There are many places in Panama that expats have chosen to call home. In my opinion Boquete, where I live, is the best! The people are friendly, it’s far from the madness of the big city, at around 3,400 feet, nestled in the mountains, the air is fresh and pure and the weather is Spring-like year-round. Boquete district would be like a county in the US, and Boquete Bajo, or lower Boquete, is like our “downtown” where local supermarkets and services are located. About 45 minutes from “downtown” Boquete is the second largest city in Panama, David, where there are hospitals, shopping malls, and the airport [DAV].
Here are two excellent, high-end properties depending on what you desire … close in to town or a private, spacious estate.
Just 10 minutes above “downtown Boquete” is the tiny Panamanian hamlet of Palmira Centro, surrounded by coffee and dairy farms. Off a fully paved road up a private driveway lined with Royal Palms is a 4,500 sq ft Tuscan-inspired home, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, cathedral ceilings, Spanish tiles, spacious outdoor living areas. open, light and airy.with high-speed cable Internet available. This .8 hectares or approx 2 acres estate has sweeping vistas, tropical plants and fruit trees including bananas, plantains, oranges, lemons, sweet lemons, avocados and Arabica coffee There is a seasonal stream and bird species galore. More …
Within walking distance to “downtown” Boquete, Valle Escondido [“Hidden Valley”] is Panama’s first and Boquete’s premium gated, guarded, planned community. Surrounded by beautiful homes and gardens, homes adjoin Valle Escondido Resort & Golf Course offering a menu of optional available resort activities. This custom-designed and built 6 + 5.5 home is loaded with tasteful upgrades and is on one of the largest and most private lots in Valle Escondido. The downstairs can be rented as a 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment, or opened up to have a 6 bedroom/ 5.5 bath home. More …
* I am promoting for a friend who has had to return to the States for heath reasons, lest some real estate agent gets their undies in a bundle that I’m selling real estate other than my own property. Which leads me to …
Selling & Buying Real Estate in Panama
Real estate in Panama is very competitive, some might say “cut-throat,” and compared to North America relatively unregulated. Yes, real estate sales people do need to be “licensed” and to get a license you have to take a test in Spanish, which some who aren’t fluent in Spanish either find someone, even a cab driver, to take the test and get the license, and then run things under that person’s name and license, or you may work with an attorney who is licensed and do things that way. But there is no local real estate board or Code of Ethics as in most of North America, Having been a licensed REALTOR in California before we moved to Panama, I thought perhaps I would sell real estate when we moved, but when I saw how things were routinely done in Panama, I quickly realized that if I had operated the same way in California. I would have very quickly lost my license.
Things are not the same in Panama as they are in much of North America. Terms like “due dilligence,” “agency,” and “fiduciary duty” do not necesarily have the same meaning or importance as you may be used to “back home,” wherever that may be. US law is based on English common law and case precident whereas Panama law is based on old French and Spanish law where decisions are made by the judge without regard to any concept of precident. All this is best summed up in the words of the Wizzard of Oz, “You’re not in Kansas anymore.”
You may but do not need to use a real estate sales person in Panama, in fact many of the best properties are not listed by any agent and are for sale by owner. Unlike in most of North America, all properties are not multi-listed so agents will promote properties where they make the most commission working in their best interests. All you really need is a good attorney you can trust (until you can’t trust them),
There are some good real estate sales people and good attorneys but unfortunately there are some who aren’t. You just need to be choose wisely based on multiple recommendations (understanding “referral fees” by one name or another are common practice) and realize that things may be very different than in your home country.