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Chris Frochaux of Chris Frochaux - SERVMOR REALTY – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Before buying a home in a new housing development in Panama, you should learn as much as possible about the developer. The Internet is a relatively reliable source, especially since many complaints are logged in Spanish. Some developers are better than others and this is well known among professional real estate brokers.
 
For example, there are well documented cases of construction problems, such as gas leaks (with fatalities) or water leaks, less dangerous but extremely annoying: when you get a call from the owner of the apartment below yours complaining about water infiltration, it can be costly to find out if the leak originates from your apartment, the one above or from a general pipe which the building administration should take care of. It's not only costly, but it can become a nagging nightmare. Many builders will print glossy brochures vaunting imported cabinetry and fixtures for example, but it's like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Technically speaking, it could be manufactured in Milano, Geneva or Pyongyang, and still be imported! I have seen a building whose doors "made in Italy" where fabricated in the building's basement out of thin plywood.
 
There's another thing to take into consideration: when you buy "pre-construction" based on a glossy brochure, there's no guarantee that the building will be ready for occupancy as scheduled. Seven years ago, I was associated with an important real estate company in Coral Gables, FL and we were promoting a very nice building in Punta Pacifica. It's not finished yet...
 
There are two other pitfalls to watch out for: buried somewhere in the purchase agreement fine print, there are two interesting clauses to watch for. First of all, if the apartment is measured after its completion and it's discovered that it's larger than what was initially intended, then you have to pay for the increase. Would you guess that apartments always increase in size, never the contrary? (Must be the humidity). Also, get ready to pay an extra 5% to compensate for construction costs increase.
 
Before taking the plunge, do yourself a favor: take a trip to Panama and get familiarized with the neighborhoods. It might be a good idea to purchase a new, but already completed, apartment, so you can actually see and touch everything. Additionally, many investors who purchased a "pre-construction" property a few years back, when the market conditions were different, are eager to unload their investments, at prices which are below developers' prices...
Mike Vuytowecz of Inside Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Homes in El Valle, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBefore buying a new home or even a used home anywhere in Panama, it’s a good idea to travel around a bit like I did. Panama is very diverse and only a 30 or 40 minute drive could bring you to a completely different environment with completely different housing and different pricing. So it’s a really good idea to spend some time really checking Panama out. The good news is, unlike the United States, you could check out the whole country in a couple of weeks.
 
If you are buying in a new housing development you should make sure that you know about the development.  You should have been to the development, know how far along they are in the process, and what type of a track record the developer has. In Panama, there are many developers that come from outside of Panama where perhaps they are successful where they came from and they find that some things in Panama are a bit different and they may not be as successful as they were from where they came from. It’s really important to know who the developer is and what their track record is in Panama. Many things in Panama are not as they seem so it is good to ask lots of questions from the people who live there already and in the surrounding communities. You really have to do a lot of homework.
 
I encourage people to rent and go slow and take their time before they purchase a home in a foreign country. Often for many of these people, when they come to Panama, financially they are spending all they have left, so they really can’t afford to make a mistake.  Especially for these people, it’s a very good idea to be cautious and go slowly.
 
(Homes in El Valle, Panama, pictured.)
Iván Eskildsen of Cubitá Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Condos available at Cubita, Chitre, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingFirst of all, when you are buying a new home or a condo in a new housing development in Panama, you need to know who is behind the development. As always, there are people that have better experience and reputation in Panama and are serious about how they deliver and develop their projects, so as a result, they have very few or no complaints from home buyers. Then there are people who are less serious and think they can be developers who fail, which happens in most countries. So the first thing I’m going to do is usually know the developer and check their experience and reputation.
 
It is also important to know where the development is located, because there are areas that have higher expectations of appreciation than others. It’s always recommendable if you can find one or two real estate brokers who can provide an objective opinion, because it’s always difficult to come from the outside and get the information on what area or what city has a higher possibility of appreciation. So get recommendations.
 
(Condos available at Cubita Villas and Condos, Chitre, Panama, pictured.)
Duncan McGowan of Punta Pacifica Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Trump Tower in San Francisco, Panama City, Panama advertisement poster – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are many different neighborhoods in Panama City, each with a completely different feel, different taste, and different types of people tend to gravitate towards different neighborhoods.
 
A lot of the expats living in San Francisco would have similar interests, budgets, and lifestyle. If you were in Casco Viejo, the type of person living there is a different kind person; they’re more bohemian.  It’s a more of a European lifestyle—you can go to El Cangrejo and see different people. So I think it would be a really good idea to get to know the different neighborhoods because it is quite interesting that in such a compact city there can be so much diversity from neighborhood to neighborhood.
 
