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Tuesday, 25 February 2014 00:00

Gran Canaria Property: Spanish Property Glossary Of Useful Words

One man's palace: Gran Canaria property glossary One man's palace: Gran Canaria property glossary

Estate agents all over the world have their own vocabulary for describing the good, the bad and the ugly bits of the properties they sell: Here's our guide to the most common real estate terms used in Gran Canaria. They are equally valid across the Canary Islands and in Spain.


Abogado: Lawyer. There is no distinction in Spain between barristers and solicitors.

Adosado: Terraced

A dos aguas: V-shaped roof, normally tiled

Ammueblado: Furnished

Apartamento: Modern flat with open plan living area

Atico: Penthouse or thereabouts

A estrenar: Brand new or thereabouts. Probably finished

Amueblada: Furnished

A reformar: A wreck

Azotea transitable: Flat roof

Alto estándar de calidades: Acceptable to good fixtures and fittings

Armarios empotrados: Built in wardrobes

Arras: The contract you sign that commits you to buying a property. At this point you'd pay a 10% deposit

Aval: Bank guarantee; Spanish banks sometimes ask younger buyers for a guarantor who will back up their mortgage loan. 

Buenas comunicaciones: On a main road

Buen estado: Needs superficial work such as plastering, etc

Bungalow: One storey, detached holiday cottage on a complex in a tourist resort.

Cargas: Debts of unpaid taxes attached to a property rather than its owner. The notary will inform you of any cargas when you buy a property. A property free of charges is 'libre de cargas'. 

Casa Rural: Rural house or farmhouse. Often run down and without electricity or water and with an angry goat

Casa de campo: Two goats in the garden

Chalet: Can be anything from a Swiss-style home to a hideous concrete monstrosity with no roof. Assume the latter until you see the photos

Certificado energético: Silly EU energy certificate that you must have to sell a property

Certificado energético en trámite: Owners hasn't paid for the silly EU energy certificate (yet)

Communidad: Monthly community costs for maintenance, insurance, etc

Communidad de propietarios: The community of owners of a residential building, complex or condominium

Coqueto: Minuscule

Cocina americana: Breakfast bar 

Cocina office: Open plan kitchen

Con posibilidad de garaje: No parking space. Owner's cousin knows a fellow who might have one

Duplex: Two-storey terraced house, normally on a development

Entresuelo: Mezzanine

Exterior: Has windows that face the street

En construción: About to be started

Escritura: The property deeds

Escritura pública de compraventa: The title deeds that prove that you have bought a property

Estudio: Studio

EURIBOR: The Euro Interbank Offered Rate used as the base interest rate for Spanish mortgages (before the bank adds its own percentage)

Exclusivas zonas comunes: Posh communal areas so very high community costs

Extension: Illegal extension

Finca: Farm or rural land 

Gran potencial de alquiler: Might be rentable

IBI or Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles: Annual property tax leveled by the local authorities. Calculated as a percentage of the Cadastral value of the land your property sits on

Impuesto sobre el patrimonio: Capital gains tax

Interior: Interior flat with windows facing a patio.

Lista para entrar a vivir: Liveable in 

Liciéncia de explotación turística or Vivienda Vacacional: Has a tourist rental license 

Liciencia de obra: Building license

Local: Commercial property

Loft: Property on a high floor with more than one window

Luminoso: Bright. Used to describe all properties with more than one window

Muy céntrica: Right in the middle of town/the resort. Expect noise

Muchas alternativas: Bizarre layout

Muchas posibilidades: Has potential but the agent can't quite work out how

Notario: Where you go to sign on the dotted line when you buy or sell a property. The notary's job is to make sure everyone understands what is in the contract (and that it is legal).

Opportunidad/Ocasión: Cheap for a good reason

Parcialmente amueblada: Owner is leaving you his unwanted furniture

Patio interior: Interior patio with half-dried clothes fallen from above all over it. Noise funnel. Good way to meet the neighbours.

Plaza de garaje: Parking spot in the building

Primera linea: Frontline (can refer to the building rather than your apartment)

Promoción: New build or off-plan development. Almost certainly unfinished

Posibilidades: A wreck

Piso: Bog standard flat

Piscina: Swimming pool

Piscina comunal: Shared swimming pool

Piscina climatizada: Heated pool

Preinstalación: Wires sticking out of the wall where you could install AC or heating

Reducido: Price has been reduced (but was probably overpriced to start with)

Rustica: Remote and abandoned

Semisotano: Basement property with a window

Señorial: Stately and going to cost you a fortune to maintain.

Sin amueblar: Unfurnished

Sobre plano: Off plan (Spanish law is very strict about how these are sold and how your money is protected)

Solar: Plot of land

Salón-cocina: Open plan kitchen and living room

Solana: Flat patch of roof

Tranquilo: If rural; remote. If urban: The quietest property in a noisy area

Triplex: Three-storey terraced house, normally on a development

Tendedero: Washing line

Ultima unidad: Last and worst property left on a development

Vestíbulo: Dressing room or large walk-in wardrobe

Vistas al mar: you can see the sea 

Vistas hácia el mar: You can almost see the sea

Vistas laterales al mar: You can see the sea by leaning out of the window and craning your neck. 

Vivienda Vacacional: Property with a tourist rental license

WC: Inexplicably small bathroom

Zonas comunes bien cuidadas: High community fees

Zona exclusiva: Posh barrio

Zona residencial: Not for tourists


For more information on the Gran Canaria property market, please visit our property section (relax, we're not estate agents).


Published in Property