Many disabled people are being prevented from moving home and living independently because estate agents fail to understand their situation or provide important information about accessible property, it has been claimed.
Property website TheHouseShop.com, which was previously known as the Little House Company, but rebranded after switching from a private property-only sales portal to one that now also incorporates estate agency listings, has accused agents of being unmindful of the practical issues around disabled living, leaving many people, such as those who are wheelchair-users, ‘struggling to find suitable property.’
Nick Marr (left) of The House Shop believes that estate agents are losing business to the private sales market because they typically lack the specialist or niche marketing capability to properly advertise accessible homes.
He said, “Disabled homeowners are increasingly turning to direct sales or peer-to-peer selling to market their homes after failing to find suitable buyers through estate agents. Over the years we have had a number of disabled homeowners approach us after being advised by their agent to rip out or downplay accessible improvements so that their property appeals to the broadest possible market. For homeowners who have spent, in some cases, tens of thousands of pounds improving and adapting their homes, this is the last thing they want to hear.”
Conrad Hodgkinson, of AccessiblePropertyRegister.org, has been running a dedicated accessible property listing service for almost a decade and has shared The House Shop’s concerns over this sector of the market.
He commented, “Around 10 per cent of the population describe themselves as disabled and an ageing and less mobile population will only add to the pressure for greater supply, identification, and marketing of accessible and adapted property. Unfortunately, many estate agents are failing to recognise this.”
Determined to help agents connect disabled people with accessible properties, TheHouseShop.com is now on a mission to provide greater means and resources to enable agents to properly advertise disabled-access properties by releasing their ‘Accessible Property Search’ which allows disabled home-hunters to filter results by accessibility.
Marr added, “We have been promoting accessible homes for many years and our site attracts an audience that seek these types of homes. Agents will benefit from using services such as ours, and other niche property sites like that at accessbleproperty.org, to target an audience in desperate need of suitable accommodation.”