Investing in accessible design upfront means a broader-reaching appeal for the homeowner when trying to sell the home.
The following is a transcript of the video "Where the rubber meets the road - Let's talk money: A PCBC Conversation" :
Nigel: So we're gonna circle back to that, but I wanted to ask Susan a quick question regarding where the rubber meets the road, which is money. Let's talk turkey. So we're hearing all of these things about putting in this, and putting in that, the builders is hearing cha ching, cha ching, cha ching. So how do you consult with those builders and let them know "No, it's not gonna cost you more money?"
Susan: So where it is in a typical home design, typical speck home design, 2 to 5% percent more. We haven't done a lot of studies over the years, but we've got an average of about 2 to 5% more than what a standard home would be. And if they're already putting in, you know, light switches, which they are, you know you put them in as rocker switches. You know, it's things that they're already doing. Years ago, a three foot wide doorway was more expensive, you know, then it is now. It's pretty much evened out. You know knob hardware was one cost, but lever was significantly more. And now we're seeing products becoming more commonplace and so it doesn't change. So it doesn't even have to be two percent more, but that's added value for peace of mind moving forward. To really say, "I feel good about the design of my home and the construction of my home." And now I want my consumer, my homeowner, my new homeowner to feel good about what we put into that home for them.
Nigel: So Beth, do you think millennials will pay 2% more for a house because it has these universal design features, or these accessible features, even though they don't know it?
Beth: I think if it meets their needs, I think they will. Yes.
Susan: I do too.
Susan: And I think especially when they have an understanding that it's gonna also increase the value of their home when they go to resell. You know, part of what helps us drive the price up when we resell is that it's different then the house down the block. You know, so I think some of these issues do. And the appeal for people to buy your home is broader because you can sell to any generation, you know. You're not limited to, you know, if an older person comes in and looks at your house they don't say, "Well, I can't live here because the doors aren't wide enough and my husbands in a wheelchair," or, "I can't live here because there's too much stepping into the bathtub," and that type of thing. So they're broadening the appeal of who’s gonna buy their house when it will sell.
Beth: And it will be an expectation, I believe. It'll be an expectation.
Susan: I agree with that.
Beth: That, you know, having stepless entries, and, you know, graded walkways being seamlessly put into the landscaping and those kinds of things. If you don't have that, I'm not buying your home.
Nigel: Okay. So let's talk about space. Wider doorways, sliding doors. Does a house need to be bigger to have these features?
Beth: Absolutely not. So the efficiency of space, I think helps us all. When we can stand in one spot and do all the things that we wanna do in preparing a meal in the kitchen, you know, that things are pretty much at reach range to be able to get and do. So that's how much counter space we need to be able to do those things. That's energy efficiency for ourselves but also from a space relationship. So when we look at small spaces, it's really looking at the overlap of what those tasks can be and do we have some variable height. So do we have pullout cutting boards, for example, that maybe, you know, a child could help with cookies, you know, at the same time? So we're looking at space being more efficient by doing surface mount doors, more the barn door style, so we're not having the door swing and influencing the floor space and that circulation and maneuverability. In small space,s we're seeing smaller lots, and so with smaller lots we're seeing vertical so we're seeing two-story homes. So the way we design that in universal design is that we put a removable floor, we frame that in between two closets that are stacked on top of each other. So when it comes time, should someone want to put in an elevator or a vertical platform lift, that frame and the pit are all there in place ready to go.