Properties
Buyer's Guide
Costa Tropical
Services

"True to their word, their service does not end at the point of sale: they are still looking after us."
N & Y EVANS - ALMUÑECAR
 

Glossary of Terms you will hear in Spain...

When dealing with a property either at the Inmobiliaria (Real Estate Agency), the Abogado (Lawyers office), the Gestoria (Accountants) or the Arquitecto (Architects office).

Acometida: Connection box or meter for utility supply, e.g. of electricity or water.

Acta: A document prepared by a notary to enter a property in the land register.

Adosado: Usually a semi-detached property, but can also refer to terraced town houses.

Administrador: Administrator, e.g. of a community of property owners in a community development.

Administrador de Fincas: Licensed property administrator.

Afecciones Registrales: Noted encumbrances on the property in the land register.

Agencia Estatal de Administracion Tributaria: The tax office, usually shortened to Agencia Tributaria, previously called hacienda (still the most common reference today).

Agente de Propiedad Inmobiliaria (API): Qualified and registered real estate agent.

Agrupación: Combining parcels (plots) of land either rustic or urban.

Aire acondicionado: Air-conditioning.

Albañil: Brick mason, builder or labourer.

Alcantarillado: Drainage and/or sewage system.

Aljibe: Water cistern.

Alquila: To rent - usually a property, item or vehicle.

Alta Catastral: Official value of property (calculated by the town hall and always lower than the true value).

Amueblada: a furnished property; and unfurnished is "sin muebles".

Aparcamiento: Parking, usually refers to private off-road parking in a basement secure compound and is usually a designated open-parking space.

Aparejador: An architectural engineer or surveyor; who is also the person who supervises the building of a property. Can also be used to apply to a foreman or quantity surveyor.

Apartamento: Apartment.

Apostille: An official stamp on a document that certifies the signature of the official who signed it, his capacity or office, and the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears.

Arboles: Trees.

Armario: Wardrobe.

Arras: The 10% deposit paid on a "contrato de opcion de compra" (option to purchase contract) where the contract can be cancelled by either party, with the buyer forfeiting his deposit or the vendor paying the buyer double the deposit.

Ascensor: Lift or elevator.

Asesor Fiscal: Financial or tax consultant who prepares tax returns and offers tax advice.

Ático : a top floor apartment, or attic. Popularly known as a penthouse - though technically speaking this is a "Atico de Lujo".

Ayuntamiento: City hall or town hall.

Azotea: Flat roof; or roof terrace access.

Balcón: Balcony.

Baño: Bath or bathroom.

Barbacoa: Barbecue.

Barrio: City quarter, neighbourhood, or district.

Basura: Rubbish/Garbage.

Basura y Alcantarillado: Rubbish collection and mains drainage, for which a charge is made by the local municipal council. Sometimes charged within the IBI - municipal tax - or in certain villages can appear as a charge within the water billing or be served as an independent bill by the local authority.

Boletín de Enganche: Certificate from a registered utilities fitter; a pre-condition for getting connection from the suppliers for electricity, water and gas.

Boletín de Instalaciones Eléctricas: A certificate from an officially certified electrician, who is registered within the province, stating that a property has been wired compliant with the latest EU regulations. This certificate is required before any electrical supply can be contracted from the utility company.

Bombona: Gas bottle.

Bricolaje: Do-it-yourself supplies, and general tools.

Buen estado: a state of good condition.

Calefacción: Heating.

Calidad: Quality.

Calle: Street, and most often written as C./ in the address.

Campo: In the countryside.

Cancelación: Cancellation.

Catastro: Land Office that holds all details pertaining to the Cadastral Certificate.

Catastral Referencia/Certificado:  a document from the land registry that shows the location and measurement of the property and is also used for the basis of taxation.

Certificación: Certification.

Certificado de Habitabilidad: A certificate certifying that a property can be lived in, which is issued when a building conforms with the building standards and codes. It must be issued before the electricity, water and gas supply can be connected and a contract signed.

Certificación de la Eficiencia Energética de los Edificios: the Energy Performance Certificate for a property by law since April 2013 and required both at the notary and land registry office for all prtoperty sales as of June 1 2013. The same applies also to property which is rented regardless of duration. Valid for 10 years only. 

Certificado de Empadronamiento: Certificate certifying that a person resides or owns property in a certain town. Used as the basis for census information and also required when registering children at a local school, purchasing a vehicle, etc

Certificado de Fin de Obra: Certificate provided by an architect or building engineer certifying completion of work in accordance with the building plans.

Certificado de No Residencia: Certificate confirming that you're a non-resident in Spain, a pre-requisite for all non-resident homebuyers in Spain.

Cesped: Lawn.

Chalet: Detached house or villa.

Chimenea: Fireplace, chimney.

Ciudad: Town or city.

Cocina: Kitchen, which may or may not be fitted. A fitted kitchen is often referred to as an American kitchens "cocina Americano" or "con muebles".

Codigo postal: the postal code.

Colegio: School, college or professional association. All professional occupations like legal, medical and engineers belong to a "Colegio".

Comedor: Dining room.

Comisaria: National police station where a "Numero de Identificacion de Entranjero" (NIE) can be obtained.

Comprador/a : Purchaser or buyer.

Compraventa: The pre-purchase contract; and basis of agreement between vendor and buyer before sale is presented before the public notary.

Comunidad de Propietarios: Community of owners in an urban complex of properties.

Contador: a meter usually for the supply of electricity, gas, or water.

Contrato: Contract.

Contrato de Arrendamiento: Rental contract.

Contrato de Compraventa: Sales and purchase contract.

Copia Simple: Copy of an escritura (deed) without signatures supplied by the issuing notary office.

Corredor: Broker or finder - not to be confused with un-official, non-registered property agents often found in small towns and villages.

Cortijo: Farmhouse or country house on or near a finca (farm).

Cosas comunes: The zones or areas of a community development that are owned communally i.e. pool, gardens, public terraces and halls, lifts, etc.

Cuarto: Room.

Cuarto de baño: Bathroom.

Cuota (de Participación): An owner's share (expressed as a percentage) of a community development, used to calculate the percentage of community fees due by that unit.

Declaración de Obra Nueva: Declaration and registration of a new property, extension or development to a notary and usually prepared by a registered architect.  Also used to rectify changes to older properties where there is a discrepancy between the actual size built and the size recorded at the cadastre or the last title deed.

Denuncia: A formal registered complaint made to the state's representatives, e.g. the police (Guardia Civil).

Departamento de Extranjeros: Foreign residents department, e.g. at a town hall.

Deposito: Storage tank, or deposit e.g. for water.

Derecho de Paso: Right of way.

Desván: Loft.

Division: A claim to disband a joint owner community, and/or seperate part of a larger plot of land or building.

Doble cristal: Double glazed.

Documento Informativo Abreviado de la Vivienda: An abridged detailed information document that is concerned with the property and includes an extract of the nota simple, registration, charges, price, and payment method of a property for sale. Similar to the homepack system in the UK, this document is part of newly introduced consumer law in Andalucia, and is held by an estate agent for properties available for sale.  Receipt of a copy of this document must be signed for by interested parties.

Documento Informativo para el Arrendamiento de la Vivienda: An abridged detailed information document that is concerned with the property and includes an extract of the nota simple, registration, charges, price, and payment method of a property for lease. Similar to the homepack system in the UK, this document is part of newly introduced consumer law in Andalucia, and is held by a leasing agent for properties available for lease.  Receipt of a copy of this document must be signed for by interested parties.

Domicilio fiscal: Main residence for tax purposes.

Dormitorio: Bedroom.

Dormitorio principal: Master bedroom.

Ducha: Shower.

Dúplex: an apartment on 2 floors; usually the top 2 floors of a building but can also be within a larger tower block.

Edificio: Building.

Electricidad: Electricity.

Embargo: Seizure or restriction of land or property to secure funds to pay off outstanding debts.

Empadronamiento: that is a legal process of registering yourself as citizen of the local municipality. This is particularly important if you are re-locating and need access to schools and health facilities, are purchasing a vehicle, or need to register a birth. Usually there is no charge for this document; which is an important and legislative method for a town hall to register its occupants – the numbers being the basis for regional and state funding of services like police, fire, medical provision, etc. 

