Saturday, February 04, 2017

Effective marketing of VisitAbility

I recently found an excellent YouTube video of a VisitAble home in Winnipeg's Bridgwater neighbourhood (I'm a huge fan of the 50% mandate for VisitAbility). Here's the video for your review:

While looking through the real estate agent's website, I noticed that it was listed at $688,800 and sold in 3 days.

Equally interesting was the fact that it didn't mention anything about it being a VisitAble home, or the features that make it a great home to purchase. Instead, it spoke of the usual features of a home and neighbourhood because the VisitAbility features are very subtle (it shows the success of its great design because few people would be able to notice anything different about it). Here are some of the features (VisitAbility, plus others) according to the timing from the video:

00:03 - Unrelated but the wide sidewalks and a barrier-free path means that all are welcome on the trails: walking, biking, skateboards, walkers, scooters, wheelchairs...
00:22 - No step main entrance, covered from the elements.
00:24 - Wide front door, with the adaptability to wider if needed, thanks to the side window.
00:33 - Open concept design; low resistance flooring; and lots of natural and artificial lighting (safer).
00:40 - Clear space under the counter; D handles on the cabinetry; drawers for some of the bottoms (easier to reach items); ample clear space by the fridge.
00:42 - French door fridge (easier if using a mobility device); optimal stove height.
00:58 - Large, lower-set windows (easier to see out if seated / mobility device, and easier to exit if trapped in that area during a fire).
01:17 - Clear transfer space next to the toilet (where the flower stand is).
01:19 - Lever faucets; step-in shower (roll-in is better); low effort hardware to open the shower door.

There's also another great video about a bungalow with a walk-out basement, again with very subtle features:

Here are some of the features (VisitAbility, plus others) for this second home:

00:04 - No-step main entrance, covered from elements
00:25 - Wide front door (adaptability to wider); lever door handle; Decora light switches
00:30 - Wide hallways
00:33 - "D" handles on cabinetry (easier than knobs)
00:33 - Ample clear space in front of the stove and fridge; low resistance flooring.
00:39 - Alternate heights for ovens, not low to the floor like standard ovens.
00:39 - French doors on the fridge are much easier for someone using a mobility device.
00:39 - Some drawers for the bottoms, rather than doors (more practical for accessing items).
00:41 - Ample clear space between the island and the cabinets.
00:44 - Single lever faucet (easier to use; dual lever faucets are ok as well).
00:48 - Front stove controls, colour contrasted (safer, easier to see).
1:00 - Open concept kitchen, dining, family areas
1:17 - Step-in shower (roll-in would be better), ample clear floor space, single lever faucet
1:22 - Not a fan of soaker tubs for safety reasons, prefer a standard bathtub with full length access like at 1:38
1:28 - Adjustable height shower head
1:52 - Great emergency egress thanks to walk-out, and lots of natural light too.

Obviously, there's ample natural and artificial light throughout, with low glare/shadows. There's always more that can be done but kudos to what they achieved.

My point to all of this is to highlight the fact that both of these homes are beautiful AND VISITABLE! The first home sold in 3 days at a price point of $688,800 so these homes are very marketable (contrary to what the majority of the housing industry thinks, in large part because of myths and biases against VisitAbility). If it can be done in Winnipeg (a northern climate, with full basements) and sell quickly, then what's the resistance really about?

If you'd like to know more about the Bridgwater neighbourhood, here's a Case Study from the national project that I was involved in: