Buying property in Spain


A site proposed by:
Initial agreement between the seller and the buyer - Before Contract

What form can this agreement take? A preliminary contract? 

In Spain, there are two forms of preliminary contract: the provisional sales agreement (which may already include all the terms of the purchase and sale transaction that it is not possible or desirable to enter into at present and which may or may not be accompanied by a down-payment or deposit on the price); and an undertaking to sell (of a unilateral nature). 

With whom must the parties (buyer/seller) formalise the initial agreement? Is a legal form imposed?

When a preliminary contract or undertaking to sell are signed by the parties, these are usually in the form of a private contract. In practice, this type of contract is drawn up before a notary only in exceptional circumstances. The law does not require any special formal conditions for such contracts. 

What are the legal effects of this preliminary contract? Is a preliminary contract necessary?

A preliminary contract is not necessary. In case of a unilateral undertaking or offer to sell, the party that has given the undertaking or made the promise is obliged to fulfil it if this is required by the buyer. A bilateral contract obliges both parties to comply with it. 

Are there any amounts to be paid, and to whom? Can these amounts be repaid? 

If a deposit has been paid, it is seen as a proof of the performance of the contract. If the sale is concluded, this down-payment is considered as a part-payment of the price.

In the event of non-performance, the contract stipulates the procedure to be followed with regard to deposits. Under the Spanish Civil Code, in the absence of any provision in the contract relating to deposits, in case of non-performance of the contract by the buyer, the seller can keep the deposit, and in case of non-performance by the seller, the latter has to repay an amount equivalent to the double of the deposit.

It is very unusual for deposits to be paid before a notary. It is more usual for them to be paid before a real estate agent when such an agent is involved in the sale.

Are there any consumer protection measures (cooling-off period, right of withdrawal)?

There are no specific consumer protection measures relating to immovable property. However, there are measures to protect off-plan buyers who give down-payments and measures to make it mandatory to subscribe to liability insurance for construction defects.

Choose a language
Choose a country
More information

Consejo General del Notariado

Paseo del General Martinez Campos, 46, 6°

E - 28010 Madrid, España

Tel.: +34 - 91 - 308 72 32

Fax: +34 - 91 - 308 70 53

internacional notariado org

Information for non-EU European countries is available at the following link.