Article by David Brydon

Deciding to buy a second home in a country like Spain is a win-win situation. With such a fantastic climate almost all year round, and an endless supply of coastline, the Spanish “costas” are a favourite for many. But how about moving inland? Here’s a glossary of Real Estate terms you’ll need to know if you’re looking for a property away from the coast or city.

Spain on a whole is famous for its beaches, sunshine and coastline. Each year, millions of tourists flood the Iberian Peninsula to bask in the Spanish sunshine, and enjoy their holidays. The Spanish themselves are known to holiday mainly within their won country, and it’s no surprise to see many foreigners retiring in Spain and the adjoining islands. There is another side of Spain, however, which offers equally as rich an experience, and often a pretty bargain compared to the high rise prices of cities like Barcelona and Madrid, or the popular coasts such as the Costa del Sol – inland Spain.

Spain is a huge country with some fabulous landscapes. Buying a country or suburban home can be a dream come true for many – who can exchange a city apartment for a detached house with a garden and pool in the middle of the countryside. First and foremost, you’ll be given a hefty portfolio of properties to skim through, and the names and categories of these properties can often be confusing. Well, here are the basics when looking out for those properties.

The first thing you might want to look out for, if you’re in the hunt for a bargain is a plot of land to build on. This is known as a “terreno” or if it is within an already-urbanised area (i.e. with street lamps, municipal services such as refuse collection, etc.) a “parcela”. These can present fantastic opportunities, as you literally have a blank canvas to begin working on. This usually often works out a lot cheaper than buying a property which you would like to renovate, or a construction which already lies on such a terrain.

A “Casa” is a house, which can be on its own plot of land (parcela/terreno), adjoined, or within an urbanisation. Casa will vary in size and dimensions, but mostly refer to a two-storey edifice, which is more than one room wide – i.e. it has divisions. Often you may her the term “Torre”, which although literally translates as “tower”, doe not reflect on the prospective height of the property in question. A torre, is simply a house of more than one floor, which is located on it’s own land, exactly the same as a house.

A “Chalet/Chalé” is similar to a house in that it can be stand-alone, or adjoined, but chalets are usually two-storey dwellings, often side by side in a street-like formation. Many second holiday homes for Spanish residents are chalets, and the main difference between that and a house is the size – chalets can be compared to studio-style city apartments, and usually are “2 up 2 down” type properties, with no room for extensions or expansion.

“Masias” fall under a fairly broad category in real estate terms, but specifically refer to those buildings located on farms or vineyards and used for sleeping and housing. They are typically large, and often have earthy features to them, taking advantage of local building materials such as stones, and wooden beams. Many Masias have natural log fires, and can be completely independent from any external fuel or electricity supply. They are a real gem to find, and due to the scarcity of these properties, they tend to go at a high price – although buying a dilapidated Masia, and restoring, can not only be a fantastically rewarding experience, but also a sound investment.

About the Author

David Brydon has been living in Barcelona, Spain for 10 years and writes for Luxury Barcelona Real Estate Agents Modus Vivendi, who have a wide portfolio of Loft Rentals in Barcelona too.