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Old 01-27-2021, 08:23 PM   #161
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Old 01-28-2021, 05:19 AM   #162
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How prophetic. She now has an RIP thread in her honor.

Watch those treacherous stairs!
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:52 AM   #163
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Thank you so much for the helpful responses.

As the OP, I just wanted to clarify my situation and explain my new thoughts on my problem.

I am 56 and I retired a few years ago. I don't have any reason to believe stairs will become a problem, but I am just trying to proactively plan for my future. My house is a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house with all bedrooms and the bathroom on the second floor. My bathroom is a typical bathroom with a normal bathtub that could be problematic. I also have a basement and an attic. I have a private dog-friendly backyard. There is a stoop with six steps to enter the house just like all the houses in my neighborhood.

My house would be perfect if it were smaller. I just need 2 bedrooms (no basement, no attic). Also, I wish there were no steps anywhere and a more accessible bathing option.

I live in Pittsburgh where there are lots of hills and mostly old houses. There are 2,600 houses for sale on Zillow in Pittsburgh. If I limit my results to single story only, there are only 7 houses and BTW, only 1 house is truly single story. The only six listings are ads for new construction.

There are houses with a master on the ground floor and a bunch of bedrooms upstairs, but that's much more house than I need and costs are an issue. I could move far away, but global warming predictions make me wary of moving to a coast or down south. I could move out to the country about an hour away and there are a few small ranch houses--that is an option.

There are 55+ communities and senior apartments that would work. In those cases, my monthly housing costs would go up and those places are not as dog friendly. My dog will likely live 10 to 15 more years, so I would like to postpone a move for say 10 years if possible to save money and because I am happier where I am now. In addition to my daily walk, my little dog insists on going into my backyard about five times a day. He won't be as happy in say a high rise with just a patio.

I think I should add a bathroom to my ground floor. I currently have a dining room that I don't use that is connected to my living room. I could seat 12 people for dinner in that space right now. I think I could use most of that space to add a bathroom. There would still be space to seat 4 people for dinner.

The cheapest option would be to add a typical small powder room and I may do that, but instead, I think I'd like to add a wet room that would have a wide barn door and would allow me to bathe on the ground floor if either the stairs or the traditional bathtub is a problem. This picture below is sort of what I am imagining. My new wet room bathroom would be a bit wider than this so I could stand next to the toilet to shower and there would be a sink.



Some potential buyers for my house may not like this addition, but I think others will see the value so I think I'll recoup some of the money I spend on this addition. During construction, I'll still have access to my current bathroom and my kitchen, so it would be ok if it took a few weeks. (I don't want to live through 6 months of construction though.)

Right now I can easily add a second hand rail to my narrow stair case. I think holding both hand rails while using the stairs slowly would work for some balance issues. My guess is that even if I begin to dislike the stairs, I will probably still be able to make it upstairs to sleep, but if I can't use the stairs, I can live on the main floor once the new wet room is added.

Once stairs become a permanent issue, I would move. The six step stoop will be a problem and I would not bother with a ramp---instead I would move. If it was a temporary issue, like a sprained ankle, I wouldn't have to move because COVID taught me I can have everything including all my groceries delivered.

These changes won't guarantee I can stay in my house, but I think odds are it will buy me 10 to 15 years and that's all I need. No matter what, I will do the work to make moving easier by downsizing and fixing cosmetic issues in the house to make it easier to sell. Since staying in my current home is my cheapest housing option, I will save funds that can be used for my final home---WHEN I NEED IT.

What are your thoughts? Will the bathroom addition be worth it?
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:41 AM   #164
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I'd put in a bathroom now even if you don't need it now because you're going to need it sooner or later. If you get one now you'll be able to use it for the next 15 or 20 years. If you wait until you need one you may only be able to use it for a few months before you're forced to move.
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Old 01-28-2021, 06:57 PM   #165
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So, from your comments, you are not totally adverse to moving. Sounds like you are not strongly tied to your specific neighborhood by family or close friend ties that might make moving more emotionally difficult.

You do say you would prefer a single level house with a yard for your dog. I would suggest looking into housing options meeting your stated needs in neighboring communities, and even neighboring states. A move now "might" let you move to a more retiree-friendly state that could save you on taxes, be they state income, state sales, or local property taxes. So, a move might not "cost" you, but indeed could "save" you money.

As to construction, I would not count on a bathroom getting finished in a "matter of a few weeks"! I would say at least a couple of months.

Good luck in considering your options! Be glad you have lots of options.
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Old 01-28-2021, 07:55 PM   #166
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Does this ring any chimes for you? https://www.realtor.com/realestatean...2_M30693-27192
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Old 01-28-2021, 09:57 PM   #167
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Or how about this Pittsburgh home with bedroom and bath on main level and no stoop porch steps? https://www.realtor.com/realestatean...7_M38361-64602
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:27 PM   #168
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You are 56, and moving at 65 is difficult but quite possible. So, I am thinking that you have probably 5-10 years to find, buy, and move into your perfect home, unless of course you decide to stay where you are.

