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Jose Broce of Broce-Pinilla & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Before remodeling your house in Panama, you have to know the right people who will be working for you, because they are the ones who will take of everything. Learn about their experience to ensure that they are capable of handling everything.
 
You can also opt to hire an interior designer, who is in charge of hiring people, monitoring the materials to be delivered in your home and overseeing everything that is related in remodeling your house.
 
Bear in mind that the cost of remodeling your house may vary depending on the changes that you want. The price can go from very cheap to very expensive.
Neil Stein of Panama Paraiso – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

House in El Valle de Anton Panama made of masonry and tile – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI am a builder but I am used to wood construction. Here in Panama, everything is made of masonry and tile. You will not find any carpeting here, either.

You will have to get local talent to do these jobs for you. People who have remodeled have been frustrated for the most part because of the "mañana" mentality (putting off tasks for later) so things do not exactly happen as scheduled. Therefore, remodeling can be a bit frustrating.

People end up buying a house they like just the way it is because if you are going to remodel, you should be ready to accept the fact that it is going to take a while. Things do not go exactly on schedule in Panama.

Vannessa Solano of Activentas, S.A. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

There are some places in Panama where the land is so valuable that people buy a property on a piece of land and then demolish the existing structure and re-build from scratch.  For this type of remodeling, of course, you would have a significant project.  However, if you’re just remodeling, for example, to add a studio or to enlarge the terrace, remodeling in Panama is pretty straightforward.
 
We have engineers and architects here in Panama who can be hired for your remodel and companies in Panama that specialize in remodeling.  The companies specializing in remodeling obviously charge more than just finding someone who says they can do the job and giving it to him.  However, if you hire an independent person who is not with a company, you’re taking a chance that, even though they show up today, they may not show up tomorrow, and your remodel will take longer.  However, if you contract with a company, your relationship with your contractor and the job will be more structured and professional.
 
If you contract with a legitimate company, you should receive a warranty that states that if anything goes wrong, that company will fix it.  If that company doesn’t honor their warranty, you can take them to ACODECO (English translation: Panamanian Consumer Protection and Free Competition Authority).  Taking your complaint to ACODECO is almost like suing your contractor.  ACODECO will try to get the contractor to do what he agreed to and can penalize them if they don’t.  However, you can’t take independent workers to ACODECO.
 

Mark Hurt – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The first thing I thought of when I read the question about how it is to remodel in Panama was that the question may have to do with the permits to do so.   Permits are not a big deal here.   These people build homes with materials that would NEVER pass in the US.  The people from the local fire department are the ones who come out and check your meter box and wiring before you get power to it, and I have found that they don't have a clue what 110 or 220 is.  Their inspection is just a way for them to make US $70.00.  Now, actually, I think it’s $120 but you must have their stamp or you can’t get power.
 
The main thing I would tell someone is buy your own materials.  Don’t allow your builder to buy your materials, such as sand, gravel, concrete etc.  Your builder might be getting a great price on it, but YOU won't.  Next, never pay to much ahead of where the builder is on the job.  And remember this as well: a contract isn't worth crap down here.  Panama is not Kansas.  If you have a problem with a builder, eat the loss and move on.  Your day in court will be at least two to three years away, and even if you win, your builder won't have a thing you can get from him, so never pay for more then you have already gotten.  And don't think “Well, why would he steal or cheat me today on this, when I have at least 6 months more work to go on this place?”  Why? Because they live from day to day.  To plan ahead or to do the right thing that will end up with them making good money for a longer time NEVER ENTERS THEIR MIND.  This is why service in this country is crap.
David Whittington of Tucan Golf Club and Resort – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Many (but not all) he local tradespeople in Panama have a different attitude on what is and is not quality work than you would find in North America.  Because of this, it is not a good idea to just tell the tradespeople what you want, go back to your home in North America and then come back later and expect it to be the way you had it in your mind.
 
Locally made items such as cabinetry are very well made, with solid wood as opposed to veneers, etc.  However, it may not be as easy to get some of the hardware you would like locally, but you can get pretty much whatever you’d like shipped in.
 
Because the cost of labor is so very much cheaper in Panama than in Canada (perhaps $2.25 per hour as opposed to $25 per hour), the cost to do a remodel in Panama would be substantially less than in Canada.
Renate Jope of Panama Premium Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
It's really not that hard to remodel a place in Panama, be it a house or apartment.  Going with a good remodeling company, or good referrals from friends goes a long way. Get quotes from a couple different contractors for comparison.
 
Be prepared to pay as you go along with the "steps" of remodel work done, don't pre- pay a great amount.   If you trust the cost the contractor budgeted out for you let him buy the materials, if not you can always purchase them and just pay for labor.
 
You have to get a permit for remodeling which the contractor will get for you.  In my experience you need to be on top of the workers to be sure that the job gets done the way you like it, look over their shoulders and supervise on a regular basis.
 
Remodeling is a lot cheaper than what we were used to from the US for example, labor cost and materials are just lower.
 
Be prepared that Monday is often a day the workers just don't show up, they have to recover from the weekend.  That's the flow of Life in Panama!
 
 

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