The private contract - Contrato de Arras

  • When you have found your Spanish property and agreed a price, it is usual to sign a formal, private contract with the seller — the contrato de arras, which specifies:
  1. The property to be sold
  2. The purchase price
  3. The completion date (usually 2 or 3 months from signing the arras contract)
  4. The deposit paid (10%)
  5. Any special conditions that have been negotiated
  • The 10% deposit is not refundable if the buyer pulls out. However if the seller pulls out or otherwise fails to meet the conditions detailed in the contract, he/she must refund the buyer double the deposit paid.
  • This arrangement protects both parties, affords peace of mind, and greatly reduces any risk of “gazumping” by the seller.
  • Note that a contrato de arras is always signed. Where an early date is agreed, it is possible to go straight to completion, sometimes in a matter of days.
  • However, most buyers of Spanish property need some time to organise finance, money transfers to Spain etc, so the 2-3 months private contract-to-completion period allows ample time to arrange funds and find a mortgage in Spain.