As a real estate investor, you are always on the lookout for new properties that will allow you to expand your business. You also realize that any new buildings that you purchase must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is especially important if you manage senior care facilities. After all, you want to do everything possible to allow your tenants thrive in their golden years.
While some real estate investors that you know believe that the ADA only applies to new construction or alterations, the law requires the removal of barriers to accessibility in older buildings. In addition to following the letter of the ADA law, you want to be sure that any new properties that you purchase are as safe as possible for your older clients. In regards to ADA requirements, the onus of responsibility falls on you, the property buyer, to determine if the new property is already in compliance and/or what changes must be made to bring a property. Fortunately, by knowing what data to access prior to buying a property and knowing what to look for, as well as working with a reputable provider of property data, you can more easily analyze if a prospective new building acquisition is ADA compliant or will require a ton of work. With this in mind, consider the following tips.
Property Maps Show Whether There's Room for Expansion
When seeking potential properties, pay close attention to the data that is contained on property maps. The property and/or parcel map will display the lot’s boundaries, as well as the data for the adjoining property. This includes the recorded dimensions, street width, nearby streets, easements and/or rights of way. Using the information on the property map, you should be able to see if there is room for a future expansion of the facility — check if the existing building already takes up the majority of the lot or the property next door is very close.
Real Estate Data Gives Insight on Building Accessibility
As you search for new properties, be sure to check out the real estate data. Real estate data can be a goldmine of information about a potential property purchase, letting you know some useful specifics about the building. Property owners must remove "architectural and communication barriers” in older buildings that are structural in nature. This can include things like retrofitting restrooms, adding access ramps and widening doorways to make sure wheelchairs can fit through the openings. If you find that one property already has elevators and a large number of exits, you may opt to look at that building over the one that is probably not ADA-compliant and will require a number of costly upgrades.
Parcel Map Images Show Building Accessibility for First Responders
Another important piece of data that is typically found on a parcel map is how accessible the building is for first responders like ambulance drivers. While you certainly hope that your senior residents stay as healthy as possible, you understand that the older population can be more prone to falls and other medical emergencies. If a parcel map image indicates that a building you are interested in is located far from where an ambulance can park, it may lead to tragic delays in the case of an emergency. On the other hand, if a building is shown on the parcel map to have convenient and up-close access for ambulances and fire trucks, this may make the property a definite contender for your business's expansion.
Conducting Property-related Research Is Time Well Spent
Since it is up to you to determine if a property is ADA-compliant or requires a ton of updates, it is imperative that you devote enough time to researching any and all potential buildings that are for sale. By using DataTree, which has a database of more than 6 billion recorded documents, you can more easily perform your due diligence on properties that are for sale and determine current ownership, view parcel maps, gain valuations and help determine if they will be a good fit for your facility.