Today we have the pleasure of hosting guest writer Brittany Fisher. Brittany has written for us before and hosts financiallywell.info, a financial planning website with resources designed to help you make better financial decisions. Let’s see her perspective on purchasing a home as a disabled veteran below!
No matter how much time goes by, homeownership still remains the American dream, and that goes for everyone to include veterans who live with disabilities. The great thing is that finding a home is not always the major task it is made out to be. Here at Military Money Matters, we know how it is important to find the perfect accessible home, so we have some tips that you can use to find a place and make it your own.
Home Buying Process
Regardless of your situation, most home buying processes will go through the same steps, and proper preparation will be required. First, you will want to ensure that your finances are in order so you know exactly what you can afford. After that, you will want to take a look at your credit score and ensure that you are in a good place there as well. Typically, according to Rocket Mortgage, your score should be above 620 to go through standard lending options. A score over 700 will help a lot if you are looking to score a lower rate. It may also be a good idea to check out programs that help individuals with disabilities purchase a house or look at the VA loan.
If you have never owned a home before, then there are several things that you will need to know before you dive in. For instance, even with a good credit score, you will want to consider offering a down payment that will provide confidence for the lender and start you off on the right foot. Beyond that, you will also want to find a good real estate agent who can walk you through all the necessary steps. This professional will also describe all necessary paperwork from here until you own the home. Many veterans are eligible for the VA loan which may not require a down payment, but even so, putting 5% or 10% down shows that you are serious about the offer.
Once you have your price range in mind, you will want to start thinking about the location of your potential home. If you frequent a certain physical therapy center or you exercise at a park, you may want to live near there. If you want to live near a relative who helps you out, you may want to start looking near them.
It’s important to bear in mind that finding an accessible home can be a challenge. It requires patience, out-of-the-box thinking and flexibility. Try not to get discouraged if you have trouble finding a home that fits your budget or accessibility needs. If you have to table your house hunting plans for a little while, look instead for rentals that can meet your accessibility needs. And if you opt for a cheaper rental, you can put any savings toward growing your down payment or home modification funds.
Specifics for Your Lifestyle
Once you decide where you would like to live, you need to think about what particulars you will need in the house to make your life easier with a disability along with considering what additions/modifications you may have to make to the new home.
For instance, you may need a ramp in front of the house to get in and out. You could either look for homes with a ramp already built in or find a property where a ramp can be easily built. Inside you may need to take out stairs and replace them with ramps or even install an elevator or stair lift so you can easily get around.
Think about how every room can be improved with your disability in mind. In the bathrooms, you may want or need to install handrails near the toilet and tub. If gripping is an issue, you may also want to remove the knobs from the doors and install buttons so you can easily get from one place to another. If you need to install all of these items, you will need to account for them in your budget.
Once you have found the home of your dreams, it is time to move in, but that can sometimes be easier said than done depending on your disability. The best way to go is to hire professional movers who can pack up your entire home, transport it to the location, and then unpack it for you. Search online for “moving companies near me” and use Angi.com to find reputable and professional movers, first by reading through customer reviews and then contacting a handful you’ve selected to get quotes. The national average for the cost of a move is $970, so budget accordingly.
While you are packing, Nourishing Minimalism suggests getting rid of any unnecessary clutter so you are only bringing what you need. Make a detailed list so you know which box has what. As a general tip, it is usually better to pack lighter boxes than fewer heavier boxes because you could hurt yourself if you over-strain.
As you can see, the American dream can be achieved regardless of your life situation, so if you want to move, take the plunge! If you are ready to get started, begin checking your credit score, find out what you can afford, and connect with a licensed real estate agent. You’ll have your new home soon enough!
Military Money Matters conveys the financial options available to the modern Soldier, Marine, Sailor, and Airman! Reach out to us today!