Spain is a popular market for buying property, particularly the south of Spain where properties offer excellent all-year climate, are located near the coast or within lively towns and yet are still affordable – especially in comparison to northern European prices.

Although it is likely that for final negotiations, many buyers will eventually recruit an agent who is fluent in both languages, it is nonetheless worthwhile preparing yourself adequately for viewings so that you can ask an estate agent suitable questions.

The same applies to those wishing to rent property in Spain for holidays, academic study or work, the latter most likely taking place in the larger cities such as Madrid, Granada, Bilbao or Barcelona.

Where to find Spanish property online?

A good place to start looking at anuncios (adverts) is idealista.es

On the homepage you will be confronted with a number of options:

  • comprar – to buy
  • alquilar – to rent
  • compartir – to share (i.e. flat shares)

You will then see:

  • obra nueva – new builds only
  • viviendas – housing (this includes flats and houses)
  • vacacional – vacation (holiday homes)
  • habitación – rooms
  • oficinas – offices / office space
  • locales o naves – commercial lettings
  • garajes – garages
  • terrenos – plots of land (for construction)

Some key aspects you may find in the property description are:

3. piso / 3. planta – third floor
reformado / rehabilitado – renovated
para reformar – needs renovation
para estrenar – literally to be used for the first time (can refer to newbuilds and renovations)
luminoso – light / luminous
con / sin ascensor – with / without elevator
¡oportunidad! – opportunity

Viewing a property

In Spain, it is typical to discuss square meterage (unlike Britain) and prices are often quoted per square metre.

¿Cuántos metros cuadrados tiene la casa?
How many square metres does this house have?

60 m² construidos, 53 m² útiles.
60 square metres of which 53 are usable (remainder either low roof or outside)

¿Cuántas habitaciones tiene el piso?
How many bedrooms does the apartment have?

¿Cuánto mide esta habitación?
What is the size of this bedroom?

Orientation is a key factor in any property as it determines the time and amount of direct sunlight, even in a sunny country such as Spain.

¿Qué orientación tiene la casa?
What is the orientation of the house?

Norte, sur, este o oeste
North, south, east or west

General questions about the property

¿Cuánto tiempo lleva en venta?
How long has it been on the market?

¿De qué año es la construcción?
What is the year of construction?

¿La cocina es de gas or eléctrica?
Is the hob gas or electric? (cocina also means kitchen)

¿Qué tipo de calefacción tiene?
What type of heating does it have?

¿Cuánto son los gastos de comunidad?
What are the service charges?
This normally includes the upkeep of common spaces.

Useful phrases for rentals

¿El alquiler incluye gastos?
Does the rent include charges? (i.e. electricity, heating, etc.)

¿Cuánto es la fianza?
How much is the deposit?

¿Está amueblado?
Is it furnished?

¿La cocina está equipada?
Is the kitchen equipped? i.e. does the flat come with a kitchen and utilities.

¿Cuándo estaría disponible?
When would it be available?

¿Cuál duración mínima del contrato?
What is the minimum length of the contract?

Concluding a visit

A recent article indicated that, despite a house purchase being the biggest investment in our lives, the average property purchase takes less than seventeen minutes to go ahead!

If you are interested in taking things further you might wish to say:

Estaremos en contacto muy pronto.
We will be in contact very soon.

In case you are not too interested:

No es lo que buscamos.
It’s not what we are looking for.

Me lo pensaré.
I’ll think about it. (a favourite for the English!)

For those wishing to know more about the market, then we recommend downloading the “A Guide to Buying in Spain” by A place in the Sun.