Mark-using-rampThere are few things more terrifying and exciting to a person with a disability than being a first-time home buyer. Many options exist, from building new, buying an already-built home and renovating to your needs, or buying a new or used modular home. The trick is finding a home that works for you at a price you can afford and choosing renovations that won’t break the bank. Figuring out financing is another chore that can leave your head spinning, and it usually depends on the type of home and credit rating you have. There are loans and programs to help a person with a disability purchase a home or install accommodations, but I’ll discuss those later.

Most important in the hunt for a new house for our unique household was finding something with an open floor plan and enough extra space to meet our needs. I have Duchenne muscular dystrophy and use a trach and vent full-time, and I live with Dustin Hankinson who also has DMD and uses a non-invasive vent. Finding space for all of our medical supplies and equipment was another important consideration. We both live with his partner and our live-in caregiver, Theresa Martinosky, along with our gang of seven pugs. There are also several nurses we share our home with during the week, so we needed to figure them into the equation as well.

Our previous home was an older shotgun-style residence located in Missoula, Mont. At around 900 square feet, every inch of space was an extremely valuable commodity. As Hankinson puts it, “We had way too muc