POST WRITTEN BY
Expert Panel, Forbes Real Estate Council
Successful executives in the real estate industry from Forbes Real Estate Council share firsthand tips & insight.
While many developers focus on the overall look or features of their project, the functionality for people with disabilities can get overlooked. There are many simple solutions that should be taken into consideration in order to make sure people, and their families, have easy access to the property, ranging from wider walking spaces and properly graded slopes to systems meant to help people with hearing limitations or balance issues.
So what should you keep in mind when planning? Below, members from Forbes Real Estate Council share their ideas on how developers can better consider those with disabilities when designing properties. Here’s what they advise:
Members share a few approaches developers can use to make properties more accessible. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.
1. Keep It Open, Level And Simple
Make the doorways and hallways oversized or open to allow passage via an electronic apparatus. Keep floors level—don’t add “step up” or “step down” features. Add a main-level bedroom and full bath option. Install tile or wood flooring for ease of passage without thresholds, and extend the garage to accommodate egress via a ramp in lieu of stairs. There are lots of options! – Cheryl Abrams, Re/Max United Real EstateForbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?
2. Think About More Than Mobility
Awareness of all impairments is the jump off. Most often “disability” conjures images of walkers, wheels and canes, but through internet of things, developers can install smart lighting for the hearing impaired, include sound buffering or canceling in media rooms, offer voice prompts for the visually impaired and voice-activated light switches and faucets for those affected by arthritis. Awareness sparks answers. – Kristin Geenty, The Geenty Group, Realtors
3. Focus On The Little Things
Putting in a ramp or adding a lift by the pool are very inexpensive and can help sell your development faster and for more money. With a huge amount of aging baby boomers, you want to be competitive and appeal to all demographics. Even if the percentage of people that are in wheelchairs are small, they all have family and friends who want them to be at their home on special occasions and holidays. – Chris Ryan, BEYOND Properties Group / eXp Realty
4. Put Yourself In Someone Else’s Shoes
Developers should put themselves in the shoes of those living with disabilities. Putting in railings and single-level faucets can help make a property more accessible for those who need it. – Joshua Lybolt, Lifstyl Real Estate
5. Less Is More
Try and minimize stairs when possible by installing as many ramps as you can. Instead of having a lot of cabinets in the kitchen, less is more. Think about ways to minimize cabinetry to make rooms easier to access. Lots of space is key. – Engelo Rumora, List’n Sell Realty
6. Utilize Technology
Integrating the latest smart home technology seems to be one of the best ways to make life easier for everyone. From having groceries automatically delivered, to being able to control the thermostats and doors with your phone or tablet, to being able to call for help in an emergency or situation where someone has fallen and can’t get up are all great benefits of new smart home tech that appeal to many. – Kent Clothier, Real Estate Worldwide