Interview with a Realtor
Reduced mobility can impact people’s daily lives in many ways. One of the biggest worries people might face as their mobility wanes is about where to live, as what was once an ideal home may eventually become difficult to move around in, reducing family members’ independence. The decision between staying at home or moving somewhere new is never an easy one, but many seniors reach a point where decisions simply have to be made. Moving to a more accessible home may, on the surface, be an obvious solution. However, after years, maybe even decades, in their homes, many people are reluctant to leave, not just because they hold special memories but because they are in a familiar neighbourhood, perhaps near family, friends and a strong support network. But to stay put safely and comfortably, they may have to consider adapting their home to meet their new needs and provide a safe environment for them to get around in.
Seniors who do decide to stay may worry about how making home modifications might affect the value of their home. What if their property – most likely their most significant asset – decreases in value after they make necessary adaptations to maintain their independence? Would they be better off just selling up and relocating despite the stress of such a move?
To find out more, we spoke to realtor Jeffrey Kerr, who works with RE/MAX Unique Inc. in Toronto, to get his perspective on whether or not home modifications affect real estate value.
Jeffrey Kerr: assisting clients in the accessible home market
Modify or move?
Many of Jeffrey’s clients often wonder if they should move house or modify their homes. He encourages those who love their home to stay and consider the possibility of modifying it. However, he also points out that some houses just aren’t suitable for aging in place, so the first step is to consult a professional contractor with in-depth knowledge of accessible modifications.
Types of home modifications to consider
Of course, the whole purpose of modifying a home is so that the current homeowners’ needs are met, but according to Jeffrey, numerous universal changes can lead to an increase in a home’s resale value. Two of the biggest ticket items that can attract potential buyers are a well-thought-out bathroom design and a home elevator. “Everyone can appreciate and benefit from a new universally designed bathroom,” he adds, explaining how a stylish, accessible bathroom layout can certainly add value to a home. He also points out that going up and down stairs can be a challenge for many, meaning the addition of a home elevator can improve accessibility for many years to come, particularly for seniors who decide to age in place.
A growing market for modified homes
With an aging population here in Canada and more and more adults opting to age in place, there is a growing market for move-in-ready accessible homes. This makes investing in accessible modifications, such as a home elevator or accessible bathroom, a win-win situation. Not only will the home become a safe and comfortable place for those with reduced mobility, but it will also add to the value of the real estate if and when they decide to sell up.