ELE: Real Estate Types

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Alquería

Alquería | Farmhouse
Alquería | Farmhouse
El Machistre: Horchata Museum
El Machistre: Horchata Museum
Alquería del Moro, Valencia
Alquería del Moro, Valencia

The term alquería derives from the Arabic word al-qarīa, meaning village or hamlet. In Al-Andalus, it referred to small rural communities that were located near medinas (cities). Since the 15th century, alquerías have been farmhouses with agricultural lands that were inhabited by rural lords. They are mainly found in the east and southeast of Spain, and there are two main kinds of alquerías: Valencian and Grenadine. Many of the alquerías have vanished due to depopulation and abandonment. Those that remain have been converted to the hotel industry and rural tourism, offering services such as lodging, restaurants, cultural centers, museums, or workshops.

Apartamento or Piso

Apartamento, Piso | Flat
Apartamento, Piso | Flat
Apartamento, Piso | Flat
Apartamento, Piso | Flat
Apartamento, Piso | Flat
Apartamento, Piso | Flat

Apartamento is an apartment (AE) or flat (BE), a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building, usually on one floor. In Spain, we often use apartamento to refer to small flats with a single room, separate from the rest of the house, and piso as a colloquial and commercial term for housing or floor. Apartamentos are suitable for couples, singles or investors, while pisos are ideal for families as they consist of a set of rooms that form an independent dwelling in a multi-story building.

Ático, Buhardilla, and Desván

Ático | Attic / Penthouse
Ático | Attic / Penthouse
Ático | Attic / Penthouse
Ático | Attic / Penthouse
Ático | Attic / Penthouse
Ático | Attic / Penthouse

The space under the roof of a building is called “bajo cubierta” in Spanish. In Spain, the top floor of a building is not always an attic, and not all buildings have spaces under the roof, but there are some distinctions that might be translated into English as “attic” even though they are different. Ático (penthouse) is the uppermost floor that is used as a living space and may have access to a private or communal terrace. Desván (loft) is a place where one keeps old or unused objects between the roof and the ceiling. Entretecho, sobrado, doblado, guardilla, baburril, and zarzo are synonyms for desván. Buhardilla (attic) is also a window that projects vertically from the roof of a house to provide light or ventilation. The top floors can have a regular or a sloping roof (techo abuhardillado). In the second picture, you see un ático retranqueado (ático retrasado) – a setback penthouse that has one wall set back from the street to create space for a terrace on the highest floors of a building.

Bodega / Cava

Bodega, Spain
Bodega, Spain
Underground Winery
Underground Winery
Winery Castle Venue
Winery Castle Venue

Bodega is a Spanish word that means a wine shop, winery or wine cellar in Spain, and a convenience store or a small grocery shop in US-based Hispanic communities. Bodega is a structure, building or underground place that is used for the production and storage of wine, materials, raw materials and semi-finished products. There are different types of bodegas, such as commercial, farm, and urban wineries, and most of them require some kind of license to operate. Traditionally, wine enthusiasts had to travel to rural areas to learn about winemaking firsthand and to sample the wines of a producer in the context where they were made. Nowadays, many urban bodegas also offer full-service restaurants or live entertainment venues. Some very beautiful farm buildings that include mansions (caserones) and palaces also function as wedding venues.

Cabaña or Cabana

Cabaña de madera | Log cabin
Cabaña de madera | Log cabin
Cabaña pasiega | Log Cabin
Cabaña pasiega | Log Cabin
Refugio de montaña | Mountain hut
Refugio de montaña | Mountain hut

Cabana or cabaña is a Spanish word that means a “recreational cottage,” a simple dwelling, usually located in rural or semi-rural areas. Originally, cabañas were small peasant units with a few acres of farmland that sheltered agricultural workers and their families. In large areas of northern Spain, especially in Cantabria, you can also find cabañas ganaderas, which are essentially cattle farms; cabañas pasiegas, which are rural buildings associated with livestock, and are inhabited seasonally during the transhumance between the lower parts of the valleys and the peaks; cabañas rurales – rural cottages; and casa cabaña – cottages used as permanent homes. Cabañas are also used in rural tourism as accommodation options. Tree and wooden houses can also be called cabañas. There are cabañas de verano – a summer country house of an urban family that is usually small and made of wood, which can also be referred to by the Russian term dacha (дача). The use of cabana or cabaña as an “indigenous hut” is common in Latin America. As synonyms for cabaña, you will hear choza, barraca, rancho, and caseto.

