The decision has been made. You have unequivocally decided to make Panama your new home. Hopefully you traversed the country, renting as you went, until finding the area you would like to call home.
You already love this isthmus and its people, its terrain, its diversity, its pensionado program, its healthcare, and its cost of living. Now it is time to get down to brass tacks, as they say.
Firstly, search all sites that advertise Panamanian homes for sale, in addition to real estate companies. There are several “For Sale By Owner” sites online, as well as magazines which offer classified sections that list homes for sale. Even Craig’s List has a section where you can peruse homes for sale in other countries.
So you’ve found your ideal location. You’ve made a decision as to whether to buy a house or condo. The price is right. Next step, hire a reputable lawyer in your chosen location. This is a must. Besides the initial title search and all additional requirements, the lawyer can make absolutely certain that the property offers full title.
Then get your Panamanian residence and open a bank account. Assistance from your lawyer allows these procedures to go smoothly and without incidence.
If you are fortunate enough to be independently wealthy, or have recently sold your property back home, you can proceed with the purchase of your new Panamanian home. However, if a mortgage is necessary, there are additional steps to follow.
If you are retired, it will be necessary to get a letter from your government stating that you are receiving a pension that is payable for life. If not receiving a pension, you must have a regular income and must provide proof of same. As a foreigner in Panama you require a 30% down payment in order to qualify for a mortgage. Twenty-five-year terms are the maximum and you will only qualify if you are 50 years of age or younger. If 60 or over, you would be restricted to a 15-year term. Proper documentation is essential for your mortgage approval.
Panama has a very attractive property tax exemption, which was put into effect as a way to provide incentives for new home construction. The number of years of exoneration is based on the value of the home. For example, if the value is $120,000 or less, your exoneration would be for 20 years. The number of tax free years reduces relative to the higher value of the home. This tax exemption follows the ownership of the property.
Now proceed to the fun part…getting settled in your new home. Your dream has materialized.
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