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What is a Contrato de Arras?

Posted by Robert Marekovic on 9. May 2024

A Contrato de Arras, or penalty payment contract, is a contract under private law for the purchase or sale of real estate in Spain. In this contract, the buyer and seller reserve the property and define the most important conditions of the purchase.

Important points of the contract:

  • Purchase price: The agreed purchase price of the property is recorded.
  • Down payment: As a rule, a down payment of 10% of the purchase price is made, which is due when the contract is signed.
  • Deadline for the conclusion of the purchase contract: A deadline for the notarization of the notarial purchase contract is agreed.
  • Right of withdrawal: Most contracts include a right of withdrawal for both parties under certain conditions.
  • Place of jurisdiction: The court having jurisdiction in the event of disputes is determined.

Advantages of the Contrato de Arras:

  • Securing the property: The seller cannot sell the property to other buyers while the Contrato de Arras is valid.
  • Legal certainty for both parties: The contract offers both parties legal certainty and clarity about the most important conditions of the purchase.
  • Avoiding loss of time: By defining the most important points in the Contrato de Arras, the conclusion of the notarized purchase contract can be accelerated.

Disadvantages of the Contrato de Arras:

  • No legal requirements: The content of the contract is freely negotiable and there are no legal requirements.
  • Possible disputes: Unclear wording or unforeseen events can lead to disputes between the parties.


The Contrato de Arras is an important instrument when buying real estate in Spain. It offers both parties legal certainty and facilitates the purchase process. However, it is important to read the contract carefully and clearly regulate the most important points in order to avoid disputes.

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