I guess I am a nester. Meaning that I am the kind of person who wants to own my house and fix it up as I see fit. I have done that twice living in David.
After renting for three months when my husband and I first arrived in Panama, it was apparent that we wanted to own a home. So, we began looking at local real estate sites, Craigslist, and local forums.
I would not recommend how we bought our first home—it was the only one we looked at—but we made the right decision. The house was owned by Canadians who had put the ad on Craigslist. The owner was desperate to leave so within three days we bought the house and moved in.
The home was sold completely furnished, from the pots and pans to the linens and furniture. All we had to do was move in with our suitcases. The home had been completely remodeled to North American standards as the previous owner had worked in construction.
The process was super simple. In fact, much easier than in the U.S. In Panama, both the buyer and seller get their own attorneys. The buyer’s attorney checks that the title of the property belongs to the seller. There are no inspections required. The seller gives a “promise to buy” to the buyer who signs it and makes a down payment. Then the seller gives the final contract to the buyer and it is signed with the final payment (if done with cash). The paperwork is taken to the registry to be registered and a new title is given to the new owner. For peace of mind, we asked that all the paperwork we signed to be translated into English first, so we knew what we were signing, and that was easy to do.
Having our residence visas we set up our electricity and garbage account adding on ourJubilado Discuenta (senior discount). Signing up for cable and internet was super easy. Within a couple of hours, we had changed over all the accounts to our name.
The home was in a nice Panama subdivision on the edge of David. We were two of five North Americans living in a neighborhood of about 300 homes. My Panama neighbors were nice, helpful, and the language barrier did not present a problem. I never regretted the decision to buy and the home was great.
When circumstances occurred where we had to sell the home, the process once again was easy. In Panama, real estate agents charge a 5% fee and there is a 5% sales tax that must be paid before the sale is finalized.
Today, I am living in a condo complex in David where I purchased a condo with the same ease as I did the house.
While I understand that most people new to Panama decide to rent, I am always telling people how simple and uncomplicated buying in Panama is. Once you have decided on the area in which you really want to settle in, you can find homes in any price range whether you are looking for gated communities, city living, rural settings, or new subdivisions.
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