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Are You Prepared for Life in a Traditional Spanish Town House?

Are You Prepared for Life in a Traditional Spanish Town House?

Maybe you have seen them on Spanish property websites; you certainly know them from travel documentaries and photographs of Spanish old towns – the traditional town or village property: very pretty, with little balconies and flower pots with trailing geraniums, and possibly some planted pots outside the wooden front door.

Maybe you have seen them on Spanish property websites; you certainly know them from travel documentaries and photographs of Spanish old towns – the traditional town or village property: very pretty, with little balconies and flower pots with trailing geraniums, and possibly some planted pots outside the wooden front door.

If you dream of owning one of those properties there is good news, as they are still affordable and usually quite a lot cheaper than your typical apartment in a beach resort. That is if you compare the price per square metre, as you do here in Spain. If you are prepared to do some renovation work yourself you might even be able to get a real bargain.

So what is it like inside these houses? Of course they are all quite individual, but some characteristics are widespread: A lot of them are very narrow, some only nine to ten feet. A lot of them are also deep; some even have entrances on two streets. Combine these two features and what you often get is quite a dark property (especially if you are after one of the mid terraced houses that also back onto another property). Corner houses are usually brighter. But then this is part of the charm of these Spanish houses and it is said that the lack of windows in combination with thick walls keeps the houses cool in summer.

Another feature, well known from the English cottage, is low ceilings. To be fair, quite a lot of these Spanish houses actually have quite high ceilings, especially if you go for the grander (and more expensive) ones. But if you enter a property of the quaint variety you should worry about your head if you are over, say 5’8. Especially stairwells can be a constant worry for the taller inhabitants.

If you add to this the fact that a lot of the Spanish village houses have three or four floors (plus roof terrace), you might want to consider buying a hard hat. And joining a gym of course, as you should be rather fit if you want to live in one of the taller properties.

So why would anyone in their right mind want to live in these houses? It probably boils down to character and atmosphere: A lot of these Spanish properties have lovely original features, like wooden beams or exposed stone walls. And even if they don’t, it is usually possible to re introduce at least some of them back into the property quite easily. Those roof terraces are simply fabulous, especially if you get one with a nice view. And you are part of the old town of a traditional Spanish city or village, which gives you surroundings and a feel of community you simply cannot get in a resort or a modern apartment block.

To sum it up: Life in a traditional town house in Spain might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but there seems to be a growing number of people who appreciate this way of life and put a lot of love and effort into the renovation of their Spanish dream home.

©Joerg Kesenheimer – Carobtree 2006.
Carobtree lists properties for sale on the Costa del Azahar. For information on available village houses visit Costa del Azahar Village Properties