The need for accessible homes is on the rise

Do you have clients with small children? How about clients over the age of 70? Or clients who recently had surgery and needed to recover at home?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your clients are likely familiar with or could benefit from an accessible home.

I recently completed an eight-conference speaking tour across Ontario with the March of Dimes’ Opening Doors For Accessibility and with the Ontario Real Estate Association’s (OREA) Emerge Conference.

During the tour I spoke with hundreds of REALTORS® about the business opportunities in helping people living with disabilities or mobility challenges.

Here are a few highlights:

We all benefit

Accessibility helps all of us, regardless of age. A parent pushing a stroller or a senior citizen who has trouble navigating stairs would certainly appreciate a level entrance to their home. Someone recovering from surgery could likely go home sooner if they could avoid climbing stairs or had access to a bathroom where they could shower in a seated position.

Home modification

While we’ve all heard of home renovations, when working with people living with disabilities the buzz phrase is “home modifications.” This refers to adapting an existing home, inside or outside, to accommodate independent living. The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) recently launched the Home Modification Council (HMC) to train and educate contractors on home modification. The HMC is a great resource to find knowledgeable tradespeople to recommend to your clients.

Aging in place

There isn’t enough government funding to accommodate the aging population in traditional long-term care facilities. Aging in place is the future. But in order for your clients to age in place successfully, we need to help them find accessible homes, or homes that can be modified to accommodate their long-term needs.


With life expectancy increasing and the cost of attendant care out of reach for many, co-housing may be a more realistic, viable option.

REALTORS® meet new people every day. Because of this, there’s plenty of opportunities to create an accessible co-housing model by finding two or more people to share the cost of an accessible home to accommodate current or future needs and attendant care.


There is a shortage of wheelchair-accessible rentals across Canada. In my local market, I get one to two requests per week on average and demand is only expected to increase along with the aging population.

Have you worked with someone who has accessible housing needs? Share your knowledge and experience in the Comments section below!

Jeffrey Kerr is a broker and REALTOR® with RE/MAX Unique Inc. in Toronto, Ontario and specializes in helping people living with disabilities buy and sell homes. Licenced since 1999, Jeffrey is the author of “Barrier Free Real Estate ~ Achieving Freedom At Home.” In December 2016, he was featured on the cover of Real Estate Magazine (REM) for his niche as an expert in accessible real estate.

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