Casa

Casa rural | Rural house
Casa rural | Rural house
Casa de pueblo | Village house
Casa de pueblo | Village house
Casa | House
Casa | House

Casa is a Spanish word that means a house, a single-unit residential building, which can vary in complexity from a simple hut to a complex structure of wood, masonry, concrete or other material, equipped with plumbing, electrical, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. The social unit that lives in a casa is called hogar, a home. There are three main types of houses: casa aislada – detached or independent, with its entire perimeter being exterior; casa pareada – semi-detached, sharing a single dividing wall with another building; and casa adosada – attached, sharing more than one dividing wall with other buildings owned by different owners. You will often encounter the self-explanatory terms casa rural (rural house) and casa de pueblo (village house). Casas prefabricadas are prefabricated houses: houses built from standardized sections, which are manufactured in advance outside of their site, and which are then placed in the final location for their final assembly.

Casal

Casa solariega | Manor house
Casa solariega | Manor house
Solar urbano | Building site
Solar urbano | Building site
Sábrego Rte - Casal de Armán
Sábrego Rte - Casal de Armán

The word casal is not easy to find on Wikipedia. Casal does not mean anything related to “couple” by etymology and does not have a standard translation into English. In the Middle Ages, a casalis in Latin or casal in Old French and Spanish meant “a group of houses in a rural setting.” In Modern Spain, casal can refer to at least six different things: 1. the alternative name of casa rural – farmhouse or labor house; 2. part of the name of restaurants and dining establishments where you can eat comida casolana or comida casera (homemade food) or that are located in old buildings that used to be part of a casal, such as El Casal de Pepa or Casal de Armán, etc.; 3. alternative name of casa solariega or solar – the manor house; 4. alternative Spanish name used in Catalonia for squatted houses or social centers; 5. alternative name of solar (solar edificable, vacío, baldío, parcela abierta) – Spanish word accepted in the Anglophone community as well to designate a building site or a buildable or empty lot; and, 6. Middle Ages independent feudal holdings not attached to a manor reserve, from which you can hear it as part of the name of places such as the Madrid metro station Conde de Casal.

Caserón

Caserón | Mansion
Caserón | Mansion
Caserón | Mansion
Caserón | Mansion
Caserón | Mansion, barracks
Caserón | Mansion, barracks

Caserón is a Spanish word that means a mansion or barracks – a very large house, especially dilapidated and old. It is a synonym for mansión, casona, casa, and casón. While some of these buildings are used as restaurants and hostels, they are also thought to be haunted by ghosts because they look like the sets of horror movies. For the Halloween season, the Madrid Amusement Park offers terror at El Viejo Caserón (The Old Mansion) where demonic creatures scare visitors as they go down to the crypt and visit the asylum. In Torrejón de Ardoz, zombies haunt the longest horror passage called Caserón del Terror.

Chabola

Chabola para aperos | Hut for tools
Chabola para aperos | Hut for tools
Chabola para aperos | Hut for tools
Chabola para aperos | Hut for tools
Chabola para aperos | Hut for tools
Chabola para aperos | Hut for tools

Chabolas are dwellings that do not meet the standards and conditions to be classified as houses, nor can they be improved or transformed into such, usually made with construction waste materials, plastics, wooden boards or corrugated iron, among others. El chabolismo (slum, shantytown) is considered a form of cultural expression of the gypsy, but in Spain, chabolas are more likely to be occupied by drug addicts and low-lives than gypsies. Of course, nobody sells chabolas: in real estate ads, you will encounter the expression chabola para aperos, which means a hut for tools.

