Gene Guarino chats with us about typical renovations that are needed in order to turn a single family home into a residential assisted living home.
From adding grab bars in the bathroom to widening doors, there are a handful of renovations that improve the safety and accessibility for their tenants.
Mike: Welcome back to the FlipNerd.com REI Classroom, where experts from across the real estate investing industry teach you quick lessons to take your business to the next level. Now, let’s meet today’s expert host.
Gene: Hello, this is Gene Guarino from the Residential Assisted Living Academy. I’m your host for the REI Classroom. We’re going to be talking about the typical and the most exciting renovations for residential assisted living care homes.
Mike: This REI Classroom real estate lesson is sponsored by VirtualStaffNow.com.
Gene: What I’m going to talk to you today about is how do you turn a home into a residential assisted living home. What are the typical renovations that you’re going to be looking at. If you’re the real estate owner, you’re the landlord, you’re going to be renting it out to a tenant, one of the things you’re going to look to do is to maybe remove bathtubs and make it a roll-in or a walk-in shower.
The reason why they do that is because the seniors in a residential assisted living home, they need to have easy access to the bathrooms. So by taking out a bathtub and just making a smooth entry, a roll-in or a walk-in shower, that makes it much safer for them.
Then you, as the landlord, want it to be safe and you might be thinking, “Well, if they take out a bathtub, it’s going to cost me money to put it back in place.” But when you think about that, the drain is the same, the plumbing is in place, all you really need to do is put the bathtub in and then just trim the tile around it, so it’s not a big fix. But ultimately, you’re going to have a long-term tenant who’s going to be there operating it for the residential assisted living.
The second category after bathrooms is going to be the grab bars. The grab bars are typically in the bathroom, around the toilet and the shower. When you’re in a shower, when you’re around the toilet, you understand that if you’re sitting there and maybe you’re older, 85 years old, little harder to get up, little harder to keep your balance, having grab bars is a great way to do it. What I find is going to Home Depot and just getting it right off the shelf is a great way to go. Not expensive. Easy to install.
One of the key things though, if you’re actually doing renovation before you put the bathroom in, is to put some supports behind the beams. Because those beams, the two-by-fours are on 16 inch on center. If you put a two-by-four piece of scrap in between, it makes it a lot easier to secure those grab bars. Otherwise, you’re going to have to find a stud on one side, and probably some mollies on the other. But grab bars in the showers and around the toilet are a second key.
One of the third areas for renovating a house, to make it acceptable for senior living is to potentially widening the doors. When we talk about widening the doors, it doesn’t need to be every door, but the ones that they’re going to be using the most. Bathrooms, bedrooms. A common door would be 36 inches wide for the largest door you can get at a Home Depot or Lowe’s. Most homes have 32, but if you can widen it to 36, it’s an easier entry way and an exit way for that senior. If they have a walker or a wheelchair, that’s a real plus.
If you can, and sometimes you can’t, because the way it’s in that door jamb or that hallway, you just can’t make it happen. There’s something called an offset hinge, O-F-F-S-E-T, offset hinge. Home Depot doesn’t have it, but Lowe’s does. For a $12 or $15, that’s a solution to push that door out about another inch. An inch doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re a senior and going through with a walker or wheelchair, that inch is going to save your knuckles.
So the three areas we talked about are removing tubs and putting in the showers potentially. We also talked about the grab bars in the bathrooms and around the showers and toilets. And then the third is widening the doorway. We can go into a whole lot more, in regards to potentially sprinklers and smoke detectors, but we’ll save that for another session.
When I come back, we’ll be telling you more about how to turn your home into a residential assisted living.
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