Overseas estate agents generally do a lot more for buyers than their opposite numbers in the UK.
When you are dealing with a buyer who doesn't know the language, area, culture or legal system, a certain amount of hand-holding is necessary during the property purchase process.
Advice on travel, amenities, schools, rental regulations will often be part of the service, alongside the usual help on taxes, fees, locations and local property prices.
These extra duties often continue during the after-sales period too, so buyers in Spain for the first time should choose an estate agent who will assist with service connections, home improvements and other post-purchase requirements, says Costa Blanca agency HomeEspaña, who has listed the five most common things with which it assists new homeowners.
"As buyers flood back to Spain, it's important they start out on the right foot as a new homeowner somewhere foreign - some simple things done from the outset, ideally before flying back home, can save hassle in the long run," said Kieran Byrne, MD of HomeEspaña.
"Our after sales department is expecting a busy year. Recent statistics show that foreigners accounted for a record 21 per cent of property purchases in Spain last year, with the Valencian Community - home to the Costa Blanca - being the region that saw the highest rise in sales to overseas buyers."
Below are the five things HomeEspaña's after sales team most frequently assists clients with.
Buildings and contents insurance is a must for property-owners in Spain. If the property will be left vacant for long periods - as many second homes are - or let to holidaymakers, owners must ensure they have adequate cover. HomeEspaña can assist with insuring properties through an English-speaking UK based insurer or a local Spanish insurer. Agents can also deal with insurance claims on behalf of absent clients, for example a property flooded by a broken boiler, and helped with motor and moped insurance.
2. Changing locks
It is not uncommon for security conscious foreign owners to change the locks of their Spanish property. A good agent can assist with arranging a locksmith to visit a property or purchasing replacement locks. They can also help with having an alarm fitted or key-holding, both of which non-residents typically choose to do.
3. TV, phone and internet connections
Buyers should not take it for granted that all properties are sold with telephone or broadband connections, or Satellite TV. HomeEspaña will help owners get connected and suggest suitable service providers, as should other quality agents.
4. Air conditioning
The hot Spanish summers mean air conditioning is a common requirement for many foreign buyers. If a property is without it or the existing units need replacing or repairing, your agent should suggest reliable local firms. Buyers of property on a new development may be able to choose whether or not to have it installed.
5. Property improvements
Re-decorating, replacing a kitchen, re-tiling the patio or having a swimming pool put in - it's common for new owners to have improvement plans for their Spanish property. HomeEspaña's contacts include local building firms, and they can also suggest suitable places to purchase white goods and furniture.