Our accessible house

After more than a year of searching and countless viewings, we bought a house. And more importantly, it’s completely accessible.

I had meant to finish writing this and get it posted around the time of our one-year house-versary (it is too a word), but then we all came down with Covid. So, I’m a little late. Such is life!

I am happy to say, however, that after being here in this house for over a year, we’re pretty well adjusted to our new living space. To that end, I’d like to tell you a little bit about our new home. I really did mean to do so a year ago, but life moves at a crazy speed sometimes. Case in point: it’s been over a year since we bought our house but it feels like no time at all has passed.

We had been searching for a house suitable for a family with a wheelchair for over a year. It might even have been closer to two; I’ve lost track. The point is, we’d been looking for a long time. We were happy to say that we found one we like, but the truth is that we didn’t even find it. For that, we must (and do) thank our realtor, Joe Toth. If you live in southern Wisconsin and have realty-related needs, give this awesome man a holler.

We had already been looking for a long time (over a year, easy). We started out our search by keeping to a 30-45 minute travel time radius from our apartment, but slowly expanded our search because we simply were not finding anything that clicked for us. Joe was showing a house an hour and a half away to another client. They were disappointed that the house had so many accessibility features and declined to pursue it further, saying that they would want to remove them. Knowing it was right up our alley, he gave us a call.

We were initially hesitant, knowing how far away it was from where we lived at the time. In spite of that, we made the trip. Touring the house, it proved to be completely accessible for Namine. It had a ramp in the garage leading inside the house; it had an accessible bathroom; and it had wide doorways. We later learned that a previous owner had in fact been a wheelchair user himself. Not only that, but being an architect, he had made some of the accessibility modifications himself.

After wheeling through the house, Namine returned to us as we gathered in the living room. “You have to buy this house!” she exclaimed. Having been outbid before, we told her we could make no promises. She understood, but wanted us to understand how much she loved how accessible this house was. No other house we’d viewed even came close.

Obviously, as I’m writing this more than a year after we purchased the house, we did get it. Looking back, it’s a wonder how smoothly everything fell into place, so much so that we didn’t even have to attempt to outbid anyone else. For that, we’re thankful.

After having lived here for a year, I have seen other houses in the area with ramps. Unlike ours, most others have ramps outside — some of wood, and some of metal. It brings to mind something I did not consider when we first viewed the house, but which I appreciate now.

When we viewed the house, it was not winter. There was no snow on the ground, and therefore nothing to shovel. In all our house showings, I always looked for a ramp leading to the front door but never considered that it would need to be shoveled. But obviously it would, because it would have been outside and this is Wisconsin.

Our house has a ramp, but it’s inside the garage. It never needs to be shoveled. Namine’s wheelchair, in leaving the house, never has to navigate through snow or ice. Were our ramp outside, that would not be the case.

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