Chalé or Chalet

Chalet | Independent Chalet
Chalet | Independent Chalet
Chalet adosado | Townhouse
Chalet adosado | Townhouse
Chalet pareado | Semi
Chalet pareado | Semi

Chalet comes from French-speaking Switzerland and was originally referred to as a shepherd’s house. Typical of the Alpine region, it is also used for other purposes in Spain and North America. A chalé or chalet is a single-family home, which shares land on the same farm with an unbuilt surface, such as a garden or an adjacent patio, but without an interior patio between the rooms. In addition to housing, it may also have a stable, barn, workshop, warehouse, etc. Traditionally a country housing, chalets are now used for tourist purposes such as restaurants, hotels and holiday homes. Often independent, there are two other types of chalets: 1. chalet adosado — a townhouse that forms a unit from a group of houses built in a row and attached by a dividing wall; and, 2. chalet pareado — a semi-detached house or a semi (a single-family house that has another attached at one of its ends).

Chozo or Choza

Chozo de piedra | Stone hut
Chozo de piedra | Stone hut
Chozo móvil | Mobile hut
Chozo móvil | Mobile hut
Chozo con cubierta de escoba | Shack with broom cover
Chozo con cubierta de escoba | Shack with broom cover

chozo or choza is a small hut or shack similar to a bothy. It is constructed as a basic branch or stone shelter built in mountainous areas or in the basements, wastelands or meadows of the fields that were used by shepherds and farmers to spend the night with the herd or to protect themselves from the inclement weather during peasant work.  The typical choza or shepherd’s hut has a circular floor plan and a conical roof to prevent rainwater from penetrating inside (1st picture). Some might be made as a shepherd’s mobile hut (2nd picture). The cubierta (cover) can be made with different types of plants called escoba (broom, 3rd picture), which are waterproof and easy to hold. In Spain, choza was a traditional resource for transhumant goatherds and shepherds. In large areas of the provinces of Cáceres, Soria, Navarra, Álava, La Rioja, Pontevedra, La Mancha and Southeast Madrid there is a type of hut built entirely of stone in the lands of work or grazing away from the village and that served to store tools and shelter from bad weather, and as a temporary storehouse for harvested products (potatoes, corn, etc.).

Cortijo

Cortijo, Spain
Cortijo, Spain
Cortijo, Spain
Cortijo, Spain
Cortijo, Spain
Cortijo, Spain

A cortijo (German: Bauernhof, English: farmhouse) is a type of traditional rural dwelling (finca) with adequate housing for the master, or el señorio, and outbuildings for the cortijeros — laborers and their families. Typical of southern Spain, it is the most common rustic property in Andalusia and is also similar to la casería — a rural settlement characteristic of Asturias. Cortijos are self-sufficient units found in areas far away from cities and difficult to access, associated with a large family farming or livestock operation in the vast and empty adjoining lands. Its main activity is usually the cultivation and storage of wheat and other cereals. Most cortijos became deserted following General Franco’s Plan de Estabilización and the abandonment of traditional agricultural practices by the local youth in the second half of the 20th century.

Dúplex

Dúplex | Duplex
Dúplex | Duplex
Dúplex | Duplex
Dúplex | Duplex
Dúplex | Duplex
Dúplex | Duplex

Dúplex is a single-family home with two different floors connected to each other by an internal staircase or an elevator. Much more rarely met, three-unit buildings are called triplex; four-unit — fourplex, quadplex or quadruplex; and, with more than four units — multiplex.

Estudio

Estudio | Study
Estudio | Study
Estudio | Study
Estudio | Study
Estudio | Study
Estudio | Study

Estudio or apartamento-estudio is a single or a study, a very small house designed for a single person. It is common to rent studio apartments for temporary stays, making up most of the offer in tourist areas.

Finca, Fundo or Predio

Finca, Spain
Finca, Spain
Finca, Spain
Finca, Spain
Finca, Spain
Finca, Spain

finca refers to a piece of rural or agricultural land, typically with a cottage, farmhouse or estate building present, and often adjacent to a woodland or plantation. A finca is also known in law as fundo or predio. The delimitation of land, called boundary, can be physical, using fences, markers or other systems, or simply legal, by means of the description in a property deed. All rural houses are fincas that are further divided into cortijoshaciendasgranjas, and the likes. In tourism, the term has gained the colloquial meaning of a holiday home in a rural setting, situated on the Spanish mainland, the Balearics, and the Canary Islands, and throughout the countries of Spanish-speaking Latin America. Fincas can typically look back on extensive development history and are often older than 300 years. In some regions, however, especially in the Balearics, new buildings are erected.

