Can I pull out from a signed purchase/sale contract of a property?

Juan Ramón Correas [Lawyer]

When you are buying or selling a property in Spain, normally the initial step of the transaction would be signing a private contract with the other part, where you would be paying (if you buy) or receiving (if you sell) a deposit. If circumstances change –or simply, you just change your mind- and you prefer not to continue with the transaction, is it possible to pull out from it? Or could you be forced to complete the purchase/sale of the property?

The wording of the contract will be of paramount importance. Depending what the contract says, you may have the chance of cancelling the contract or not.

The scenario we are contemplating is a cancellation of the contract just because you prefer not to continue. It is to say, the cancellation would not be based on a breach of contract by the other part; it would just be based on your unilateral decision: you just changed your mind (you prefer not to buy it/sell it; you prefer to buy it/sell it to somebody else; etc.).

If this is the case, there are two possibilities:

  1. The contract is worded in a way that authorises you to pull out of it at any stage, without the need of cause or explanation. In this case, you would have to be prepared to lose the deposit paid or reimburse the deposit received multiplied per two (for instance, if you received 5.000.-€ deposit, you would need to refund those 5.000.-€ plus an additional sum of 5.000.-€ more), depending if you were buying or selling.
  2. The contract is worded in a way where, if you prefer not to continue with the transaction, the other part could force you to complete it (and also, demand compensation for the damages suffered for initially not fulfilling the contract as agreed).

As you could see, it is very important to receive proper legal advice if you are buying/selling property in Spain. That way you could be informed of all the possible scenarios and focus the contract in the best possible way to protect your interest.

We hope that the previous information is helpful, but please do not hesitate to contact us with any question or comments.

Please note that the information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.