Homebuying Tips for Persons with Disabilities

Photo by Patrick De Boeck from Pexels

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced last October a $112 million funding to expand the supply of permanent affordable housing for low-income persons with disabilities (PWDs). PWDs need to have a safe home that suits their needs. As a PWD, you may find it a challenge to buy your first home. Homebuying is often an overwhelming process for first-timers, but here are some helpful tips to guide you through a smooth homebuying journey if you’re ready to enter the real estate market.

Determine your needs

Depending on your current health condition and lifestyle, you need to find a home that’s near your workplace and accessible to medical services. The design and interior layout of the home should be comfortable enough for you to move around. For example, you may want a home where you can easily access the kitchen, bathroom, and other parts of the home with great convenience. You may ask yourself these questions to help you figure out your home accommodation needs.

Know your rights as a homebuyer

The Fair Housing Act protects persons with disabilities from discrimination in the sale or rental of housing and other prohibited practices. You have the right to make appropriate modifications like grab bar installations to better suit your needs. If you think that because of your disabilities you’re being refused to negotiate for housing, meaning a lender is attempting to refuse you a mortgage loan, or any similar discriminatory practices, there are several ways for you to file a complaint.

Take advantage of HUDs Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities

At least $75 million of the $112 million funding will expand HUD’s Section 811 Capital Advances program. This benefits more PWDs who are financially challenged. The Capital Advance can finance home construction, rehabilitation, or acquisition, with or without rehabilitation, of supportive housing. If the housing remains available for very low-income PWDs for at least 40 years, the advance doesn’t have to be repaid. Section 811 also provides rental assistance for those who are not yet prepared to buy a home. To be eligible for the program, residents must be within 30 percent of the median income for the area with at least one adult member with a disability.

Seek professional help when buying a home

First-timers often find homebuying a stressful and overwhelming process. Many mortgage terminologies like Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP), Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM), and Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio could be confusing for most first-time homebuyers. If you think the homebuying process will likely aggravate your health condition, you may want to get help from a HUD-approved housing counselor in your area. Housing counselors can give you sound advice about specific mortgage options that best fit your needs as a homebuyer, and they can also help you understand complicated mortgage jargons. Housing counseling services are usually free but if there is a cost it is very minimal.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “the funding we offer today will support existing developments and, for the first time in nearly a decade, help to produce new affordable housing at a time we need it the most.”

As a person with a disability, buying a home can be a stressful process that could aggravate your health. If you’re prepared to enter the housing market, the tips mentioned above can help you in your homebuying journey. A professional loan advisor, on the other hand, can give you specific and up-to-date information if you’re ready to take a mortgage.