It’s tough for buyers of real estate in Chiriqui to find what they want for several reasons. Without any MLS system there is no way to compare properties or see what’s on the market. Real estate sales agents tend to list as many properties as they can find, then sit like a spiders guarding their Webs, waiting for prospective buyers to drop in. Sometimes they get a “live” one, but a lot of times they end up with looky-loos who just want free tours of the area, so the real estate sales agent ends up wasting a lot of time without results.
Frequently the agent pushes prospective buyers to listings where the agent makes the most commission. That really doesn’t work in the States where in most areas by law “agency” is clearly defined. The agent can be the agent of the seller, or the buyer, or both, and must operate in their best interests not the agent’s own best interest.
Many buyers come from North American and Europe where the real estate business is highly organized and regulated, unlike in Panama. Here many of the best properties aren’t “listed” anywhere, but need to be discovered word of mouth.
A lot of sellers really don’t see the value a real estate agent adds, especially for a 6-7% commission, plus the seller ends up paying the ITBS tax on the agent’s commission. So the seller opts for a “FSBO” or “for sale by owner,” yet is still faced with the challenge of getting the world out.
Talk to anyone who is selling or has sold property in Panama and you will get an ear full!
However, you can have your cake and eat it too if you have a non-exclusive listing with an agent, while at the same time trying to sell it yourself. I have nothing against real estate sales people who are professional, ethical, know what they are doing, and work to make sales and earn commissions. I was a REALTOR in Southern California [A REALTOR is a member of the National Association of REALTORS, state-licensed, a member of a local board of REALTORS, and ascribes to the ethical standards of the board and National Association. Very few folks selling real estate in Panama are REALTORS and then only if they’ve maintained their status in the US.] I could was eloquently about the benefits to both the seller and buyer of organized real estate in California. But, unfortunately, those benefits simply don’t exist in Panama.
Just because the real estate agent pushes for an exclusive doesn’t mean he or she is just greedy. A good agent will put work into a listing and if someone else, or the owner sell it, the agent gets nothing … or half of the commission. Tough for the agent, but there is a cost of doing any business. Everyone who walks into a retail store where you are renting space, hiring staff, and storing inventory, is not going to buy either. There is just a cost of doing business and real estate agents need to accept that like everyone else.
So, frustrated buyers and sellers … which is why I’ve come up with …
I’m not selling real estate. Eventually I’m going to charge some fee to folks who want to advertise their properties on the site, but to get things going I am going to accept a limited number of listings for FREE. So if you’ve got a property to sell or rent, or if you’re looking to buy or rent, here’s another tool.
If you are interested, Email firstname.lastname@example.org and put FOR SALE or FOR RENT in the subject line.