Granja, Chacra, Establo or Piscifactoría

Granja | Farm
Granja | Farm
Establo | Stable
Establo | Stable
Piscifactoría | Fish farm
Piscifactoría | Fish farm

Granja (from the Latin granica “granary”) or chacra (from the Quechua čhakra) is a farm, a rural land in which agriculture or cattle raising is carried out. Granjas include various structures, dedicated to the production and management of food, fibers, and, increasingly, fuel. Granjas can be owned and operated by a single individual, a family, community, corporation, or business. Chacra is a Hispanicized loanword for a small garden or farm, often on the outskirts of a city, which produces food for the inhabitants of the city. The term is most commonly used to refer to farms located on ejidos (agricultural commons) in parts of Latin America, but you will hear it in Spain as well because of expat population. Granjas can refer to commercial farms that are intended for raising livestock. Establos are stables used for operations mainly involved in the training of the horses. Granja / finca lechera is a diary farm that is used primarily for the production of milk and dairy products. Granja / finca de apicultura or granja / finca para colmenas is a beekeeping farm that has fields for beehives and produces and commercializes honey and its derivatives. Piscifactoría is a fish farm that raises fish in captivity as a food source. By the Programa de Educación Ambiental (Environmental Education Program), there are granjas educativas or granjas escuelas that serve as school farms — establishments where knowledge related to animal husbandry is taught to students.

Hacienda

Hacienda, Spain
Hacienda, Spain
Hacienda, Spain
Hacienda, Spain
Hacienda, Spain
Hacienda, Spain

Hacienda is an estate system of Andalusian origin (finca) similar to a Roman latifundium that in the US refers to an architectural style of the earlier estate manor houses. Derived from the Spanish verb hacer (to make), haciendas are business enterprises consisting of various money-making ventures that are also used as temporary residence for the wealthy social class. Located much closer to urbanized areas than the cortijos, haciendas refer to landed estates of significant size with a stately home accessible from its own courtyard; smaller holdings (estancias or ranchos) owned by Spaniards and criollos that serve the masters; and, set of agricultural constructions for laborers and cattlemen. Haciendas produce olive oil and less often wine, but also can incorporate cereal and livestock production. The revenue service of the Kingdom of Spain, known as the Agencia Tributaria (Tax Agency), is also called Hacienda.

Hórreo

Hórreo majestoso | Barn Home
Hórreo majestoso | Barn Home
Casa de invitados | Guest house
Casa de invitados | Guest house
Capilla | Chapel
Capilla | Chapel

An hórreo is a typical granary from the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, built in wood or stone, raised from the ground by pillars (pegollos in Asturian, esteos in Galician, espigueiros in Portuguese, abearriak in Basque) ending in flat staddle stones (vira-ratos in Galician, mueles or tornarratos in Asturian, or zubiluzea in Basque) to keep rodents out. Ventilation is allowed by ranuras — slits in its walls.  There are two main types of hórreo, rectangular-shaped and square-shaped. The oldest still standing dates from the 15th century. The longest 35-meter long hórreo is located in Carnota, A Coruña, Galicia. The Hórreo majestuoso (Majestic granary) in the 1st picture is a caserón built over barn stones that acts as a luxury hotel. Other similar granary structures include Asturian paneras (basically, big hórreos with more than four pillars), cabaceiras (Galician round basketwork hórreo), trojes or trojs in Castile or silos. In Asturias hórreos are known as horriu, horru; Leon and Cantabria: hurriu; Galicia: hórreo, paneira, canastro, piorno, cabazo; Portugal: espigueiro, canastro, caniço, hôrreo; País Vasco: garea, garaia, garaixea; French Savoy: regard; Swiss Valais: raccard; the Italian Aosta Valley: rascard; Norway: stabbur; Sweden: härbre, stolphärbre or stolpbod; in the Balkans: hambars (хамбари); Northern Turkey: serender; Southern England: barns on staddle stones.

