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Anyone bought a house with a view to adding a granny annexe?

(12 Posts)
shockedballoon Tue 12-Jan-16 17:39:12

So, the big plan is: DM has sold her house and bought a 1 bed retirement flat. We are currently tarting up our 3 bed tce to sell.

Equity from house + bigger mortgage (ours is currently tiny) + proceeds from DM's house is to buy us a bigger house with better chance of decent secondary school that DM can have her own seperate space in, for when her health (which is not great) deteriorates and she needs more support. (Currently lives ~70 miles away)

Anyone done this or similar? Any property pitfalls etc to look out for?
Is it better/cheaper /easier to go for a property with a big garden and get a prefab annexe or to build on the house?

We've had a sensible discussion about ground rules and boundaries and DM and myself are definitely on the same page. DM definitely wants to be as independent as possible and I am an occupational therapist so have an idea of space &design requirements etc for single person with largely age related medical conditions. Not much clue about builders & planning permissions etc though!

All advice & experiences welcome! Feeling a bit daunted...

wowfudge Tue 12-Jan-16 21:41:59

Friends did this. They bought a detached house on a large plot, knocked down the single storey garage to one side and built a bungalow (2 bed) on the garden to the side, with a path between the two houses for elderly parents.

The houses are completely separate and the plot is capable of complete division to allow for either house to be sold separately with its own gardens. At the moment some of the garden/access is shared.

The main house did need quite a bit of work and it's taken some time. The bungalow was up in no time once they had planning permission though.

wowfudge Tue 12-Jan-16 21:43:41

Dreadful grammar there - the path wasn't for elderly parents, the bungalow was!

BlackGirlAndRobin Tue 12-Jan-16 21:50:33

I think the only thing to be mindful of is that if you need planning, nothing is guaranteed.

We bought a house with a large garden with the intention of putting an outbuilding in the garden and we were refused permission. No to say that you will, just maybe have a plan A, B & C! In our case we'll get there in the end, It's just going to cost is a lot more than we'd originally anticipated a straight forward approval would.

teacherwith2kids Tue 12-Jan-16 21:51:09

The planning permission round this can be a little exciting (exploring adding granny annexe to current house in footprint of garage).

If it will only every be 'ancillary' to the main house - as in, only for your relatives [or, oddly, domestic servants!] to live in, then the situation is relatively straightforward. However, it is much harder to get planning permission to create an annexe that might at any point have a separate use - our garage is falling down, so we want to build the annexe now, let it out for a few years as a small separate flatlet, then use it for granny in the future. Locally, that is much harder to get permission for, and certainly wowfudge's development would not be allowed in our road.

We have a longer term 'what to use it for before / during / after plan', and a long chat with a local planning person was helpful in clarifying that we MIGHT get permission but only with a 'unilateral declaration of something or other' to say we never intend to sell the two bits separately, which is a condition that would end up being on any permission we got IYSWIM?

ajandjjmum Tue 12-Jan-16 21:52:36

We didn't buy for this purpose, but we did build a separate home for DM when my Dad died. She was determined to have her own front door - the only link between us is through a shared laundry, and it's a very well worn path. smile

Mum has been with us for over 12 years now. She is amazing, very respectful of our privacy, we've benefitted from her great cooking and general help, and the DC have a wonderful relationship with her.

clh18 Tue 12-Jan-16 22:06:37

We bought a house with annex of sorts attached and completely refurbed it. Have a large shared garden which mum and my husband both love and lots of sheds! Also share a utility which is really useful. Both have own front door garage but also pay two lots of council tax two phones separate elec and gas. Though oddly the water is joint. Lots and lots of pluses for us and my children love it. They wonder through for nana cuddles in the morning. Occasionally things flare up but 2 years on its all much better. Living altogether during the refurb of the annex and our kitchen was stressful though! Good luck with it all.

Melrose01 Thu 28-Dec-17 09:20:21

We bought a lovely four bed bungalow with superb one bed annexe near Wisbech but as mum now needs to be in a retirement home with full time support we are selling our home to downsize....ah well. It worked very well while we needed it and Gorefield is such a nice village with excellent school, gastrointestinal pub, church, friendly village shop.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Thu 28-Dec-17 11:59:16

The only potential problem I can see (have heard of it happening more than once) is if the older person should develop dementia. Typically they will then - no matter what you say or do - fail to understand or remember that they should mostly stay in their own space, and be in and out at all hours of the day and night, wanting help e.g. because this or that isn't working (because they are endlessly fiddling/switching things off) or they are mistaking the phone for the TV remote, or 'someone' has stolen this or that - which they have hidden and can't remember having done so.

If and when family can no longer cope, and the care home question finally looms, and there is not enough cash to pay the fees, social services are apt to take a dim view of the fact that the person's own funds have been used (as they see it) to make a substantial and valuable addition to your own house. They may require it to be sold in order to fund care home fees.

I know this scenario is going to happen in only a minority of cases, but it can cause real headaches and is worth bearing in mind.

SkyIsTooHigh Thu 28-Dec-17 14:50:32

My parents did this. Pitfalls were (1) some trouble with council tax - council said it was 2 dwellings, my parents said it was 1. (2) my mum found it very wearing and stressful that her ILs would keep appearing when she was in her dressing gown, felt she always had to be guest ready etc. They really did try to be clear about boundaries and had discussed it before but the reality was quite difficult. Us children and my dad weren't affected but it was v hard on my mum. (3) an annexe can be expensive to build and might add very little to the main house's value. That's fine as long as you go into that with your eyes open. My GPs left nothing in their wills for my side of the family because they felt they'd "gifted" us the annexe. My dad felt the house was worth the same with or without it. It's not like he helped for the money AT ALL but it felt like a real slap in the face after many years of caring for her, he felt he was effectively written out of the will, in favour of his sibs who had been overseas and no help at all.

BubblesBuddy Thu 28-Dec-17 15:27:25

Friends of mine built their own house in the garden of their parents’ bungalow. Separate homes and separate ownership. Just a gate between the two. However, money was available for both parties to have the homes they wanted. No-one started off with a one bedroom property. Also pp not an issue in their location.

A prefab in the garden is unsuitable in my view. A bit of a garden room and not very good all year round. You would not get pp for a separate dwelling (that can be sold independently of the main house) where I live either so check what the Council will allow.

If the annexe has a separate entrance it can be classed as a separate dwelling so Council tax is levied on both. If it’s a lounge, kitchen and bedroom accessed through the main house, it’s part of the main house. However care Home fees avoidance may be an issue. Keeping totally separate makes more sense. Maybe move to the same location?

Alternatively, we have a garage with a flat over it. There are planning restrictions on the flat. Member of staff (nanny) or a relative. It cannot be sold separately from the main house. For an elderly person you could put in a lift. It is a floor above a 3 car garage with access via a staircase.

Melrose01 Sun 07-Jan-18 09:44:24

Thanks to all for interesting responses. Luckily our Annexe does not have a separate kitchen and so the whole property is classified as one for council tax. We love the property and the area but have decided to move now that mum is no longer with us and we do need some extra funds now as full time care home is very expensive. Also a good time to move closer to the rest of our four bed bungalow with lovely one bedroom adjoining Annexe in Gorefield near Wisbech looking for a new owner to enjoy it.

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