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Renovating an existing home Pros • Familiar surroundings and familiarity with property make it easier to spot features that are not accessible. • You can avoid the stress of moving. • Modifications can be spread over a longer period of time if you can’t afford to get them all done at once. • You can apply for government assistance. Cons • If this is your current home, it might be difficult to live through the noise, dust and extra people in your home; does short-term inconvenience outweigh long-term gains? • Some homes have pre-existing conditions that are unknown until renovations begin; in these cases, costs can skyrocket unexpectedly. • Compromises may have to be made if the original architecture doesn’t allow for all modifications. Building a new house Pros • Including modifications in the design stage often adds relatively little cost compared to retrofitting a house with traditional design features. • It’s easier to make the interior of the home completely wheelchairaccessible. • All accessibility features and equipment can be built in. • The entire house can be designed to meet your exact needs, in a location of your choosing. • A new home will more than likely be more energy-efficient and have lower maintenance costs. Cons • Your input will be crucial to get the results you desire, which takes time and energy. • Building will probably take longer to complete than renovation. • Property taxes will likely be higher. Funding Options Let’s face it – outside funding is critical for most people to be able to afford home modifications. Some people pay for home modifications with a second mortgage, a home equity loan or a reverse mortgage. For those who pay for the home modifications out of personal savings, they may be eligible for tax relief through IRS deductions for medical expenses. However, federal and private grant assistance does exist, although not all programs are available in all areas, or to all applicants. Contact the Amputee Coalition at 888/267-5669 or amputee-coalition.org 33


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