KEEPING IT REAL: Elizabeth’s Story, Part II

Thu 28 Jul 2022

KEEPING IT REAL: Elizabeth's Story*

By Elizabeth Pode

Tell us a bit about the purchasing process. What additional or different steps did you have to take, if any, because of your CP? What disability-related challenges did you face, if any?

The homebuying process can be tricky, but is much easier when you have trusted people around you, which for me was my parents and an amazing real estate agent. Not only did I face challenges as someone with CP, but also as a single woman, which is difficult enough in the homebuying process.

I can’t tell you how many times I was asked where my husband was, and finally resorted to saying “if you find one for me, let me know!” For me, the process was a little backwards compared to an able-bodied home buyer. My options were extremely limited, as some of my must-haves are rare in southern California. Rather than saving up and getting approved for a mortgage first, I researched different neighborhoods within an hour radius of my job to find what had the most accommodations.

I quickly found a complex that had one-story homes with no steps to the front door and a backyard for my service dog, among other requirements. Once I knew the typical selling point for homes in that area, I got to work saving a 20% down payment for the typical cost, as well as closing costs and a renovation budget in case my home needed additional accommodations. When I had saved up enough, I was approved for a loan and my realtor went door-to-door in the desired neighborhood to see if anyone was interested in selling.

Two months after I was approved for a loan, my realtor notified me of a home that was about to go on the market in three days. I put in a full-price offer, sight unseen, went to visit that night, and my offer was accepted within 36 hours without the home ever being listed. Like I said, backwards, but it ensured I wasn’t constantly viewing homes that weren’t accessible and then being outbid on the ones that were!

What disability-related modifications or renovations, if any, did you have to make to your home?

Quite a few actually! For the first two months after my escrow closed, I renovated my home while staying at my parents’ house. I replaced all of the flooring with LPV (luxury plank vinyl) so that it was smooth for my walker, could take the wear and tear of the wheels and my service dog’s paws, and so that I could simply Swiffer, since maneuvering a vacuum is difficult for me.

I also completely gutted the master bath, taking out two walls and installing a walk-in shower with a built-in bench and multiple shower heads at varying levels for ease of access. Finally, I just finished installing a concrete ramp from my parking space to my back gate so I do not need to make the long walk around to my front door. My HOA assisted me with paying for the ramp since it was on the outside of my unit. Luckily, the owner before me was an elderly woman, so there were already some accommodations, including built-in washer and dryer and a low microwave.

Find part three on our blog and give Elizabeth's accessible interior design account a follow on Instagram @dontmindthedust.

*Elizabeth's story is part of KEEPING IT REAL — a series of personal stories that will take you deeper into the lives of people with CP. Each person makes different choices based on what works for them, and we’ll showcase that — highlighting what life is like for them on a daily basis, what they care about, and the ways CP impacts them. 

The KEEPING IT REAL blog is intended solely to raise awareness about the varied human experience with cerebral palsy and shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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