Entrada: Hallway, or entrance. But the term can also refer to a non-refundable down payment on a property, the balance of which will be paid by a mortgage on completion.

Equipados: Equipped.

Escalera: Stairway.

Escritura Publica de Compraventa: the (registered) title deed of the property. This is the proof of ownership and title. It is signed by both contracting parties and by the Notary after which it should be  inscribed in the Land Registry and after all the taxes are paid, the document is stamped and buyer is given a copy.  Note that if a mortgage is taken then the bank or lending authority will also be represented in the exchange and title, they also will ensure the inscription and retain the "escritura" until the loan is paid in full. Nevertheless the buyer should still receive a copy of the title deed.

Espacio para piscina: An area or zone where a pool can be built.

Estatutos: Statutes, rules or by-laws, e.g. of a community development.

Estudio: Study, or most often a studio apartment.

Expediente de Dominio: Proof of domination, i.e. a document proving ownership of property or land when an "escritura" doesn't exist or has been lost.  The most common document used is a copy of the town hall tax contribution receipt for the property at the name(s) of the owners, and/or a document from the town hall census.

Fianza: Security payment or deposit.

Finca: Farm or farmhouse where the land is used for commercial purpose. Often confused with a cortijo or country property on the outskirts of a town or village.

Fontaneria: Plumbing.

Fosa septica: Septic tank.

Frigorifico: Refrigerator.

Fuente: Spring or fountain, as a common or privately owned source of water supply.

Garaje: Garage.

Garantía: Guarantee, warranty.

Gastos de Comunidad: Community fees.

Generador: Generator - usually to refer to an electrical supply.

Gestor: A licensed professional who acts as an intermediary between private individuals and government departments such as the tax office and social security.  They offer to prepare tax declarations, changes to vehicle ownership and registration, etc.

Guardia Civil: Civil guard responsible for serious crime, theft to a person or object, civil cases, traffic incendents, etc.

Habitación: Room.

Hacienda: Property, or farm. But also used to refer to the Federal Income tax office or Treasury, now officially replaced by the "Agencia Estatal de Administracion Tributaria", although "hacienda" is still used by most people.

Hectárea: Hectare or 10,000 square metres (2.471 acres).

Huerta: a kitchen garden, allotment or sometimes used to refer to a small plot of irrigated land.

Huerto: Orchard.

IDUFIR: Recently introduced by the National Spanish land registry it is a unique code for identifying a finca (property) as set apart from its local identification number. It is the equivalent of a DNI for property in Spain.

Impuesto Sobre el Valor Añadido (IVA): Value added tax. The current rates  in Spain are: 4% on milk and bread, 7% on food, restaurant, hotels, buying a new property (though this may vary in some regions). 18% on professional services, alcoholic drinks and commercial sales. NOTE: that as of January 2012 – the present Spanish government is  re-considering rating bands which may see increases to 20% or more.

Impuesto Sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales (ITP): Transfer tax  is the tax due by the purchaser when buying a re-sale property instead of VAT which is levied on new properties.

Impuesto Sobre Actos Jurídicos Documentados (AJD): This is a 1.2% tax on 'documented legal acts' most probably a near equivalent to the stamp duty charged in some countries.

Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles (IBI): An annual property or real estate tax charged as local rates (common ground tax) by and due to the town hall authorities. This replaced the contribucion territorial rustica/urbana; and is most often referred to as council taxes. NOTE: As of January 2012, the Spanish government has announced that it will be reviewing the IBI payment, recovery and land valuation system in general since the present system of calculation no longer reflects the present market values and an increase would considerably assist Local Authorities to raise independent finance for their towns. Many observers agree that rates will increase before the year end – possibly as much as 50% in some regions.

Impuesto Municipal Sobre el Incremento del Valor de Terrenos:  a capital gain tax usually referred to as plus valia.

Impuesto Sobre el Patrimonio: An annual wealth tax, referred to simply as "patrimonio". It is due by all property owners in Spain whether resident or non-resident.

Impuesto Sobre Sucesiones y Donaciones: Inheritance and gift tax.

Impuesto Sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas (IRPF): Annual income tax due June each year for all residents in Spain. Non-residents all year (up to 31 December) unless selling a property then they have 3 months to make fiscal declaration.

