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Glossary

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We are fluent in Spanish and English so you’re always in safe hands with us if your Spanish is not as good it could be. But there are a number of property-related Spanish terms that are useful, so we’ve constructed this little property glossary.


Property glossary

Abogado – lawyer/solicitor. If you don’t have a legal advisor in Spain, look here.

Catastral (referencia catastral) – the number that refers to the position/coordinates/boundaries of a property in the land register.

Cala – beach surrounded by mountains, hills or cliffs. Some are rocky, like Cala Deia or Cala Llucalcari, others are sandy.

Cargas – charges and encumbrances such as mortgages, rights of way and so on.

Cedula de habitabilidad – a certificate that proves a property is licensed to be lived in.

Contrato de arras – the private contract between a buy and seller. If a seller pulls out they have to refund twice the deposit paid.

Denuncia – a legal statement or formal complaint.

Empadronamiento – residency.

Escritura de compravent – the deed of purchase showing the details of an acquisition including the buyers and sellers information as well as price and terms.

Escritura de propiedad – the property deed, including details like the size and layout of a house, its outside space and location.

Final d’obra – final sign-off on a construction project to approve that it is as was set out in the plans.

Finca – farmhouse.

Hacienda – Spanish tax office/inland revenue. More information on costs when buying property in Spain.

Hipoteca – mortgage.

IBI – impuestos de bienes inmuebles or local authority rates.
Impuesto de sucesiones – inheritance tax.

Licencia de alquiler – rental license needed to rent out your property. Read more in our extensive FAQ on the subject.

NIE – the individual fiscal number for a non-Spaniard needed to buy a property.

Nota simple – a record from the land registry that details the owner of a property and any mortgages outstanding or charges.

Notario – a professional person who certifies documents as legal in the eyes of the law.

Obras menor – small or minor refurbishment works including simple aesthetic repair work than structural alteration.

Obra mayor – major refurbishment work that includes major changes to the internal and external structures of a building.

Parcela – a plot of land.

Piso – flat or apartment.

Registro de la propriedad – the Spanish property register.

Rustico – agricultural land.

Servidumbre – right of way.

Suelo rústico – agricultural/rustic land.

Unidad de actuación – an area or group of plots where the right to further development is reserved.

Usufructo – the right to live in or use a certain property.

Valor catastral – the value of property or land as calculated by the town hall.


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