Santa Fe Real Estate: FAQ On Talking Santa Fe

Real Estate Broker/Owner with eXp Realty LLC NM Broker License 16161

Emily Medvec Santa Fe Real Estate

What on earth is "talking" Santa Fe? This is a very short list of many of the main words that today make up our local lingo which is sometimes called "talking" Santa Fe. Many of them were words I began to learn when I first passed through Santa Fe in 1968 and then finally settled here in the early 1990’s. Others are the ones “you” frequently ask me about all the time when we begin the process of helping you relocate to Santa Fe to make your lifestyle change.

Acequia - A hand-made irrigation ditch for water maintained by a local community association organized to share the water and distribute it to its members. Spring cleanings of the ditch are major community events.

Adobe - Hand-made sun-dried clay or mud in the form of bricks for use as a building material; a style of home as in pueblo adobe; a deep rich earth color.

Alameda - A road or path through cottonwood trees; the Spanish word for cottonwood trees.

Arroyo - Anarroyo means "dry creek" in Spanish is usually dry and quickly fills with water after a heavy rainstorm.

Banco - In Santa Fe, a banco is not a bird, a bank or a graphic font. Here it is a sculptured curved bench made of adobe and often covered with plaster around the fireplace in adobe homes to display something of value or importance; an outdoor bench for seating or as a low exterior wall of a courtyard.

Camino - The Spanish word for "way" and a frequent adjective in many street names.

Canale - A roof spout designed to carry water off the typical Santa Fe flat roof.

Corbels - Sculptured or decordated wood part of a post near the top; design feature that distributes the weight of the roof beams common in portals.

Horno - A bee-hive shaped outdoor oven often blended into an exterior courtyard wall; a traditional Native American Pueblo free standing adobe bread oven.

Nicho - A small niche carved into an adobe wall or interior wall or hallways of a home used to display pieces of art or other things of wonder or value or of a spiritual nature.

Portal - Outdoor covered patio or walkway connection attached to the home supported by posts with corbels.

Ristra - A string of red chili hung together to dry. The image above is a group of ristras!

Road-Runner - Adopted in 1949 as the State bird called "Paisano" (compatriot) by the Spanish is a long-tailed, long-neck bird with a crested head, olive brown body with legs built for running and is not a good flyer.

Saltillo Tile - Ubiquitous Santa Fe fired tile with many variations of color and shape made in Saltillo, Mexico.

Trombe Wall - A solar window-box structure built against a dark painted south facing adobe wall which acts as a thermosiphoning air collector named after Felix Trombe.

Viga - A horizontal roof beam; a round timber stripped of bark

Yucca - The State flower called by the Spanish "Las Velas de Dios" (the Candles of God) when in bloom bears many white cup-like blossoms hanging at the top of a solid stalk shooting from a clump of stiff and pointed green leaves.

Zozobra - A major community event during Fiesta where a large Marionette is burned to remove gloom, anxiety and worry.

If you are considering relocating to Santa Fe, New Mexico for a lifestyle change you will quickly see how these words blend into making our City Different different. If you are interested in relocating to Santa Fe, contact us for experienced professional help and information about our Santa Fe Real Estate market. If you want to search for current homes, condos, land and ranches on the market, go to for a easy map or list search of current properties on the market. Or if you know Santa Fe is on your radar and you are ready to talk Santa Fe everyday, call Emily Medvec at 505-660-4541 to arrange for a brief phone consultation on current market trends and to schedule showings in advance of your visit. Remember a home is a place to live, work and play... and so is Santa Fe!


See other FAQs about Santa Fe Real Estate

FAQWhy Buy A Second Home?
FAQWhat Are Property Taxes?
FAQGem? Fixer? Get Home Inspection
FAQIs The Air Clean?
FAQ Any Weather Disasters?

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Our Santa Fe real estate market is a local one. Search All Santa Fe Listings Here and get results in both an easy list or map search. If you want to see a SOLD sign on your property or you want to make a lifestyle change by moving here, call me at 505-660-4541 to schedule a real estate consultation. No one has time or money to waste in this new landscape of real estate online. I am available to help you and make a positive difference in your real estate experience. Remember dreams are made a reality only when you act on them. Emily Medvec

Today, I represent Sellers and Buyers in all price ranges in Santa Fe and throughout northern New Mexico. My focus is to use my experience, vision and strategies to find you opportunities and solutions. My goal is always to save you time and money whether you are selling or buying any type of Santa Fe real estate, including homes, land, town homes, condominiums, ranches and commercial property. Here are recent reviews from my past clients about my know-how and service. Until you are ready to Buy or Sell, let's connect and learn more about each other on Facebook or Twitter

Emily Medvec Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved 2007-2019


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Maribeth Messineo Peters
214-566-1210 - Dallas, TX
Dallas native-Preston Hollow Greenway Parks expert

I lived in Santa Fe in the early 1990's and loved it, Great post and brought a smile to my face. Such a beautiful town and a unique place to live. All the best to you!

Jun 06, 2012 11:50 AM #1
Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Emily - You've done a great job in explaining a lot of local terms.  Loved the photo!

Jun 06, 2012 12:02 PM #2
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO most of the local lingo. Living in SW Colorado, I thought it might be somewhat the same, but it's different. Here we call a water ditch, a ditch. But ristra is still the same. Also abobe out my way, means a stretch of land that doesn't have much vegetation. When I first read your blog, I thought, piece of cake. We are pretty close in area and I can understand this language, but it's quite a bit different, and that's where it pays to have a local expert like you.

Jun 06, 2012 05:41 PM #3
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond

Em, what a great list of germaine words to Santa great to share these and be a point of contact in Santa Fe lingo!

Jun 06, 2012 08:28 PM #4
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

WOW - that is certainly an education, reading through that list!

Jun 06, 2012 10:23 PM #5
Emily Medvec
eXp Realty LLC - Santa Fe, NM
Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM

Maribeth, many from your community love Santa Fe as well and purchase 2nd homes or investment property here --- it must be the lingo!

Debbie, thank you for stopping by and educating us on the differences. Yes, it does pay in savings for buyers and sellers to use a local expert when they are on the move.

Ginny, I think you picked up some of these on your recent visit!

Barbara, and this is the "short" list!

Jun 06, 2012 10:58 PM #6
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Darn it, Emily!  It's getting so every post of yours is re-blog worthy.  I'm thinking I'm just going to ask you to be a permanent guest-blogger for me.   So much flavor and insight into the Santa Fe area .... just love it!


Jun 07, 2012 02:28 AM #7
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Your list will certainly help any newcomer fit right in!  

Jun 07, 2012 04:40 AM #8
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Emily do you hand out that list to all your out of state Buyers? :)

Jun 07, 2012 09:06 AM #9
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Emily- I believe with your quick lesson I could be understood in the Southwest. Cut blog.

Jun 07, 2012 03:06 PM #10
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

Emily, I even bookmarked this one.  Very interesting.  Thanks.

Jun 08, 2012 02:12 AM #11
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Emily -- what a great post for those visiting or moving to Santa Fe -- lots of valuable information!

Jun 08, 2012 01:52 PM #12
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Emily Medvec

Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM
Emily Medvec Sells Santa Fe Real Estate! Call/Text 505-660-4541

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