Modifying Your Existing Home


Does your home meet your needs for aging in place? The home evaluation safety checklist below will help identify hazards in the home. Additionally, you may need further modifications in your home to assure for continued mobility and comfort. Be sure to review “Aging in Place with Universal Home Design”, a guide that will help you identify home design features to make your home more comfortable. You will ultimately want to determine if your investment in home improvements is a wise choice. Or, would you prefer to transition out of your home to other housing?

Be sure to check out the "Fall Prevention" page when you're considering to remodel your home!


Home Evaluation

This home evaluation checklist below will assist you in evaluating your home to assure your living conditions meet your needs. The evaluation may be done on your own, with family and/or a professional who understands ways to improve your accessibility, safety and comfort. You will ultimately need to obtain cost estimates for those changes and improvements identified.  

  Home Evaluation Checklist - CLICK HERE  


Home Design Feature

Similar to the Home Evaluation Checklist is the Aging in Place with Universal Home Design guide (see box below) which is another tool you will want to review before beginning a major improvement project in your home. This helpful guide provides tips and resources for modifying an existing home to include universal design features. Universal design is the idea of making things comfortable and convenient for as many different people at as many stages of life as possible. 

  Aging in Place with Universal Home Design -


The Northwest Universal Design Council is a local volunteer citizens group seeking to promote universal design principals, products, and processes.  Visit for further examples of Universal Home Design.

There are many other websites that show examples of home design and fixtures which will aid in the safety and comfort of your home. Below are just three examples for your reference.  ARCH does not endorse these sites.  You may want to use your search engine to find other examples as well.   

  • Barrier Free Architecturals is a distributor of innovative products aiding in accessibility.  Visit
  • ADA Bathroom is a commercial site which sells a variety of fixtures for bathrooms. Visit
  • ADA Wheelchair Ramps is a guide that explains requirements, specification and is provided at 

Hiring Professionals

Does your home modification require hiring a professional?

Before hiring a professional please review these ARCH web pages for guidance in making decisions regarding hiring for architectural or contractor services.

Architectural Services   Contractor Services


Should you hire a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS)? CAPS are architects, builders, contractors, and consultants that have been trained in the unique needs of the older adult population, aging in place home modifications, common remodeling projects, and solutions to common barriers. The National Association of Home Builders will help you find local CAPS providers.

  Locate a Certified Aging in Place Specialist -


Master Builders Association - The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties has local consumer resources for constructing, remodeling and locating members. CLICK HERE to access Master Builders Association consumer resources. This is a King & Snohomish County site that you can query for local contractors, but does not query for contractors with CAPS certifications.

Rampathon - This Master-Builders-Care-Foundation program assists in constructing ramps for individuals. For more information, contact the Master Builders Care Foundation at 425-451-7920 or or visit the website here.

Zoning and Building Codes

Each city has its individual codes. Be sure that you know minimum zoning setbacks from property lines for buildings and structures. Some cities provide reasonable accommodation to allow ramps and landings to be within setbacks and some cities may require a variance from zoning setback codes. Contact your city to discuss your project for both zoning and building code limitations and requirements.  For contact information of your city's permit department, CLICK HERE.  

The cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Sammamish, and Woodinville use for online building permit. CLICK HERE to access this website.  

A cross reference of city zoning information is available in the Accessory Dwelling Unit, ADU section of ARCH, CLICK HERE.


This Universal Home Design will help you identify home design features to make your home more comfortable.