Tenants will find it easier to look for a home that is wheelchair-friendly with one network that’s increasing its messaging around the important amenity.
One Agency will now display a wheelchair icon in its social and digital marketing for properties that are deemed to be accessible, to make the search process easier for wheelchair users.
In the future, it is aiming to add the icon to all its online listings so that users can filter searches for appropriate properties, though the group noted that listing portals’ capabilities are currently stymying those plans.
“This is a much bigger technical challenge that requires input from the property portals,” the group said in a release.
A wheelchair-friendly property is one that has features such as wide doors, large bathrooms, and the ability to enter and navigate the property without stairs.
The company’s founder and chief executive Paul Davies said he became aware of how difficult it was to search for a property that’s appropriate for a wheelchair user when army veteran Tahnee Barnes brought it to his attention.
Ms Barnes, who works with veterans with mental illnesses and disabilities, approached the group to see if there were any changes that could be made to help people with disabilities in their property search.
It opened Mr Davies’ eyes to the challenges they face in finding housing.
“Wheelchair users are up against it from the moment they look at online listings, because although you can filter for things like sheds, balconies and even spas, you can’t filter to find out whether a home is suitable for someone who uses a wheelchair,” he said.
He urged people in the industry to “think about how tiring and exclusionary it must feel to visit property after property, only to discover you might not even be able to get through the front door”.
And he charged real estate’s digital infrastructure to step up in this department.
“The biggest thing we as an industry can do to address this problem is to introduce wheelchair-friendly filtering to property portals. Until then, we can use wheelchair icons on our social and digital marketing. This is a small change that can make a big improvement to the property searching experience for a significant number of Australians.
“Now that I’m aware of the missing functionality on property marketing platforms, we’d like to encourage the major portals and CRM providers to add mobility filters for all users,” Mr Davies said.
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Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.