Understanding Real Estate Listings

Real estate for sale or rent ads whether online (metrocuadrado.com, fincaraiz.com.co, etc.), in real estate agency windows or in newspapers and magazines will most likely be in Spanish and will use the measures and expressions found below.

Canon (Cah-non): The monetary value of the monthly rent

Metros Cuadrados (m2 for short) [May-tros coo-ah-drah-dose]: Square meters. Colombia like almost the entire world, uses metric. If you’re American this can be discombobulating but using your phone’s calculator, you’ll quickly figure it out. A square meter is about 10.76 square feet. To help you further, t just remember that an apartment that’s 45 or 55 square meters is pretty small, over a 100 sq m (1076 sq ft) is ample.

Cuadra(s) [Coo-ah-drass]: This is a weird and old timey measure used for country properties (fincas). Its equivalent is 6400 square meters, or 68,889 sq ft.

Área habitable [AH-rey-ahah-bee-tah-bleh]: Living space. The total surface of a property’s that’s habitable. In theory, the figure shouldn’t include closets, garages, balconies, patios or any other covered area that’s not where people will habitually spend their time.

Área Construida [AH-rey-ah con-stroo-ee-dah]: The total constructed surface of the property. This includes everything that área habitable doesn’t include, so this measurement will usually be bigger than the latter.

Área privada [AH-rey-ah pree-vah-dah]: The surface that would be exclusively for your use [non-shared]

Antigüedad [Ann-tee-goo-eh-dad]: The age of the building

Alcoba(s)–[Al-coh-bah/bass]: Bedroom(s). Can also be referred to as dormitorio(s) or habitacion(es)

Acabado(s) [Ah-cah-bah-doe/doze]: Fixtures / finishes. For example, lighting fixtures.

Persiana(s) [Pear-see-yah-nah/nass]: Vertical blind(s)

Zonas comunes [So-nass co-moo-ness]Shared areas, as pools and kiddie parks in an apartment complex.

Cuarto útil [Coo-are-toe OO-teel]: Storage room

Comedor [Coh-med-door]Dining room

Sala [sah-lah]: Living room

Salón social [Sah-LONE so-see-yal]: Party room (a community space)

Comunidad/unidad cerrada [Coh-moo-knee-dad/oo-knee-dad seh-rah-dah]: Gated community. Conjunto cerrado means the same.

Calentador [Cah-len-tah-door]: Water heater (usually small wall units)

Estudio/biblioteca [Ess-stew-dee-oh/bee-blee-oh-tech-ah]: Study/reading room

Parqueadero [Par-keh-ah-deh-row]: Parking space

Amoblado [Ah-moe-blah-doe]: Furnished

Estrato [Ess-trah-toe]: Strata. This is possibly unique to Colombia. Any unit has an estrato assigned to it from 1 to 6, where 1 is the lowest. Higher the estrato, higher the price/rent and the cost of utilities and taxes (if you buy). Estrato 3-4 are the middle class references

Urbanización [Uhr-ban-ee-sah-see-ee-Ohn]: Refers to a gated or non-gated community or building

Vereda [Veh-reh-dah]: A subdivision in a country setting

Arrendamiento [Ah-Ren-dah-mee-ehn-toe]: Rental. Arriendo is the rent.

Remodelado [Reh-moe-deh-lah-doe]: Renovated

Inmobiliaria [Een-moe-bee-lee-ah-ree-ah]: Real estate agency

Administración [Ahd-mee-niece-trah-see-OHN]: The monthly condo fee. Administración incluida: condo fees included.

Ubicación [Oo-bee-cah-see-OHN]: Location. Ubicado: located.

Citófono [See-TOE-phone-oh]: Intercom / entry phone, that visitors will use to summon you from the lobby or unit entrance.

Cocina integral [Co-see-nah een-teh-grahl]: Full kitchen

There are many more words and expressions you’ll encounter in your search for a new home in Colombia. Feel free to ask the meaning here.