Wouldn’t it be easier to move? 🙂
When it comes to the most sought-after aging-in-place projects, bathrooms dominate the top spot.
In a recent NAHB survey of remodelers, more than eight out of 10 reported that installing grab bars (89%), higher toilets (85%) and curbless showers (82%) were the most common aging-in-place projects.
Widening doorways, the next most-common project on the list, came in at a distance 59%.
Even though the underlying motivation seems similar in both cases, walk-in bathtubs have not become nearly as common as curbless showers. Only 12% of remodelers reported installing walk-in tubs.
When NAHB began asking aging-in-place remodeling questions in 2004, curbless showers were about as common as wider doorways. But over the years, the share of NAHB remodelers installing curbless showers has grown from 54% to 82%.
NAHB senior economist Paul Emrath provides more details in this Eye on Housing blog post.
Since I just finished a major remodel for my folks, a couple things came up that maybe wouldn’t be obvious for age in place.
If I was starting over, I’d probably look for houses where an elevator could be installed. In the end, I think that would be a cheaper easier remodel and would’ve provided more space. If you have a lot of ranch style houses in your area, that could be a better starting point though.
In my area (Portland OR), very few houses are good for single floor living – having adequate bed, bath, kitchen, living room on the main floor. I ended up converting a duplex. The main floor has to be pretty close to ground level. Many otherwise ok houses – like split levels – have too many stairs. Something I didn’t figure on: Older houses often have older style (pocket/morice) doorknobs. If you want to replace these with levers for easier grip, good luck. Modifying old doors to handle new hardware is not practical. Less expensive to replace all the doors entirely.
Parking is important too. Ideally you will have a side entrance by the driveway. Another thing people often forget about: Main floor storage – like a pantry at least. Going up and down stairs to get to supplies, tools can be hard. Same applies to laundry. So look for an extra room where laundry & storage can go. All this ain’t easy to find and it’s expensive to add if it’s not already there.
JtR and this Dawg live in houses that are so similar in layout and design that we suspect a common design plan basis despite being 100 miles apart. Single level floor plan. Large roof overhangs. Monster valley views to the rear. The Dawghaus has a required 6 inch threshold at the front door and kitchen to garage but other than those mandatory offsets a 1/4th inch at most. Even the closets are not narrow. Aging in place is the new move up purchase. My sister in La Jolla is 5 levels but she has an elevator. Different choices but the same long term perspective.
Frankly I am surprised that ADA slash elderly friendly properties are not commanding higher prices.
Aging in place is the new move up purchase.
There it is right there.
Another contributing factor is that all the good (and nearby) senior facilities are booked up for months or years. It forces boomers to make other choices, and you can just hear old boogers around the country bellowing, “Well I didn’t want to move anyway!”
Those who must move will only consider a one-story. As the McMansions grow more dated and empty out, I expect the price gap between 1 and 2-story homes to increase significantly.