Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Secrets to Creating an Age Friendly Home



When people buy a home they intend to live in for the rest of their lives, they don't always consider if that home will suit them as they age. In fact, many people plan remodeling projects that won't help them at all when they get older, such as putting in a hot tub. Maybe that's something they can finally afford and have always wanted, but they don't take into consideration how useful - or not - something like that will be as they age. Here are a few things you should think about in creating an age friendly home. Keep in mind that everyone ages differently, and you may not know exactly what types of accommodations you'll need, but by planning ahead, you'll have some idea of what you may need.
The ideal home for seniors should include a no-step layout, including no steps up to at least one entrance of your house. If you have steps at every door of your home, be aware that you may need to add a ramp at some point in the future. This holds true even if you or your spouse isn't in a wheelchair; the fact is that negotiating steps becomes difficult for nearly everyone as they age. Doorways, both within the house as well as entrance doors, should be at least 32 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair or walker, and doors should have lever handles instead of knobs for arthritic hands.
Your home should ideally have a full-sized bath and master bedroom on the first floor, as stairs may become difficult to navigate. Bathrooms should include toilets and counter tops that are at a comfortable height for seniors. Showers are ideal for seniors, since most falls occur getting in and out of the tub. You can get shower chairs with wide seats. If you already have a tub and choose not to remodel, add several grab bars and a bath bench to put across the tub so you don't have to stand up to reach necessary items. You should also add a grip mat in the bottom of the tub and a hand-held showerhead so you can avoid standing as much as possible. If you have room for it, you might also want to consider placing a sturdy chair near the tub to aid in mobility and dressing.
Bedrooms, particularly the first floor master bedroom, should have large closets with accessible storage and a bed that is low enough for seniors to easily climb into. Since older people need three times as much light as younger people do, you'll also want adequate lighting, not just in the bedroom, but also throughout the entire house. A good reading light will help, and you may want to consider a nightlight to make middle of the night trips to the bathroom safer. If the bedroom is connected to the bathroom, a sturdy chair near the bathroom door will be good if you need a little help getting to the bathroom.
Adequate lighting is particularly important in the kitchen because there are so many ways to get hurt in that room. You can add under-cabinet and can lights if you don't have enough florescent lighting. You'll also want to make sure cabinets are easily accessible, and add roll out shelves and more shallow shelves if necessary. Stoves should have large dials for easy viewing, and ovens should have pull out racks. Other senior kitchen necessities include a stool for resting, a lever style faucet on the sink, a garbage disposal and trash compactor, and a u-shaped galley kitchen layout so food does not have to be carried.
Other changes that will help you age in your home:
  • Low pile carpet for easy mobility
  • Low shine floors that minimize glare
  • Pressure mats instead of motion detectors that interfere with hearing aids
  • Buzzers instead of high frequency alarms and doorbells
  • Adequate heating system so space heaters aren't needed
  • Touch lamps instead of ones with knobs
  • Out of the way extension cords
  • No throw rugs
  • Furniture with firm, high seats
  • Chairs with arms and without coasters so they don't slide
  • Light colored floors and bright walls, with a contrast between the two
Outside of the home, patios are better for seniors than are decks, because decks require more maintenance and tend to be slick when wet. There may come a time where maintaining an elaborately landscaped yard is too much for you. As you get older, you may want to consider either simplifying your yard so you have less to do in it, or hiring someone to take over yard care duties. Following these tips can make aging in your home much easier.


Joseph Talbot, ABR®, ASA, SRES®, AGA, SRS®
Broker
Peak Lifestyle Realty Ltd., Brokerage
705-733-5821

Check out more atjosephtalbot.ca
This article was provided by www.worldreferrals.com

Buyer’s Title Insurance: Do You Need It?




When you purchase a home, the title of it must be researched to make sure the seller has the right to sell the house; that no one else has a claim on the house, for example. The title examiner will look closely at all available public records of the house, including past deeds, wills, and trusts to make sure the house is free and clear to be sold. If the title is clear, you can buy the house. If not, any legal problems need to be cleared up.
Title insurance protects you and your mortgage lender in the event that a problem occurs with the title at any point during your ownership. It can be a problem that just didn’t show up in the title examination, something the examiner missed, or because of an error in the public records. Let’s say a long lost heir claims a right to the house after you’ve bought it. Title insurance will cover the cost of untangling this legal problem.
There are two types of title insurance. A lender policy, usually issued for the amount of the mortgage, covers the mortgage lender. If you have to go to court with the long lost heir, the policy will cover the costs of that. If the long lost heir is indeed the legal owner of the house, instead of you, the policy will pay the mortgage back to the lender.
An owner policy covers the price of the house and pays the owner of the property for loss due to a problem with the title. If you have an owner policy and the long lost heir wins the court case, your owner policy will reimburse you for the loss of the property.
Title insurance does not cover any defects found in the property after closing, and some policies do not cover problems related to easements, mineral rights, and liens. Unless your state specifies differently, buyers must pay for title insurance, although that can be negotiated with the seller. The price is a one-time fee, usually part of the closing costs.
Most lenders require you to purchase a lender policy, but not all require an owner policy. Of course, if you’re paying cash for a property, you do not have to get title insurance, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. It’s a good idea to protect your investment.



Joseph Talbot, ABR®, ASA, SRES®, AGA, SRS®
Broker

Peak Lifestyle Realty Ltd., Brokerage
705-733-5821

Check out more atjosephtalbot.ca
This article was provided by www.worldreferrals.com