True Forever Homes Need Futureproofing

Dallas developer focuses on making houses suitable for aging in place

When his father in-law became confined to an assisted living facility, local real estate developer Robert Bruner had a wake-up call. 

Having seen firsthand the detrimental effects of not being able to use your own home, Bruner wondered if there was any alternative to the liabilities of old age and the limitations of compromised mobility. 

He wondered if there was a way to add longevity to the livability of homes and create spaces people could enjoy long after reaching old age. 

“When my father-in-law took a bad fall a couple of years ago, things went downhill for him,” Bruner said. “He broke his hip and suddenly his home was unusable for his day-today needs. He had to move into a nursing home, which separated him from his wife. She couldn’t drive too much, and it was just a tragic way to spend the latter part of his life. This is really what gave me the idea to change the way we think about our homes.” 

Unfortunately, accessibility is often overlooked when purchasing a home. Many homebuyers, swept up in sleek design preferences or immersed in interest rate drama, may disregard the future practicality of their impending purchase. Sure, this may make no immediate difference, but as they inevitably age, their home could become more of a hurdle than a haven. 

Recognizing this, Bruner, who was working in commercial real estate development, decided to pivot his business priorities. Eventually, he and Margie began developing “Forever Homes” to help residents transition into their golden years without giving up their homes for assisted living facilities or retirement communities.  

“If you want to be able to age gracefully in your own home, you must realize what all is needed and make sure certain features are built in,” he said. “Things like level garages, elevators, and curbless showers are all necessary for those with mobility issues. They’re almost impossible to retrofit after the home is built.” 

The Bruners ensure all the homes they’re currently developing are equipped with components that will not only make things easier today but will also allow homeowners to make modifications when the time comes. For instance, they add special studs for shower rails without installing them until they’re needed.  

In just a few years, the Bruners have developed several custom forever homes. They hope that creating these properties will help residents avoid scenarios where someone is forced into a retirement or assisted living community. 

“It’s one of the things many don’t necessarily consider when purchasing a home,” he said. “However, now that we’re able to offer these options, we feel interest will increase as buyers consider the long-term advantages of buying a home and being able to use it for the rest of their lives.”

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