Perhaps I am mis-reading your posts, but it sounds to me like you have made most of your choices and probably have very little need for further suggestions. I like your idea of putting in the first floor bathroom that you have in mind, if you decide to stay.
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:15 PM   #169
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This movie came out when I was in high school (1974) and it brings back great memories. It also reminds me how quickly the time passes. Glad I live in a single story home, especially if the next 47 years go by as fast as the last 47!
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:46 PM   #170
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Another thought on remodeling: if your lot configuration and legal setbacks allow, how about adding a master bedroom wing to include both a main floor master bedroom and master bathroom? More expensive than just converting existing dining space to a bathroom, but it could add proportionately much more resale value to the home, as it would be additional square footage, not converted existing square footage. And, a lot of the USA's "greying" population over the next five, ten, fifteen, twenty years will "also" be looking for main floor master suites. Just another thought you may want to consider and look into possibilities. Might be something to gab about with a few builders/remodelers in your area to get some practical thoughts on this idea.

If it were doable, it might end up making your home so nice, you would want to die there!
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Stairs and "worst possible" outcomes
Old 01-30-2021, 01:34 PM   #171
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Stairs and "worst possible" outcomes

I've have been thinking about this posting since I first read it. In a way, it is a discussion of our individual "worst case" scenario.

I live in a city. My worst case scenario is living somewhere where I need a car to go out for shopping, entertainment, appointments, visiting friends, etc. There are high rise apartments and condos with elevators here. There are one floor apartments in smaller buildings but they, like the SFHs, all have stairs.

I am in my mid-60's and recently moved to a multi-story house that has a bath on each level, unlike my prior house which was similar to OP's. If I stay here or if I have an accident and need help with stairs, I can live on the ground floor or install a lift or stair climber to the second floor. However, for as long as I am somewhat mobile, I will be able to go to restaurants, concerts, libraries and sporting events and not worry about driving or parking. For me, the benefits of being in a SFH in a city outweigh the stairs.

This is classic YMMV. Some know right now that they need to live on one level. Others don't mind driving and are confident that they can do it for a long time. Some folks can't imagine living in a city under any circumstances. Each of us is evaluating the situation based on our personal worst case. scenario

OP, I'd recommend that you speak with a local architect. Good ones can work magic in small spaces and give you an idea of what you can do to add a bathroom or more accessibility and how much it would cost. Since you are making a long term decision, you might find that the expense of using a professional is money well spent.

Good luck, BR
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Old 01-30-2021, 03:43 PM   #172
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Yes. This would work. I need to do a lot of downsizing first, but perhaps I can find a one-floor house that would meet my needs.
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Old 01-30-2021, 05:03 PM   #173
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Thank you so much for the helpful responses.


What are your thoughts? Will the bathroom addition be worth it?
Given all of the factors you have stated and given your age and current condition, I think this plan is reasonable. It might have an impact on resale value but it is hard to know and you plan to stay 10 to 15 years may not be a big issue.

I think you could probably do this providing there is still a place to eat downstairs. That is, will there still be a place to eat in the kitchen or a smaller dining room, etc. As long you can have a place to eat downstairs -- even if not a separate dining room -- then this may work. If you won't have anywhere to eat downstairs then I would suggest that you consult with either an interior designer or architect to see if you can build the downstairs bath and still have somewhere to eat downstairs.

Oh -- I agree that making it where you can shower in this bathroom is a good idea.
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Old 01-30-2021, 07:22 PM   #174
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While you are considering lots of options, here is another one to throw into the mix. may as well dream big: https://www.realtor.com/realestatean...-HomeAlert-RDC
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Old 01-30-2021, 07:26 PM   #175
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That one just above does have two front porch steps. But that porch is nicely configured so it could easily and "prettily" be ramped off the left side so as to avoid even the two porch steps. Back of house also not many steps, maybe one to back porch deck, could also be easily ramped to avoid even that.
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Old 01-30-2021, 07:31 PM   #176
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Or dream even bigger with this one. And check out the gorgeous neighborhood surroundings on very last pic: https://www.realtor.com/realestatean...-HomeAlert-RDC
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Old 02-14-2021, 09:46 AM   #177
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FWIW, my mom is 86 and lives in a condo with bedroom and bathroom on 2nd floor and laundry in the basement.
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Old 02-14-2021, 10:48 AM   #178
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FWIW, my mom is 86 and lives in a condo with bedroom and bathroom on 2nd floor and laundry in the basement.


Purchase a stairlift?
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Old 02-14-2021, 05:39 PM   #179
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As a number of posters have said, it works until it doesn't.

If we choose a "forever" home, if it is two stories, it will need to have complete living on the first floor including a first floor master and first floor handicap accessible bathroom.

The bathroom needs to be wide enough so that someone using a walker can get in there comfortably. There will need to be a seat in the shower, and wheelchair access also would need to be considered.
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In addition, you need to be able to roll into the house.

One grandmother was able to walk up and down the stairs until the day she died - she preferred to use the first floor bathroom; but my father gradually became paralyzed.