Impuesto Sobre el Patrimonio y Sobre la Renta de No Residentes: The tax declaration (form 214) for both wealth and imputed letting tax for non-residents owning property in Spain.

Impuesto Sobre Actividades Económicas (IAE): Business tax or licence for business people and professionals (which replaced the former fiscal licence).

Impuesto Sobre Construcciones, Instalaciones y Obras: Tax on the construction, installations and work levied on all building work requiring a municipal license. This local tax is determined by the local authority and ranges from less than 2-3% in the villages to as much as 6-7% in some larger towns in Andalucia.

Impuesto Sobre Sociedades: Company or Corporation Tax.

Informe Urbanístico: A certificate from the local town hall stating what can be legally constructed and size built on a plot of urban land.

Inquilino: Tenant.

Inventario: Inventory of items sold with, or included as a part of the property as fixtures and fittings. Often vendors will prefer that part of the sale price excludes this lot value; in order to reduce their capital gains tax obligation.

Invernadero: Greenhouse; often used to refer to the hot-house farms enclosed by plastic sheeting common on the south-east coast of Spain.

Jardín: Garden.

Juzgado: The local court or tribunal.

Ladrillo/ladrillos: Brick or brickwork.

Lavadero: Laundry or utility room.

Lavadora: Washing machine.

Ley: Law.

Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos: Law governing urban property rentals.

Ley de Costas: Coastal building law which governs construction in coastal areas.

Ley de Propiedad Horizontal (LPH): Law of horizontal division of a community development defining the legal rights and obligations of owners.

Ley de Suelo: Ground law.

Licencia de Apertura: Business opening licence.

Licencia Fiscal: Fiscal licence.

Licencia de Obra: Building licence for the permit to build, extend or renovate a property within a local authority or town hall.

Licencia de Primera Ocupación: Licence required for the first occupation of a building and is a document stamped and approved by the originating town hall planning department and it's architects. It is  necessary to have such a document before an electricity, water, or gas meter can be installed. Also it is needed prior to confirmation of exchange of ownership from a developer to a purchaser of an "off-plan" property, and before the bank or lending authority will issue a mortgage. Most often refrred to as a habitation license.

Llave en Mano: Ready to occupy, literally key in hand.

Localidad: Location.

Lujo/lujoso: Luxury/luxurious.

Mal estado: Dilapidated or in a bad condition.

Mantenimiento: Maintenance.

Mármol: Marble.

Memoria: a list of agreed materials and specifications for a building work; usually presented by the builder prior to work commencing.

Memoria de Calidades: Building specifications and qualities (usually for a house or project extension), and which will form a part of the architect's plans.

Metros cuadrados: Square metres.

Muebles: Furniture or generally speaking, furnishings.

Mudanza: Moving house.

Muro: Outside wall.

Nota Simple: Extract of the actual property register showing the details of the property (such as the present  owner, description, cadaster number, plot number, etc ) and whether any encumbrances (debts, mortgages, or charges) are registered against it.

Notario: A legal professional acting as a public official when signing public deeds like wills, power of attorney, mortgages, and property exchange deeds. The office of notary ensures that the law is complied with, is compliant with all the latest legal conditions and that all parties involved know exactly what they are signing.

Numero de Identificación de Extranjeros (NIE): Foreign identification number required by all non-resident property purchasers in Spain.

Numero de Identificación Fiscal (NIF): The fiscal number which all Spaniards must obtain for tax purposes. The number remains the same for their identity card and passport.

Obligación Personal: Unlimited tax obligation for residents.

Obligación Real: Limited tax obligation for non-residents.

Obra con Garantía: Works or general construction guarantee.

Ocupación Maxima: Maximum permitted roof area of a property.

Oficina de Rentas y Ventas: Sales and rental office.

Parabólica: Satellite dish.

Parcela: A building plot on urban land.

Parcialmente Construida: Partially constructed or completed.

Pared: Inside wall.

Parquet: Wooden floor.

Patrimonio: Wealth tax.

Patio interior: Central courtyard of a house.

Permiso de Obra Menor: Permission for small construction or minor works to a property obtained from the local authority or town hall.

Permiso de Obra Nueva: Permission for new construction or extensive works to a property obtained from the local authority or town hall.

