Different types of homes in Spain

The various types of homes in Spain are used in many ways and it often seems that all real estate agents come up with their own names for the different types of homes in Spain.

Due to all kinds of international (language) influences, it is becoming less and less clear what is actually meant when people talk about a certain type of housing in Spain. Although some names speak for themselves, for the sake of completeness I will provide a brief explanation of the houses below with the names as they are referred to in Spain.


An apartment is a home within a larger complex and gives you the right to exclusive use of the home within this complex described in the title deed (escritura). In addition, the owner can use the communal facilities within the project, such as lifts, stairs, swimming pools, gardens, wellness, etc...

An apartment usually has a terrace. If the apartment is located on the ground floor, there is also the possibility that there is a garden and that, just like the house itself, this can and may be used exclusively by the owner of the apartment in question. If the apartment is located on the top floor, the apartment may sometimes have a roof terrace.


A bungalow is a detached or semi-detached house consisting of one floor with an additional floor above. a roof terrace. Bungalows can be built with a flat roof or a roof with tiles, for example, but a combination is also possible. In a bungalow, all rooms must be on the ground floor and there may be no stairs, with the exception of a possible staircase to a roof terrace. Most bungalows have a private garden.


A cortijo is a house that is usually built on a large plot. Because most cortijos previously served as farms, these homes often have a lot of extra space. In general, the former stables have been converted into living areas, so one often finds several living rooms or entire apartments in a cortijo. Due to the enormous space that most cortijos have to offer, these homes are also ideal for creating extra bedrooms so that a Bed & Breakfast can be established in them. A cortijo is often confused with a finca.

Duplex and Triplex house

In short, a duplex house is a terraced house with multiple floors that can be reached internally. People talk about duplex houses if they have 2 living floors, i.e. ground floor and 1st floor, if necessary. with roof terrace. If there is a 2nd floor, there are 3 residential floors and it is called a triplex house.

Duplex homes can be built in a row, connected with other duplex homes, or on a corner, connected with apartments, for example. It is also possible that the duplex houses are connected two-by-two, comparable to a semi-detached house as is often encountered in Northern Europe.

In general, duplex houses have a living-dining room, kitchen and bathroom/toilet on the ground floor and you will find the bedrooms, bathroom(s) and possibly. the roof terrace on the first floor. Sometimes these duplex homes have their own closed private garage under the house, which is also accessible internally via a staircase. In addition, most duplex houses have a garden or terrace on the ground floor. A duplex house is therefore a complete house, suitable for permanent residence.

Villa or Chalet

A villa is a detached house, located on a separate plot. The size of the villa depends on the local zoning plan, which indicates, among other things, the maximum building degree (number of m²) of the plot in question. The maximum permitted height of the villa is also laid down in this zoning plan. If you adhere to the standards of the zoning plan, you are reasonably free to, for example, design and have a villa built yourself. You can also 'decorate' your own plot according to your own ideas with, if necessary, a swimming pool, garage, garden, etc.


Many people think of a finca as a country house or farmhouse style on a large plot where the neighbors live at a considerable distance and privacy is therefore guaranteed. However, this description only partly relates to a finca. A Spanish finca is nothing more or less than a plot, a piece of land (large or small) whether or not built on with buildings in any form.

We have various types of fincas in Spain. The municipality's Plan General de Ordenación Urbana (zoning plan) specifies for each plot what use is permitted for that particular finca. Below I will describe the various finca types in more detail.

  • Finca Urbana

    This concerns building land. In the municipality's zoning plan (PGOU), the use of such plots is referred to as residential construction. In addition, the conditions for construction are laid down in the construction regulations. For each individual plot it is determined what the maximum height of the buildings may be, how far the buildings must be built at least from the plot boundary and what percentage of the plot may be built on. If these building regulations are taken into account when designing a new home to be built, a building permit is usually quite easy to obtain.

  • Finca Rustica

    In short, this is land that is in principle not intended for housing construction. This usually concerns plots with agricultural use, forests, water extraction areas or (protected) nature. However, under certain strict conditions it is also possible to obtain a permit for the construction of a house on a 'finca rústica'. In the zoning plan, the municipality has determined the minimum plot size (e.g. 5,000 m², 10,000 m² or 20,000 m²) on which a house may be built. This construction must also comply with the building regulations and you must take into account that the access roads to fincas rústicas are usually not allowed to be paved. Fincas rústicas are generally not connected to sewerage or water, so you have to rely on a septic tank and a water reservoir. Depending on the location, electricity on fincas rústicas is often generated via solar and/or wind energy

  • Finca Urbanizable

    This is a finca rústica, for which the zoning plan indicates that it can be changed to finca urbana under certain conditions. It is a misunderstanding that fincas urbanizables are exclusively intended for the construction of urbanizations (residential areas). Although in practice such fincas are often used for the development of urbanizations, they can also be individual plots of land. To convert a finca urbanizable into a finca urbana, a Plan Parcial must be submitted, which indicates, among other things, the plot boundaries and the ultimate purpose. After approval of this Plan Parcial, the project can be created on the basis of which the building permit can be applied for.

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