Spain Explained

Finca for sale in Spain: What to know before you buy

Last updated on March 31st, 2020 at 10:20 am.

The idea of buying a Finca for sale in Spain is, for many, an impossible dream. Many who think about escaping the city’s hustle and bustle to live in the countryside do not make it happen. Peace, tranquility, open space and the possibility of growing your own food. These are some of the many reasons that attract people to live out in these sorts of properties.

However simple the life may seem, though, buying a Finca for sale in Spain is not so easy. Once ready to make that dream a reality, there are a few things to be aware of before getting started.

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What exactly is a Finca?

In Spain, a Finca refers to a type of property built on rural or rustic land instead of urban land. People often refer to a Finca to mean a farm, however the specific designation of ‘Finca’ does not solely refer to farmland. It usually means a fairly large piece of land with a cottage, small house or estate already built on it. Despite being originally constructed for agricultural use, nowadays a Finca will often be used for recreational purposes. Many families use them to get away from the city at weekends or over holidays, and many use them as vacation rentals.

Are there differences between land in Spain?

Beyond the choice of whether to live in a city or the country, there are two kinds of land designation in Spain:

  • Urban land – This kind of land often comes with permission to develop already, and will therefore include basic infrastructure like water, gas, roads and electricity.
  • Rustic land. This is land that is so far not used by developers, and has no such requirement for infrastructure. If you buy rustic land and want to build on it, you need to make a special application to the respective town hall and comply with all rules and regulations. 

In many cases, an easier route when looking to buy a Finca for sale in Spain, is to find one with some kind of construction already, as town councils are often more likely to allow further development on these spaces. Read more about the difference between Rustic and Urban land here.

What do you need before purchasing Finca land?

When making an application to the relevant town hall for permission to construct on Finca land, certain conditions have to be met. A plot of land must be a minimum size, usually between 5,000 and 10,000 square metres. You should also discover whether there is an ‘Escritura’, which should be complete with the seller’s details. The escritura is the property’s Title Deeds, and needs to be correct before purchasing a Finca for sale in Spain. You can find more information about the escritura here.

Things to look out for

  • The boundaries delineated in the escritura must correspond with the physical boundary posts on the land. 
  • Land is often unconnected and without transport links so ownership of a car is essential.
  • Access to water and electricity are not always legally included in the sale of the property. If they are not, then you will need to construct access to these essentials. 
  • Many Fincas are old; often older than the purchasing and construction laws put in place. This makes finding the correct documentation for the property harder, but more essential.
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There are just a few hurdles before a dream home can be yours

One of the most important decisions you can make when looking at purchasing a Finca for sale in Spain is hiring safe, reputable and independent legal representation. There are legal variations between different towns, therefore the law firm you hire must be familiar with these differences. However, despite an often tricky process, the reward of a beautiful old finca surrounded by olive and lemon trees, and the tranquility of the Spanish lifestyle is like no other.

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21 April, 2020 8:14 am

I have a dream… a beautiful old finca surrounded by olive and lemon trees.
Thank you for this article.

Oscar Paoli

21 April, 2020 3:44 pm

Beautiful dream indeed!

trevor jones

20 December, 2021 2:43 am

i have one for sale dident work out for my age and health

Janiene. wigley

25 February, 2023 3:44 pm

I’m looking to buy some land with a Finca included, the land is 10.800sqm. The building on the land is 20sqm and is Maella.
I need to know if I can extend on the current building that is there and eventually live there permanently.
I also need to know if the land is rustic or urban and need some guidance around buying this property.
Are you able to help?
Look forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks

Oscar Paoli

27 February, 2023 9:21 am

Thank you for contacting us, we can surely be of assistance but would need to have more information of the land to be able to give you more detailed information.
We would need to start pictures of the existing building/s on the land, copy of the Title Deed and a copy of the latest Local Council Tax.
Should you wish to send us this information to we will be happy to have a look at this documentation and get back to you.
Best regards,
Ábaco Advisers


15 March, 2023 7:58 pm

When having bought a Finca, do you own the land as written in the deeds or can the land usage be decreed or taken back by the principality, local authorities etc, etc. It is understood a legal adviser needs to be consulted but should this be done on each and every property before making an offer?

Oscar Paoli

16 March, 2023 3:17 pm

Hi Sarah,

We recommend checking each case to avoid any possible issues.

With kind regards,

Ábaco Advisers