Piscina: Swimming pool.

Piso: Apartment, or generally a floor of building or complex.

Plan General de Ordenación Urbana: General Urban Development Plan or town planning project.

Plan Parcial: Plan of building plots, e.g.in a community development or a municipality.

Planta: Floor.

Planta baja: Ground floor .

Plusvalía: A localized capital gains tax based on the increase in land value during the period between the property was last sold and the current exchange. The tax is due to be paid to the municipal authority or town hall within a maximum of 30 days after the exchange of ownership. It is usually the vendors responsibility to pay this local tax; and if unpaid will remain as a charge against the property.

Poder: Power of attorney or proxy, in which one or more persons gives a power to act legally on their behalf or in their absence to another specified person; usually their lawyer or legal representative in Spain. The most common types of poa are general (allowing full representation to act in all transactions), or specific (allowing only particular actions pre-defined and detailed in the said document). This act is always notarized between all parties.

Policía Municipal /Local: Municipal or local police in a small town who are responsible for local general policing of small or petty crime.

Policía Nacional: National police, based in larger towns who are responsible for managing general policing of small or petty crime, and also who act for the state in the administration of identification documents .

Potencia: Power rating of an electricity supply.

Pozo: Well.

Pozo negro: Cesspit or sewage tank - common in rural/country properties not connected to the mains drainage system.

Primera copia: Signed original of the "escritura" or a certified copy.

Propiedad: Property or possession.

Propietario: Owner of property or possession.

Pueblo blanco: White village, often used to describe the typical white-washed houses of Andalucian villages.

Puerta: Door, gate or porch entrance.

Puerta de cristal: French window, or glazed window screen.

Recaudación Municipal: Municipal property tax (rates) office.

Recaudación Provincial: Provincial tax office, e.g. for business tax.

Reformada: Reformed, and or modernised property.

Registro de la Propiedad: Land registry office where all the details of properties are kept such as ownership, debts, charges, embargoes, mortgages etc.

Rejas/Rejillas: Iron security grilles or bars often found covering windows and patio doors; a typical feature of Southern Spanish design and historically a form of security on lower floor rooms.

Renovado: Renovated.

Renta: Earnings or income.

Representante Fiscal: Official fiscal (tax) representative.

Residencia: Residence card, document or permit.

Retención: The amount of custodial tax withheld by the state tax authority in-lieu of full tax charges. Currently, as of Jan 1 2007 the amount is 3% of the sale price for all non-resident and non-fiscal resident vendors in Spain. Previously the amount sited was 5% of the sale price. NOTE: this is ONLY a provision held towards any CGT liabillity and can be reclaimed only once a tax declaration is submitted within 3 months maximum of the property ownership being exchanged.

Rustica: An agricultural property, but often used to refer to a rustic or rural dwelling or style of decoration.

Salón: Lounge, or living room.

Segregación: Seperation of a part of the property land or building.

Seguridad social: Social security department

Seguro: Insurance.

Seguro de Hogar: Household insurance cover.

Seperación a Linderos: Minimum distance between neighbouring properties.

Sistema de Seguridad: Security system, or alarm.

Sociedad Anónima (S.A.): Public limited company.

Sociedad Limitada (S.L.): Limited liability company.

Solar: Plot of land - usually an urban plot.

Solárium: Solarium, a sun roof or decking.

Sótano: Cellar, basement.

Subasta: Auction; usually of goods or property.

Suelo rustico/urbano/urbanizable: Agricultural land is "suelo rustico", building land is "suelo urbano"  and land that can be changed from agricultural to building land (usually within a local authority planning decision or motive) is"suelo urbanizable". "Suelo No Urbanizable", is land that is protected from building construction of any kind.

Taller: Workshop; i.e. carpenter, garage mechanic, soft furnishings, etc

Taller del Constructor: Builder's yard.

Tasas: Rates.

Tejado: Roof.

Temporada: Temporary or short term, usually used to refer to a seasonal, or short term, property rental contract.

Termo: Water heater.

Terreno: Land, plot.

Terreno Rústico: Agricultural or rural land.

Testamento: Will.

Todos los gastos: All fees or charges, for example - in a property purchase contract.

