Sellers and Renters - What's Your Home's Accessibility Score?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Madeline Island Realty 50317-90




I often get a phone call or an email from one of my Madeline Island clients, asking me what they can do to make their rental property more appealing.  And once in awhile, a prospective seller will ask what they can do to make their home sell faster or at a higher price.

Lately, I tell people, "why not consider doing something to make your home more accessible to disabled people?"

Seniors and the disabled are a growing and underserved segment of the home-buying public.  "Baby Boomers" have already begun to dominate the housing market as they approach retirement and they will have an impact on housing for the next thirty years or more.  Simply consider the growing number of people who have undergone hip replacement, knee replacement, disk fusion and other surgical procedures.  Add to that the number of people who suffer from arthritis or other disorders which limit mobility.  You get the picture, right?

On Madeline Island, we have a very small stock of accessible homes for rent or for purchase.  I have seen remarkably few Island homes which have accessibility features such as grab bars, extra wide doorways and hallways, or lowered counters and sinks.  And I see very few Island homeowners who have considered remodeling with accessibility in mind.

When you add accessibility features, you broaden the "audience" for your home.  Reaching out to more buyers means more market exposure and a greater likelihood that you'll get the price you want.

Let me add that building or remodeling with accessibility in mind isn't "political correctness".  It's not exclusive to urban area homes.  And it's not exclusive to retirement communities or to Sunbelt states like Florida.

You might want to start by calculating your home's "Accessibility Score".  In other words, take stock of how many accessibility features are present in your home.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association has its own "Accessibility Features Report", which provides a starting point for tallying your home's accessibility potential.  This form can be a valuable tool if you are trying to methodically (and affordably) add accessibility features to your home.




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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


A very timely article. This is an area that is not being adequately addressed, both in terms of retrofitting homes but also in providing new homes.  THere is a great need for more education, and certainly more pressure from communities on builders to see the light. I think for more folks it is not even on the radar screen until they, themselves, reach a point where it is an issue due to health and other reasons.


Aug 02, 2011 02:42 PM #1
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -


Agreed..most people will do this only when faced with the reality that they need these features themselves.  But sellers are walking away from an opportunity to broaden their home's appeal when they put it on the market.  And not many builders or remodelers are doing much to encourage them to improve accessibility.

Aug 22, 2011 01:46 AM #2
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Eric Kodner

CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
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