Page 10 - PIC Magazine Issue 21
P. 10

   Navigating the challenging post-Covid property landscape
Design for Independence offers a unique combination of skills under one roof.
 When times are tough, it
pays to have a helping hand from an expert. That’s why private housing occupational therapy (OT) company Design for Independence (DfI) has
a carefully selected team of experts in everything from property sales and lettings
to building adaptations – alongside its OT specialists.
With properties in short supply and the cost of building materials going through
the roof in the wake of the pandemic and Brexit, it’s more challenging than ever to find and adapt homes for the less able. But it’s all in a day’s work for the DfI team.
A network of relationships with sales and lettings agents is crucial to overcome the first hurdle of a shortage of properties to buy or rent. Competition is fierce when a new property comes on to the market – so acting fast is essential. And when it comes to rental properties, the DfI team faces the added complication of discussing with the landlord any adaptation work required to accommodate a client’s disabilities – and highlighting the value it could add to the property.
That’s why DfI employs a sales and lettings manager whose understanding of the housing market is second to none after 20 years in the industry. She understands the importance of keeping in regular contact with agents and being flexible enough to attend one-off viewing days at short notice. And her negotiating skills play a key role in securing forever homes or interim rental solutions for clients.
Property searches and adaptations are tailor-made to accommodate the specific requirements of DfI’s clients – adults and children with brain and spinal injuries, as well as amputees. But the speed at which scarce properties are now being snapped up means the team will often have only a 15-minute viewing slot to decide what needs doing. The extensive OT experience of the DfI team makes quick decisions possible as everyone fully understands the care and rehabilitation that is going to be required for each client.
The property shortage and escalating building costs mean thinking outside the box is required more than ever when it comes to adapting properties for each individual client. Knowing where compromises
can safely be made to keep within budget is also vital. To keep things on track, DfI has a design and build expert who liaises with case managers, solicitors, equipment suppliers and trades people. From co-ordinating quotes and reviewing plans to supporting clients during the adaptation process, he ensures the work is completed on time and within budget.
The ‘one-stop-shop’ approach of DfI is designed to help clients and their families navigate the challenge of fifinding and adapting a home as individual as their own care and rehabilitation goals. The company has been doing just that for more than a decade, with a team that takes pride in coming up with creative solutions for even the toughest challenges.
                                 Managing Director, Anava Baruch acts as an accommodation expert under part 35 of civil law. Her background in occupational therapy gives her a holistic view of a client’s accommodation needs.
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