Key Highlights

  • Most people over 50 want to remain living in their current home and community as they age, according to AARP
  • Help make that happen by suggesting to clients they increase home accessibility by making home modifications
  • Tips to finance home modifications

Most people want to live in their homes and known communities throughout their lives, so says the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). To do this, your clients will likely need to make accessibility and safety modifications in their home that enable them to do so.

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Bankrate has put together a footprint of aging-in-place modifications that speak to ease and adaptability that covers additions and changes to home exteriors and interior. Most of these modifications align with “universal design,” a term that facilitates mobility, removes potential hazards and supports independent living. Take a look:

Exterior and Interior Home Modifications

  • Automatic push-button doors
  • Doorway ramps
  • Well-lit and widened doorways, hallways and stairways to accommodate wheel chairs, canes and walkers
  • Porch and/or stair lifts
  • First-level master suites
  • Accessible light switches and outlets
  • Removal of possible trip hazards such as carpeting/molding
  • Furniture rearrangements for better/safer mobility/movement
  • Smoothing out flooring
  • Adding automatic exterior lighting
  • Adding handrails

Bath and Kitchen Modifications

  • Pull-out cabinet shelving
  • Lower countertops to accommodate wheelchair bound cooks
  • Touch-less faucets
  • Grab bars and railings
  • Shower bench
  • Roll and/or walk-in shower/tub
  • Handheld showerheads
  • Easy-grip knobs/pulls

Home modifications may not only increase the functionality of one’s home and one’s tenure in it, home modifications may also be fully or partly tax-deductible as a medical expense. The best thing to do is to check with a tax professional about deduction eligibility for home modifications.

Ways to Pay For Home Modifications, according to Bankrate:

  • Home Equity Line of Credit – good for homeowners with considerable home equity – home is essentially collateral for the loan – interest rates tend to be lower than personal loans
  • Home Equity Loan – lump sum that can be used for home modifications – interest rates tend to be low because home is used to secure the loan – interest on the loan up to $750,000 can be deductible
  • Personal Loan – if owner has good credit, loan from bank, credit union or online/peer-to-peer lender usually does not require a lien
  • Reverse Mortgage – if 62 or older and own the home, owner may be eligible for reverse mortgage that convers a portion of home equity to cash while allowing the owner to continue living in the home. Be careful here.
  • State Housing Finance Agency Loans – variety of loans for variety of purposes. – check with local HFA for specifics.

Thanks to Bankrate.

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