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Buying with Parents? Properties with Annexes: Here’s What to Look For

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Thu 16 Sep 2021

Buying with Parents? Properties with Annexes: Here’s What to Look For

Multigenerational living is becoming hugely popular in the UK.

Many older people are choosing to purchase property with their children during their retirement and this is for a variety of reasons, including care needs, financial incentives, or logistical purposes.

If your parents don’t need the structure and routine of a care home but could benefit from a helping hand from time to time, an annexe can provide an excellent solution.  

What Is an Annexe?

An annexe is a self-contained building on the land of another property.

The annexe will often have the same address as the primary residence but will have its own living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. Annexes, (sometimes referred to as granny flats) are commonly used to house elderly relatives, but are sometimes alternatively occupied by teenagers or young adults who require a little more privacy.

The Benefits of an Annexe

First, an annexe allows the occupiers to remain independent.

Your parents may be perfectly fine carrying out their regular daily routine, but lack the ability to maintain a large home. An annexe allows them to live independently whilst knowing you are just a stone’s throw away when needed.

Moreover, relatives can decorate the property precisely as they wish, making it feel homely and permanent.

Additionally, multigenerational living brings the whole family together. Most modern families do not get the opportunity to spend as much time together as they wish. Busy lives often get in the way, but an annexe makes quality family time much more straightforward.

Buying v Building an Annex

Many would love the freedom to build an annexe on their property without the stress of moving house. However, the costs and logistics of this can cause a whole host of problems.

The required space, cost of planning permission, and availability of tradespeople present barriers for those hoping to build an annexe on their land. However, building your own allows you to create a structure bespoke to your family’s needs, complete with the facilities your relatives will benefit from.

Of course, properties with annexes are significantly more expensive than without. However, purchasing a ready-made home perfect for your multigenerational household is infinitely less stressful.

Financial Implications

Firstly, purchasing a home with family can present awkward conversations. You might not be in the same financial position as each other, so setting a budget is often challenging. Speaking with a mortgage advisor is always recommended at this point.

Although an annexe is technically a second home on the same plot, it does not attract the additional 3% stamp duty surcharge. This is a significant saving in comparison to purchasing two independent properties.

Additionally, there will be substantially less council tax payable. Some authorities offer a 100% discount for annexes, whereas others apply a 50% reduction. 

What to Look For in an Annexe
Proximity to the Main Property

This will depend on the personal preferences of yourself and your parents. For example, some opt for annexes connected to the main property, whereas others prefer a substantial distance between the structures!

The closer the building, the easier it is to provide support, whereas a little more distance will allow for greater privacy.

Enough Space

Your parents are moving into an annexe to allow them to retain independence, and therefore having enough space to enjoy their life is crucial. There should be ample room for them to live comfortably and store their belongings.

If the property is too small, it can feel like a hotel, meaning your family will be reluctant to move.

Shared Bills

A shared water and electricity bill will simplify matters when purchasing a home with your parents. So, when viewing properties, be sure to check that this is the case.

Where an annexe was originally built for private tenants, the bills are often disconnected from each other. Where this is true, speak with the current owners and discuss how you could have this amended.

Accessibility

You are potentially purchasing a property with an annexe for your parents to live in because they can no longer look after themselves completely. Therefore accessibility is of evident importance. This might include wheelchair access or appropriate facilities in the bathroom.

Purpose Built v Add On

When purchasing a home with an already built annexe, you must learn whether this is a purpose-built home or a conversion. Where the annexe is a garage or outhouse conversion, it might not be created to a high enough standard to home your elderly relatives.

Converted structures cannot regulate temperature well, which can render them almost useless as a permanent living solution.

We’re here to help

Even though it may sound daunting, with our help, we can make the process of finding a suitable property for you and your family as easy as possible for you. At Langford Rae Property Agents, we provide expert help, guidance and support every step of the way.

To start the conversation, get in touch with us today by calling 01689862770 or via email at chelsfield@langford-rae.co.uk.