It’s common for homeowners to worry about damaging their home’s resale value when making accessible renovations. However, new research from real estate tech company Orchard shows that accessibility modifications can increase the resale value of a home, in addition to increasing usability and comfort.
Orchard, which specializes in helping homeowners to move into their next home before selling their first one, often works with buyers whose home needs have shifted. For some, that includes downsizing to a forever home where buyers plan to retire, or looking for a home that accommodates family members with disabilities.
To better understand how accessible features influence home price, Orchard analyzed over 640,000 home sale transactions from the past 10 years (2012 to 2021) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Before diving into the numbers behind this analysis, let’s take a minute to consider why Dallas-Fort Worth is a great place to consider building or renovating a home to include accessible features. Recent census data finds that the median age of DFW residents is 36 years old with 43% of the population age 40 and over. While there are still lots of young families in the DFW area, many buyers are starting to look towards retirement and want a home that can serve their needs for years to come.
There are also many disabled buyers who have been given more choice in where to call home with the increase of remote-friendly jobs. According to Forbes, the use of flexible work arrangements has almost doubled since 2017, allowing many more disabled Americans to dial in remotely from their homes.
There are a number of modifications that homeowners and builders can make to help elderly and mobility-impacted individuals. Some of these updates include the following:
While some of these features are easily reversible, such as removing grab bars when they are no longer needed, other modifications such as elevators or doorway size are more permanent features that can change property values.
Orchard’s analysis compared homes with any accessibility features to those without, and then later narrowed in on the most frequent features included in listings. The analysis narrowed in on properties sold in the range of $150,000 to $1 million from 2012 to 2022.
On average, Dallas-Fort Worth homes are selling for $344,000 without any accessible features, and selling for an average price of $378,000 once accessible features are in the mix. That’s an increase of $34,000 to home value.
Here’s how home values change once some of the most frequent features are included:
The two highest value renovations are accessible (wider) doors and elevators. These features increase values respectively by an average of $56,000 and $67,000.
While elevator costs differ greatly based on the model and make you select, on average, elevators in residences tend to cost around $30,000. That means that you can recoup the costs of the installation and still make an additional $38,000 while selling your home after installation.
The analysis also found that outdoor ramps are the only accessibility feature that seems to reduce your property value in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. One possible reason is that many ramps are created on the cheap and do not blend into the architecture of the home.
However, it is very possible to build ramps that look intentional and discreet while enhancing value, and later enticing buyers who will frequently push grocery carts, luggage, and other items on wheels. Landscaping can help disguise, or complement, your ramp, and homeowners can also play up its convenience, especially for young families with strollers who will be looking for comfortable ways to access a steep property.
Homeowners don’t need to rush to make updates to their property, particularly if these renovations are not currently needed by the residents. However, the good news is that if homeowners do choose to make these improvements now or in the future, Dallas-Fort Worth residents are likely to recoup their investment and make additional proceeds on the future sale of their homes.
Raymond Liang contributed to data collection and analysis for this report.
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