Tranquilo: Quiet or peaceful area or situation.

Traspaso: Leasehold or the transfer of a property lease contract; usually a small business e.g. bar or restuarant.

Trastero: Storage room.

Urbanización: Urbanisation or housing estate; a community development of various properties within the same environ or modular complex.

Vado Permanente: No parking zone, usually in front of a private entrance or garage.  A licensed and plated (plaque) contracted to the owner by the local authority that gives the owner the right to remove at any time any vehicle that is blocking the right of way to their property.

Valor Catastral: The fiscal or ratable value of a property fixed by the provincial government and local municipality, and upon which local government property taxes (IBI) are calculated.

Valor Comprobado por la Administración: Assumed value of a property, as a baseline for the calculation of property tax by the Treasury.

Valor Real: Actual or real value of a property or estate; commonly known as the market price.

Vallado: Fenced in, as in a garden zone.

Vecindad: Neighbourhood.

Vende: Sale; or "se vende" for sale.

Vendedor/a: Vendor or seller.

Ventana: Window.

Viejo/a: Old.

Vigas de madera: Wooden beams, or a decorative beamed ceiling.

Vivero: Garden centre.

Vivienda de Protección Oficial (VPO): Official Protected housing, or government subsidised housing. Usually refers to council housing or property(ies) that were given a local authority grant provision to encourage first time ownership. Often a qualification to a property that is valid for up to 30 years. NOTE: If you are considering purchasing such a property then it is extremely important to obtain independent legal advice for such a purchase as issues concerning the actual sale price, right to sell, access and title can be compromised.

Vivienda: Dwelling.

Vivienda habitual: Primary or main residence.

Zona verde: Green zone

 

At the Bank (Banco), or dealing with your banker...

Amortización: Repayment of the initial loan amount by installment including the capital and interest usually for a monthly mortgage payment.

Cambio: Exchange, but also used to refer to the currency exchange rate, or small change.

Cargos: Costs or charges on an account.

Certificado de Bancario de Divisas: Certificate from the bank that the price of property purchase was paid from your account.

Cuenta corriente: Bank current account or commonly known as a cheque account.

Domiciliación de pagos: Standing order account directive, e.g. for payment of utility bills.

Domiciliación bancaria: Direct debit.

Fecha: Date.

Gastos: Fees or expenses for services.

Euribor: European Inter- Bank Offered Rate, which is based on the official designated interest rate for the Euro and is published by the European Central Bank.

Hipoteca: Mortgage and is such a transaction that will be notarized and which will be recorded with the Land and Property register.

Honorarios: Fees.

Indice de Referencia de Prestamos Hipotecarios- IRPH:  is the rate used for variable mortgages published by the Banco de España.

Importe: Amount.

Impuesto: Tax.

Mensualidad: Monthly payment for a mortgage.

Recargo: Surcharge.

Saldo: Account balance.

Señal: Deposit.

Tasa: Fee.

Tasa Anual Equivalente (TAE): The effective annual interest rate, e.g. for a mortgage, after interest is compounded and all commission and fees are included.

Tipo de interés: Interest rate type.

Transferencia: Banker's order or transfer.

 

Other useful words that you may come across...

Almuerzo: Lunchtime that in Spain is usually between 2 and 4pm when most offices, banks, government departments and shops will be closed. Banks and government departments close their doors after that time and do not re-open them until the next day - however most are still available for telephone contact only up to 5 or 6pm.

Cena: Dinner, or evening meal.

Desayuno: Breakfast.

Estanco: A tobacconist, but also sells stamps, state papers, official documents and rental contracts.

Factura: Final bill for payment and usually includes the addition of the iva (vat) payment. An invoice is known as an "albaran" and also used to refer to a delivery note.

Ferretería: Hardware store or ironmongers.

Ocasión: Bargain, special offer.

Papel del Estado: Tax stamped papers (literally means a 'state paper') issued in various numbered denominations and sold for the purpose of making official payments or contracts to government offices, e.g. to apply for a residence permit. They are available in "estancos" - tabaconists.

Peligro: Danger or warning.

Precio: Price.

Presupuesto: Estimate.

Recibo: Receipt.

Seguro de viaje: Travel insurance.