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As experts in helping international buyers find their dream property for sale on the Costa del Sol, we’re on hand to lead our clients through the process and decode and explain the legalities, as well as translate the terms and act as intermediary between our buyers and any Spanish sellers or developers.

However, we also want to empower our clients and all you lovely lot who read our blog, and enable you to look around and see if you can find a property which fits your brief. On our blog you can find area guides on our core areas of Manilva, Casares, Duquesa and Sabinillas to learn more about where you want to be, and we’ve written a detailed article on the 10 steps to follow when buying a property in Spain, which we hope will help you to understand the process.

In this article, we’re going to give you some advice on different ways you can find a property in Spain and what Spanish terms you need to look out for and understand.


Looking for a property in Spain via property portals

International buyers tend to start to search for Spanish properties online, in their own language. To serve this demand, property portals have been created in the markets where there is most interest in properties in Spain. You’ll find dedicated portals in Scandinavia, the UK, Germany, Holland, France and more, which act as hubs for Spanish properties. These portals are populated mainly by international agencies, based in Spain, so that the properties that they are selling reach the buyers in those countries.

The advantages of these Spanish property portals are that they are in your language and have a lot of properties in one place. But the disadvantages are that you will find many duplicated properties, uploaded by different agents, with confusing discrepancies in terms of the price and property details. This can make it hard to know how many properties are really for sale in the area that you’re searching for and what the true information is. In addition, the property descriptions are often translated via automatic translation software, and are difficult to understand.

Another issue that buyers have with these property portals, is that many of the properties advertised are actually not available any more. Unscrupulous agents will put up fake properties, which are often too good to be true, or leave on attractive properties which have already been sold, to act as lead magnets. They want you to enquire, so they can capture your data and be able to offer you other properties, but in fact, the property that you have enquired about is no longer for sale, or never was.

It takes a lot of time and patience to find what you’re looking for on property portals. But a local real estate agent has access to all these properties and more! The property market here in Spain relies on shared property listing sites which are accessible to agents for a fee. This means that when you find an agent that you can trust, you know that they have access to pretty much all the properties for sale via that system and their relationships with other local agents and their exclusive listings. They can do the searching, filtering and checking for you, based on your requirements and then give you a shortlist of properties that match your needs and arrange viewings too. It’s a lot less work for you and much more likely to find the right property too. Contact us if you want us to find you a property in Spain.

Looking for Spanish properties on Facebook

Another way to search for properties is to join the local Facebook groups which cover the area you are interested in. There are groups set up for different nationalities, and for specific areas, so they are very useful if you know where you want to buy. Agents will often post properties in these area groups and you can also ask questions about schools, jobs, shops and much more, so you can make an informed decision on where you want to be and start the ball rolling for your move. There are also specific groups just for properties, where you can browse through lots of properties which agents and owners share on to the groups. So just search Facebook for the area you’re interested in and the terms properties or real estate and you should find some good options.

Searching for properties when you’re in Spain

If you’re already in Spain, either on holiday, or have moved over and are renting, it’s easier to start honing in on your perfect area. We’d advise you to travel around as much as possible to get a feel for the different areas. Spain is an enormous and varied country and even within the Costa del Sol, the regions offer massive variations.

In our core area of Manilva for example, you have four very different options open to you, in an area of just over 35km. You can choose from the traditional Spanish village of Manilva Pueblo, the busy town of Sabinillas, the port of Duquesa and the residential areas back from the coast. These have very different characteristics in terms of what they offer, their feel and what properties they have available and that’s in a pretty small area. Find out more about the pros, cons and attributes of the different areas in our guide to Manilva.

When you extend your area further, to the Costa del Sol for example, you have everything from very busy cities, to international towns, seaside resorts and inland villages that appear from another time. That’s why, hiring a car and driving around, parking up and walking about the different areas that you’re considering is very beneficial. Or even better, finding yourself a registered real estate agent in Spain, with local knowledge, who can help you narrow your search down to a smaller area and guide you through what is available for your budget and the best areas which meet your needs.

If you have already done your research and have chosen a specific area, then it gets easier. Park the car and walk around, stop for a drink and chat to the locals and see if you like the feel of the place. Look in real estate agents’ windows and pop in to discuss your requirements and budget and what property options fit the bill. If you’re interested in buying property in Sabinillas, make sure you pop into our office, right by the seafront in Sabinillas and speak to our friendly team.

Spanish property terms you need to know

In both the Spanish real estate agents’ windows and on the boards you will see certain terms which you need to understand. Here’s a little glossary of the most common property terms and their translation.

  • Se Vende, En Venta - For Sale
  • Se Aquila, En Alquiler – For Rent
  • Viviendas – Residential Properties
  • Casa – House
  • Apartamento / Piso – Apartment / Flat
  • Ático – Penthouse
  • Chalet Adosado / Casa Adosada – Town House / Terraced House
  • Cortijo / Finca – Detached rural property
  • Obra nueva – New build / Off plan development or property
  • Terreno / Parcela / Solar – Plot
  • Rústica – Rural (Beware of the phrase Suelo or terreno rústico, as this means it’s land which isn’t suitable to develop or build on. You want suelo urbano or suelo urbanizable if you want to build)
  • Traspaso – A business is available to lease
  • Garajes – Parking Garages
  • Trasteros – Storage units
  • Amueblada – Fully Furnished
  • Planta Baja - Ground floor
  • Planta – Floor of an apartment building or development
  • Primera Planta – First Floor
  • Segunda Planta – Second Floor
  • Tercera Planta – Third Floor
  • Habitación/Dormitorio – Bedroom
  • Cuarto de baño/Baño – Bathroom
  • Ducha – Shower
  • Sótano – Basement
  • Azotea – Roof Terrace
  • Balcón/Terraza – Balcony/ Terrace
  • Jardín Privado – Private garden
  • Jardín Communitario – Shared/community garden
  • Piscina – Swimming pool
  • Aire acondicionado – Air conditioning (they will often say “aire caliente y frio”, meaning an air heating system, which provides hot or cold air)
  • Calefacción – Heating
  • Buen estado – Good condition
  • Reformada/Renovado – Renovated
  • Calle – Street
  • Campo – In the countryside
  • Chimenea – Fireplace
  • Ascensor – Lift
  • Agente de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria (API) – Real Estate Agent who is registered with the college of estate agents (Most agents are not registered, so looking for this is a good sign that your agent knows their stuff)
  • Gastos de comunidad/Gastos comunitarios – Community fees (check these as even detached villas usually belong to communities with fees)
  • Escritura - Title deeds

How we can make looking for a property in Spain easy

C2C Properties are registered, licenced real estate agents in Sabinillas, with expert local knowledge and access to properties all along the Costa del Sol. If you’re interested in buying property in Manilva, Duquesa, Sabinillas and Casares, we specialise in this area and can make the process of searching for, shortlisting and purchasing property easy. Let us tour you around the most popular areas and show you the best properties which meet your needs and budget. Our multilingual team and in-house lawyer will make sure you understand everything and all the legalities are taken care of, so there are no nasty surprises. We want to take the stress out of finding a property on the Costa del Sol and reduce the time you need to spend scouring the internet and pounding the pavements. You can search for Spanish properties for sale on our website, or contact us to explain your requirements and let us take care of the rest.