Real Estate

Open Up Your Open House! 5 Tips For Ensuring Everyone Has Access

Homebuyers have different needs, and an open house offers an opportunity to meet them, according to Amanda Deering. You can bring inclusiveness to your open house to open the doors to individuals with disabilities.

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Homebuyers have different needs. For some, it might be a large backyard or a home office. Others’ requirements in a home may be dictated by their own physical needs or those of their family members.

You can bring inclusiveness to your open house in order to open the doors to individuals with disabilities. Here are five tips to get you started:

Understand accessibility

Each prospective homebuyer has their must-have list. For some buyers, this list includes certain features that allow all aspects of a home to be fully accessible to the individual.

For example, an individual who uses a wheelchair may request hardwood floors, lower light switches and widened door frames and hallways. Is there unnecessary shadow formation from bad lighting that would confuse a person with visual impairment?

You will want to become aware of how some elements of a property may not be accessible to all, so you can make accommodations where possible. 

Ask yourself questions

Go through the space of the property and identify how you can make each part of the open house more accessible. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Is there ample room for parking nearby?
  • Is there public transportation for individuals who are unable to drive?
  • Is the lighting in the home bright enough for a person with a visual disability?
  • When you enter the property are there stairs that would prevent access for all?
  • Would the flooring, pathways or door width impede the use of a wheelchair?
  • If I or my child need some time alone in a room, is there a safe space we can go to during the event?
  • Is the open house experience accessible to those with visual impairments or hearing impairments?

Create an inclusive space

Before opening up the doors to the public, be sure to remove barriers to accessibility where possible. It may be a lot easier to provide temporary modifications or accommodations than you might think.

A temporary ramp can be used if there are stairs. A recorded audio description of each room can be used to support individuals with visual disabilities on a busy day.

Avoid using strong scents or loud music that could prevent an individual with sensory differences from enjoying the home search experience. 

Ask for feedback

There is always room for improvement. You may learn of a new technology that makes conducting tours virtually super simple, or of a local community resource that loans out ramps for community events. Reach out to other agents and ask what tools they use to increase accessibility to individuals with disabilities.

Provide a comment box and be sure to let visitors know you really want their input and feedback.

Be an advocate

It is important to understand the laws and regulations that protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the homebuying process. Over 60 percent of complaints received by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are disability discrimination complaints. The disability community needs your support to ensure all individuals are able to become homeowners.

Amanda Deering advises at DirectOffer, the real estate technology startup that strives to make homeownership more accessible. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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