There will be a neighborhood in Panama City that will fit your specific lifestyle and desire. If you’re looking to purchase, I would really look very closely as to which developer constructed that property. Certain developers are better than others. If you’re in the property of a particular developer, you can probably expect to have more maintenance issues and problems than if you are in the property that was constructed by one of the better developers, where you can go and pretty much expect to live without any major maintenance problems occurring.
 
Buying in the pre-construction phase is safe as long as you also look at the developer and the developer’s track record. We’ve got some very good developers in Panama City that have been constructing for a long time and you’ll look at the building that they built which were sold in pre-construction and you can see that they were well-built and have good quality and they care about their name and their reputation of the property that they deliver. There are other developers that are less concerned as to the quality and the product of their delivery so I think just by looking at the track record of the developer that is of interest to you is extremely important.
 
If you do that, purchasing in pre-construction is great because you can get a much better price than you would on an already existing inventory.  And if you’re not ready to retire yet (perhaps you’re thinking of retiring a few years down the line), you can at least know that you’ve locked in to your property at a good price and when it’s ready and it would be your moment to come down and retire you won’t have to pay the whole thing upfront, either.  
Jonathan Stolarz of COSTA LINDA RESIDENCE CLUB – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Proposed public landscaping of Regency Development outside of Panama City, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBefore buying in a new housing in Panama, I would recommend that you pick a developer carefully.  The most important thing to consider is the reputation of the developer, followed by price of the property, and then the location of the home.
 
It's important to know who the developer is.  If the developer is not financially sound, then what may happen is that the developer will use the sales of the early units in order to finance the development of the rest of the property or there may be some other financing issues where the property development is never finished.  When this happens the people who bought early are left stuck with a property in a not finished development. 
 
Once you’ve found a reliable developer, the next thing to do is to buy a property in the early stages of development.   Under construction developments are good investments because the value of the property tends to go up as the construction is ongoing and is even higher when it gets finished and more amenities are put in, like the club house, tennis courts, etc.   
 
(Proposed common area for Costa Linda, Regency Development's gated community outside of Panama City, Panama, pictured.)
Louise Belisle – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Condo with pool – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPlease, see if you can speak to others living in the development and also read your contract.  
 
I have a friend that lives in a 'complex' where she needs to pay for guests every time when they visit to use the pool, and the manager can decide at any time if he will let them; little things that may seem insignificant,  but eventually will make all the difference in how happy you are in your complex.
 
(Condo with pool amenities, pictured.)
 
Michael A. Martinez of B & B Real Estate Nicaragua / Panama Real Estate Information – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Pacific Blue Panama real estate house – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBefore buying a home in a new housing development in Panama, it is important to check the track the record of the developer and the projects that they have done before. You can easily go online and find resources. When you have an unsatisfied customer, they go on the Internet. You can also find out about satisfied customers.
 
There are lots of great projects inside and outside the city (Panama City). You will always find something positive and negative and the Internet is your best source for finding the information you need before you buy a home in new housing development or start a project in Panama. Talk to the residents who have been there for a while and go visit the community.
 
Here in the western Azuero Peninsula, which we call “the Sunset Coast” and in Torio, a town here, we have three communities underway. They’re not very large and developed but there are a couple of hundred Americans, Canadians and Europeans who live there and who would be more than happy to tell you about their experiences on their projects.
 
Of course, it always pays to have a realtor who knows the area and is honest.
 
(House in Panama with screened in porch and pool, pictured.)
Moises Montero Randino of Montero Randino - Attorneys at Law – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Shortly, there are some important steps you should take before buying a home in a new housing development in Panama:
  1. Get to know the developer. It is important to get as much information as possible on the developer's reputation.
  2. Get as much information as possible on property value, appreciation, and tax consequences after the period of exemption.
  3. Hire an attorney.
 
Gonzalo de la Guardia of DENFAB Law Firm – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Before buying a new home/apartment there are several things you should take into consideration:
  1. Reputation of the developer, depending on who the developer is, construction quality can vary, you should research other projects that the developer has built.
  2. Have all your ducks in order, if you are financing, get a pre approval by the bank, you want to make sure you will be in capacity to comply with the contract before signing it.
  3. Have a competent attorney to help you in the transaction especially to review contracts so you fully understand what your obligations and rights are.
Allen Rosen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Talk to other home owners in the project. What do they have to say about the developer? Does he have a good reputation? Has he provided the services and amenities he promised? Is he responsive to their needs and questions? What is the quality of the roads, electricity, water and building construction? What kind of a warranty comes with the house?
 
These are the sorts of questions you should ask about a developer -- anywhere in the world.
 
If more people asked more questions before writing checks, there would be fewer people suffering from buyer's remorse.
 
Chances are that if the other owners are happy there, you will also be happy; and if the other owners are unhappy you will also be unhappy.
 

 

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