Bizarre conditions of new property trend

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ELDERLY Spanish property owners are selling their houses for half the market value, on the condition they can live out their final days in their homes.

The concept of bare ownership, perfectly legal, allows the seller to continue living in the property after the purchase goes through and until they pass away.

Speaking to a Spanish daily newspaper, 92-year-old Carmen Segovia, said she “wants to die in her own house,”.


The pensioner, who’s planning on selling her 100sqm flat for just under €200,000, added that she has all her “family memories there, and “would like to live well” until she dies.

But some people find the practice a bit macabre, as the handover is dependent on somebody’s death.

A Spanish Twitter user disturbed to the point that he shared an advertisement he had seen for an apartment in Madrid earlier last month.

It read: “The current owner, over 70 years old, will continue to live in this property as a usufructuary until the end of his days”.

This prompted fellow users to question the practice, “isn’t it disturbing? You could actually wish someone else’s death to have access to their homes? I wouldn’t sleep well,” wrote one.

Another added: “I also couldn’t believe it when I first saw it. It’s one of those things you don’t even think about until you search for a home. Then you realize it happens every day and it’s quite sad,” another commentator wrote.

But for the pensioners making use of Spain’s ownership laws, which gives them the usufruct rights to use and enjoy a property belonging to someone else, it’s a no brainer.

An 88-year-old homeowner told the Spanish newspaper that his daughters were doing well for themselves and wouldn’t need the house, so by selling it “we’re going to have some more money to live more comfortably with.“

The conditions attached to this type of property sale don’t seem to be putting off buyers, with agencies seeming capable of selling the cheaper homes very quickly to anyone who sees the medium to long term appeal of the offer.

French website, which underlines that this practice is common in Spain, France and Belgium, states “under this type of purchase you can maximize your investment capacity and buy properties with an immediate reduction of 40 to 50% of the value of full ownership, with no risk of sacrificing quality.”


  1. What about equity release or sometimes called a reverse mortgage. Much the same thing where you obtain a percentage of the market value of your property to do with as you please and remain in it until you die when the lender then takes their cut of your estate. All the rage in the UK. Do they not have that in Spain ?


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