! Alyssa