Keen for your new place in the sun to have independent living space for visiting friends and family, or somewhere for elderly parents to cohabit alongside you? For vacant periods, you could even let your extra accommodation to holidaymakers. Here are some ideas and a pick of exciting properties that offer just that…

Villa in Cyprus with integral annex

The purpose-built annexe
Not just for ‘grannies’, annexes can be part of the main residence or set apart in the grounds of a property. Frequently, they occupy one level of a house or villa, often the ground-floor, but can also be latched on to the side of the main residence. The key thing is they are self-contained and include their own front door,  kitchen and living area, so that the occupants can live independently.

This modern three-bedroom house in a private spot in Charente, France, was built with a two-bedroom wing, complete with its own terrace! Or try this villa in the trendy Costa Blanca resort of Jávea – split between a four-bedroom main living area and two-bedroom apartment below.

Purpose-built chalets or timber-framed cabins can also be used for self-contained accommodation, and come in all styles and formats. The newest ones have the advantage of being constructed using modern, energy-efficient materials, and designed according to the owner’s exact requirements. With these, just remember to check planning status, foundations, water and service connections, and sewerage.

Villa in Murcia with under-build annex

The under-build
It’s common, especially in Spain, for villas to be built with an under-build or large basement. New owners can choose to use this space as a garage or games room, or keep it for storage, but equally popular is having it transformed into extra, self-contained living accommodation or annex.

This could even be done at a later date, once you’d moved in. When considering one, just be sure it meets all local planning and building regulations and check there is adequate ventilation, to avoid damp problems.

A great example is this villa in the southern Costa Blanca, near Algorfa village and next to La Finca Golf. It has a large under-build used as a spacious two-bed apartment.

French farmhouse in Limousin with self-contained gîte

Restored outbuildings
Old character homes in the countryside, usually old farmhouses or cottages, often come with outbuildings and barns that are ideal for being converted into extra accommodation. France is one of the best places to hunt for this type of property, while Italy shouldn’t disappoint either. Fans of traditional houses, with authentic features and period style, and which typically come with a bit of land, usually opt for these!

This stone country house in the rolling hills of Tuscany comes with two extra living spaces – a granny flat in the main residence and converted outbuilding!

The project!
A final option is to buy a ‘work in progress’. This could be a property that comes with the potential to create an annex or independent apartment, such as an unused outbuilding or empty under-build.

French cottage with old forge for converting

Often a previous owner has only got halfway through a conversion, before deciding to sell. We’ve found a charming villa in Puglia, southern Italy, which comes with half-completed three-room annex.


Written by Overseas Guides Company.

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