Planning To Age In Place? Follow These Tips When House Hunting

Aging in place has become increasingly popular. Basically, this involves people staying in the same house as they retire and grow older, rather than moving into a smaller apartment or a retirement community at some point. Aging in place can be a wonderful way to live and saves you the hassle of having to move again and again. However, you do need to shop carefully when looking for a house that is conducive to this type of plan. Follow these tips.

1. Look for a one-story home.

You might be able to go up and down stairs right now, but who knows how agile you'll be in 10 or 20 years. Buy a home with one story so you know you'll be able to use all of the space for the entirety of your stay. Yes, ranch-style homes are more expensive to roof and side because they have more surface area, but that's the price you pay to age in place.

2. Make sure the doorways are wide.

Widening doorways is a big undertaking that will cost you a lot of money. In case you end up in a wheelchair -- even on a short-term basis while recovering from an injury -- you will want to make sure the doorways are wide enough to allow a wheelchair through. Wheelchairs are typically 32 inches wide, and a doorway should be 32 inches wide to allow a wheelchair through comfortably. Make sure the hallways are also wide enough to easily navigate with a wheelchair.

3. Look for a spacious bathroom.

You don't need there to be grab bars in the bathroom quite yet. They're pretty easy to install in the future when you need them. What you do need is a bathroom that is large enough to accommodate accessibility options like grab bars and a commode seat when you do need these things. Make sure there are a few feet of space on all sides of the toilet, sink, and shower.

4. Make sure the entryway is accessible.

If you can only enter the home after traveling up a set of stairs onto a porch, this is not necessarily a deal-breaker -- as long as there is space to add a wheelchair ramp later on. If the entryway is really cluttered and there won't be space for a ramp, this is not the home for you.

To learn more about the best features for a home where you can age in place, speak with your residential real estate agent.