Written by Sallie Stone-Bearne, Director and Founder of Branch Properties.
Our mission is to provide a service to enable people with disabilities to find their perfect home and to be fully independent. We are passionate about property and providing suitable homes for all.
The availability of accessible properties does not meet the need for them and the search for those available is extremely difficult, nigh on impossible…
We are a family business and we saw the need for Branch Properties services when we were searching for a family member for an accessible property. Our search was extremely difficult, time consuming and frustrating… Few agents understood or were able to empathise or indeed help with the search. There can be confusion amongst some estate agents and property websites about the sector.
The UK housing sector has a shortage of accessible homes available to those in need. We identified a gap in knowledge of how to support clients wanting to rent or purchase properties privately. We also identified an increasing number of disabled people needing private, independent and accessible living, for whom finding a suitable, accessible home through traditional channels has proven impossible.
We have launched a service specifically aimed at meeting personal accommodation needs and we specialise in finding homes to rent or purchase that can be modified for wheelchair users and properties which have been specifically built or adapted. We work with a team of registered occupational therapists, architects and builders to assist with the adaptions where required.
We do appreciate, it is difficult and disheartening when you turn up to a property after spending a long time briefing the agent and you’re assured it will be suitable for a wheelchair and yet when we arrive and see stairs up to the flat, when you particularly asked for no steps on approach to the property/step free access.
After liaising with local agents, trawling the local area, visiting many properties, a possible suitable property is found. If we’ve managed to find one with step free access or access to the upper floors, off street parking, wider than standard doorways and corridors that are big enough for wheelchair access, then the most difficult part of the search once we’ve identified all the other requirements is the bathroom.
Most bathroom designs are small bathrooms with toilets directly next to showers in small spaces and if there is a shower, it has a high lip, and a huge sink which takes over much of the room. There is rarely space for turning circles, let alone a level access shower room. How we dream of turning up and finding wet rooms and yet the reality is usually impossible to access, unsuitable, tiny bathrooms.
However, we work hard and are completely committed! We have the knowledge, experience and understanding of our client’s requirements. We have had a 100% success rate so far with finding our clients suitable properties.
Please see our website for further information, testimonials and contact us for further information on: firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 3475 4022.