Loft

Loft
Loft
Loft
Loft
Loft
Loft

A loft can refer to a desván (see above) or a gallery with large space and few divisions, which have large windows, and a very bright environment.

Mansión

Mansión | Mansion
Mansión | Mansion
Mansión | Mansion
Mansión | Mansion
Mansión | Mansion
Mansión | Mansion

Mansión (residencia, parada, albergue or palacete) is a sumptuous and luxurious mansion-style home of great proportions, large gardens and various amenities. Those are exclusive homes of heirs and multimillionaire entrepreneurs. Manor comes from the same root—territorial holdings granted to a lord who would “remain” there.

Masía

Valencian Masía | Valencian Masia
Valencian Masía | Valencian Masia
Masía | Masia
Masía | Masia
Masía | Masia
Masía | Masia

Masía, masada, or pardina in Aragonese is at least two-story farmhouse throughout eastern Spain and southern France that has its origins in ancient Roman villas. The estate is called a mas — a traditional type of farm, including land, agricultural buildings and residence buildings. Masias are isolated constructions with defensive towers or exterior walls that are for the most part oriented to the south. In the Valencian Community, masias are dotted with miramar — a tower raised on the roof ofthe house that was used to contemplate the sea, and frequently the upper part was enabled as a palomar (dovecote) for the development of colombiculture in case of the need to be able to give notice of possible hostile attacks. Many masias have been adapted for rural tourism and hospitality.

Palacio

Los Arqueros Golf & Country Club
Los Arqueros Golf & Country Club
Ca'n San Simón, Palma
Ca'n San Simón, Palma
Marbella Realtor International
Marbella Realtor International

A palacio is a building used as the residence of the head of state or another tycoon, and more recently is also applied to large private houses in cities, especially of the aristocracy. In the Old European Regime, palaces were the royal residences, those of the nobility, the high clergy, and the wealthy bourgeoisie. In the Contemporary Age, many palaces have been transformed to parliaments, hotels, office buildings, and museums. The term is also commonly used to refer to especially luxurious public buildings that function as urban landmarks, public entertainment or exhibitions. The word is derived from the Latin name palātium, for Palatine Hill in Rome which housed the Imperial residences. Most European languages have a version of the term: palais, palazzo, palacio, etc.

Quinta

Quinta del Duque del Arco
Quinta del Duque del Arco
Gardens Quinta de El Pardo
Gardens Quinta de El Pardo
Quinta de Torre Arias Park, Madrid
Quinta de Torre Arias Park, Madrid

The primitive recreational villas in the Iberian Peninsula are called quintas de recreo (quinta means the fifth part of something). Usually located in the facilities on rustic estates developed by aristocratic families or the Spanish monarchs, since the late 19th centuries quintas are country houses used for vacation or retirement purposes. Quintas differ from fincas as those are erected on delimited land, be it in urban or rural areas. A quinta is usually surrounded by shallow plantations, small parks, and agricultural holdings. An example of such a building is the Quinta del Duque del Arco, also known as Quinta de El Pardo, in Madrid. In some cases quintas become of public use and you may visit the Quinta de Torre Arias Park in the San Blas-Canillejas district of Madrid. The park occupies the grounds of an old farm and is well worth visiting.

Vivienda de Protección Oficial (VPO)

Officially Protected Homes
Officially Protected Homes
Officially Protected Homes
Officially Protected Homes
Officially Protected Homes
Officially Protected Homes

Vivienda de Protección Oficial (VPO, Vivienda con Protección Pública o Vivienda Protegida) is an Official Protection Housing, a type of housing promoted by the Spanish public administration, normally offered at a price below that of the market. The objective of the VPO is to help citizens with lower incomes acquire or rent decent and adequate housing at prices that are affordable to their means. The different autonomous communities have legislated on this matter, so there is no uniform regime throughout the national territory. Access to buying, renting or selling such properties is controlled.

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