You may have heard buzz around the term “universal design” in recent years, but do you know what it is or how it affects the Mobile/Eastern Shore AL real estate and construction markets?


According to, universal design is the creation of products and environments meant to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialization. The intent is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal Design benefits people of all ages and abilities.


Think this is some “far out” theory just now working its way into the “modern” world?  Think again:  if you’ve ever walked through an automatic door, you’ve experienced a version of Universal Design.   Likewise, a ramp or curb cut is just as welcome to someone with a baby stroller as it is to someone in a wheelchair.

Universal Design has become a hot topic in the Mobile/Eastern Shore AL real estate market as more residents are retiring and making the decision to “age in place,” as opposed to moving into assisted living facilities.  As we discussed previously, this aging generation is already driving the design of new products for the home that will affect real estate in the future.  Even if you are not part of the “mature” population, however, Universal Design should be important to you.  If you are planning to build or renovate, keep in mind the principles of Universal Design and know that it’s more cost effective to add many Universal Design features during the planning stage. There are a number of design features that can be built for little or no cost. Their addition at the beginning saves the need for future retrofits.

Some examples of Universal Design features include:

Additional task lighting is needed for “older” eyes.
Added lighting is also advised in areas to increase safety, such as for stairs.
Push/pull lever faucets for those with limited hand strength or dexterity.
Side-by-side refrigerators.
Leverset entry or interior door hardware.
Wide swing hinges allow use of the entire doorway.
Roll-in showers.
Add reinforcement into the wall substructure now in the event the addition of grab bars is needed later.

To learn more about trends in the Mobile/Eastern Shore AL real estate market, please call me at 866-560-7474 or visit 

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