In the 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark, Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman unwittingly caught up in an international drug smuggling plot and forced to fight off Alan Arkin, who plays a deadly intruder in her apartment. In a situation that may seem hopeless, Hepburn’s character levels the playing field by breaking (almost) every light bulb in the flat, plunging Arkin’s character into the same darkness she lives with every day.
So maybe it’s just a scary movie, but for some reason I often think about it when reflecting upon accessible housing. Maybe it’s because today we can all be glad that people don’t have to go to such lengths to create spaces that can be used with equal ease, regardless of ability. In fact, an accessible home can mean a better life for all occupants.
One of the best new guides I have run across to achieve this goal is The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages & Abilities, by Deborah Pierce. The structure of this handbook is smart. Pierce leads off with the necessary definitions and then introduces readers to the accessible home from one activity to the next (living and dining, dressing and sleeping, etc.). She then leads readers on tours of 25 real accessible homes, dealing firsthand with the practical solutions needed by very different individuals and families.
To some real estate professionals, accessible housing remains a niche. But for the forward-thinking pros in the know, this is the future of housing. As Pierce notes, healthy active adults have a one-in-four chance of becoming disabled for at least three months at some point in their lives. And while aging in place is becoming a priority for older home buyers, younger home owners still want to accommodate family and friends visiting their homes, regardless of mobility issues. Continue reading »
By Agnes Masnik, Freelance Writer for REALTOR® Magazine
More than 10,000 Baby Boomers a day are turning 65 starting this year, according to the Pew Research Center. And home owners are responding to changes in the economy by exploring the option of turning a single-family house into two homes.
Commonly known as accessory dwelling units (ADUs), these dual housing arrangements were quite common up until the end of World War II and the boom of suburbanization. ADUs are now making a comeback. The “New Urbanism” planning trend includes ADUs in a wide range of affordable housing choices, particularly for the elderly, disabled, empty-nesters and young workers.
Michael Litchfield, author of In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats: Your Guide to Turning One House into Two Homes (Taunton Press, 2011) helps answers the question if an ADU is right for your clients.
From the book: 3 Key Points for REALTORS®
1. Get to know the various types of Accessory Dwelling Units.
2. Understand common zoning standards for ADUs to better advise your clients.
3. Gain an understanding of the family dynamic surrounding a life change and how to best meet clients’ housing needs.
Litchfield walks the reader through the decision-making process from the details of popular designs to tips on how to choose appliances and materials for energy and space saving products, as well as navigating plans and permits. He chronicles 30 in-law units and personal stories in the U.S. and Canada. Litchfield offers a richly-illustrated and informative guide to transforming a single-family house into a property with independent living spaces.
From the book: 7 Take-Aways For Home Owners
1. An ADU allows for family to live close by. Continue reading »