We were able to set up "home living" for him on the first floor. We had to have him taken to the hospital from time to time, and he needed to be taken out and brought home by stretcher which they were able to roll into the house. (He was transported by ambulance - not ambulette - because at that point he was unable to sit.)

I am not a great fan of home elevators (unless you are living in a mansion, have round the clock staff, the elevator is maintained with by a service company on a monthly basis, you have an emergency response system in place, and of course it is not so small that it's claustrophobic if you get stuck in it). I do not have the same concerns for a nice condo or apartment building, CCRC, where the elevators are (presumably), larger, monitored, maintained under a service contract w/ emergency response and inspections built in. (There is more involved, but I'll stop there.)

So, you are young and fit, and have plenty of time to decide exactly what you want in a "forever" home. You can take your time to pick out the perfect place. Perhaps you will be able to live in this home and navigate those stairs without issue into your late 90s - but one doesn't necessarily know.

As an aside, I became sick in early March (some type of mysterious virus which was not the flu - long story). My side effects included dizziness, and I temporarily lived on one floor and needed support going up and down the stairs (when I went for medical visits and subsequently to the hospital) so that I wouldn't fall . . .
Our current 2-story home, which might become our forever home, was purchased 7 years ago and had 90% of the stuff we wanted, including 2 master bedrooms down on the main floor. The first owner designed and built the house for a disabled child as one of the occupants, so every thing in the house is wheelchair accessible and perfect for aging in place. We do almost all our living on the first floor and if we ever needed live-in-home care, there's an extra bedroom on the first floor. I wouldn't consider it a "mansion" but it does have enough room to currently fit my entire family of 3 adult children with spouses and 2 grandkids into our home for holidays without sharing bedrooms or bathrooms. We are 69 and 67, in good health, though we could both lose some weight!

Our home includes a residential elevator, with a load capacity of 900lbs. We didn't look for a house with an elevator, but this house had almost all the stuff we wanted plus the elevator and other stuff. We don't use the elevator routinely because we live mostly on the first floor. We are not yet mobility challenged (despite 3 replacement knees), walk daily in the neighborhood, and we have a wide L-shaped staircase that makes the climb upstairs very easy. We do take falls seriously as we have had our share of falls over the years. Nonetheless, despite limited use, the elevator has been extraordinarily helpful when we had to take in our mobility challenged, walker and wheel-chair restricted family members for several months before we transitioned them into assisted living facilities. When our older, mobility challenged friends visit us, the elevator is their preferred way of getting to the upstairs guest bedrooms.

The elevator undergoes a maintenance and inspection check every 2 years; it's a $350 charge for this service -- we get bulletins from the elevator company that manufactured, installed and services the elevator in case there are any service, maintenance, safety or design issues requiring retrofitting of the elevator or special attention. I think if your forever home embraces a 2-story dwelling and it's new construction, an elevator is the good way to go for accessibility to the 2nd story -- this might add $30-60K in construction costs.
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Old 02-14-2021, 07:08 PM   #180
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Our current 2-story home, which might become our forever home, was purchased 7 years ago and had 90% of the stuff we wanted, including 2 master bedrooms down on the main floor. The first owner designed and built the house for a disabled child as one of the occupants, so every thing in the house is wheelchair accessible and perfect for aging in place. We do almost all our living on the first floor and if we ever needed live-in-home care, there's an extra bedroom on the first floor. I wouldn't consider it a "mansion" but it does have enough room to currently fit my entire family of 3 adult children with spouses and 2 grandkids into our home for holidays without sharing bedrooms or bathrooms. We are 69 and 67, in good health, though we could both lose some weight!

Our home includes a residential elevator, with a load capacity of 900lbs. We didn't look for a house with an elevator, but this house had almost all the stuff we wanted plus the elevator and other stuff. We don't use the elevator routinely because we live mostly on the first floor. We are not yet mobility challenged (despite 3 replacement knees), walk daily in the neighborhood, and we have a wide L-shaped staircase that makes the climb upstairs very easy. We do take falls seriously as we have had our share of falls over the years. Nonetheless, despite limited use, the elevator has been extraordinarily helpful when we had to take in our mobility challenged, walker and wheel-chair restricted family members for several months before we transitioned them into assisted living facilities. When our older, mobility challenged friends visit us, the elevator is their preferred way of getting to the upstairs guest bedrooms.

The elevator undergoes a maintenance and inspection check every 2 years; it's a $350 charge for this service -- we get bulletins from the elevator company that manufactured, installed and services the elevator in case there are any service, maintenance, safety or design issues requiring retrofitting of the elevator or special attention. I think if your forever home embraces a 2-story dwelling and it's new construction, an elevator is the good way to go for accessibility to the 2nd story -- this might add $30-60K in construction costs.

One advantage of stair type elevators is that if it stops it is easy to help the person down the stairs (or up if the case may be) Since the elevator is situated on the steps and there is room to get around them.If need be it would be trival for ems to get a person, with just a carry.
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