LifestyleWellbeing & Fitness

Finding an accessible home during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020

There are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK – one in five of the population. Yet only a staggering 7% of homes in England are accessible. This equates to four-fifths of disabled people living in unsuitable homes.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Branch Properties, specialists in accessible housing, to create the Ultimate Guide to Finding an Accessible Home, and to talk you through the impact of the pandemic on the housing market and how to house hunt in 2020.

HEAD to our latest article to DOWNLOAD our FREE 2021 accessible housing guide.

Finding an accessible home during the Covid-19 pandemic

No one can deny that we’re living in unprecedented times, with a global pandemic affecting every aspect of all our lives.

Along with a million other unanswered questions, if you’re unhappy with your home and where you live now, it’s likely that you have asked whether now is the right time to move and buy or rent an accessible home.

Large open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room with white futnirue and wooden flooring

Online property searches soared following the announcement, with Rightmove reporting more than 5 million visits to its website the day after the market reopened.

Rightmove also informed us that:

  • it has seen the highest number of visits to the site in its 20-year history
  • 94% of those who planned to move before lockdown still plan to move
  • only 3% of properties were withdrawn for sale on Rightmove during lockdown

Rival Zoopla confirmed that the housing market has seen an off-the-scale rebound with sales having increased by 137%.

With demand at such a high level, now is an ideal time to start looking for your new home, whether that is to buy or to rent an accessible property.

There are going to be many challenging times ahead for the economy and property market, but if you are considering a move this year, then I would advise that now is the time to do it.

Branch Properties – Accessible Housing specialists

Branch Properties logo with a branch and house and wheelchair logo hanging from them

Branch Properties is an agency that specialises in finding and providing wheelchair accessible and adaptable homes. Sallie, the founder and director, is an experienced property expert and her and her team’s knowledge of the accessible homes market makes them the perfect people to help you find your new home.

Sallie’s father has multiple sclerosis and it was through the search for an accessible property for him that she realised how much there was a lack of understanding. Saddened by the difficulties of lack of accessible housing, she set up as a family business born from the experience of trying to find her disabled father a home.

Branch Properties will work with you to find your specific requirements and find an accessible property to rent or to buy.

Branch Properties can find and adapt properties, so for more information on accessible adaptations, please visit the Branch Properties website, or contact them by emailing info@branchproperties.co.uk or calling 020 3475 4022.

Keeping safe from Covid-19 on house viewings

We know that many disabled people and those with health conditions are fearful of catching Covid-19, so you may be concerned about doing house viewings. But there are some things you can do to minimise risks.

While there isn’t a legal requirement to wear a face covering or mask when viewing a property, it is strongly advised by the Government for enclosed spaces.

While many cloth face coverings generally work to protect others if you have Covid-19, a medical mask or an even a more protective filtration mask will help to keep you safe.

We’d also recommend taking gloves, in case you need to touch anything, and hand sanitiser, using it as you enter and leave the house.

If possible, view the house with as few people as possible – ideally just the agent while the owner or tenants are out – and ask for the house be well ventilated before you arrive.

For added protection, Branch Properties will do a lot of the viewings for you. After building a comprehensive list of suitable properties, the team will visit them to check accessibility and the possibility of doing adaptations.

They will then send you videos of the visits and give you a comprehensive report on the search and all properties that could work, with pros and cons.

Visit the Branch Properties website for more details, and head to the Disability Horizons Shop to buy face masks, gloves and 70% alcohol hand sanitiser.

FREE accessible housing guide

Our 17-page guide takes you through:

  • Pin-pointing your requirements – what is essential for you
  • Types and cost of adaptations – so you can work out what changes are essential and how much you’ll need to make them
  • Finding a home– where to look for an accessible house
  • Accessible housing ratings – what they are and what they mean for you

The guide also includes handy printable checklists so you can narrow down what exactly you need.

To download the 2021 FREE 17-page guide, simply head to our latest article.

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