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Making a Bathroom Accessible with Long Term Value in Mind

by FOKaL on March 16, 2013

Making a Bathroom Accessible with Long Term Value in Mind

Accessible homes are the future. Whether you’re a homeowner who is currently in need of a few home modifications or a real estate agent looking to appeal to buyers who need or will need such modifications, a few smart accessibility investments can return a huge payoff. A few small changes now can virtually future-proof your home both in terms of accessibility and sale price.

The bathroom is a great place to begin. This is one of the first areas that an accessibility-minded buyer will look. This applies to people with disabilities, people young children, and aging buyers or buyers who plan to grow old in their homes. Standard bathrooms are often so lacking in the accessibility department that any amount of improvement is worth the effort.

Choosing Permanent Additions for Versatile Applications

If selling the home is a concern, you want to make sure that your permanent improvements are equally accessible for anyone – for example, a raised toilet would be great for people with knee or hip stiffness but wouldn’t work as well for a family with small children. A wheelchair-accessible sink, on the other hand, provides inclusive accessibility to anyone of any stature or level of mobility.

Other small changes like level handles for cabinets, easy-to-reach knobs for the
bathroom sink, mid-height cabinetry (to keep soaps away from children but within reach of adults), and durable non-slip flooring are all fantastic additions that will have staying power if and when the time comes to sell.

We really love walk in tubs. You can go for an enclosed shower setup or stay low-budget with a low threshold conversion kit. Full-sized walk in bath tubs are quite affordable as well and do offer the touch of luxury that many mobility minded buyers are seeking. Low profile grab bars with an attractive nonslip finish will provide another layer of safety while keeping up aesthetic appeal.

Filling the Gaps with Temporary and Portable Technologies

Anything that you do not want to go through the expensive process of uninstalling later is a good candidate for temporary/portable technologies. The raised toilet mentioned earlier is the type of technology that qualifies for a temporary solution – you could add a seat riser or commode frame without worrying about the needs of future buyers or renters.

Shower chairs and bath lifts are other temporary solutions that you can remove before showing the home. Slip-on door handle grips are a workable part-time solution for doorknobs so that you can retain the traditional knobs that match your current decor. Portable emergency call buttons are a great alternative to built-in intercom systems.

Get creative. Consult family members who have disabilities, or real estate agents who specialize in accessible housing. You can find outstanding ideas just about anywhere you go. Demand for accessible housing is high, and bathrooms are notoriously hard to navigate. Taking some time to research universal design ideals can transform your bathroom from a standard feature into a major selling point. Thoughtful accessibility is an investment that will pay for itself in increased safety and widespread appeal.

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