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Rainelda Mata-Kelly of Law Offices Rainelda Mata-Kelly – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Yes, if you are buying a house in Panama, you should hire an attorney.
 
Buying a house is likely to be the most important investment you will make overseas.  As similar as it may seem and even if you understand the Spanish language, there are important differences from what you are used to in your home country   Therefore, it is always wise to have a trusted attorney represent you to do the title search, draft and/or negotiate the terms of the contract and assist all the way to title registration.  Also, your attorney should advise you as to the tax situation of the property, how your purchase will affect that property tax and how to take title. 
 
In Panama, once you sign a promise to purchase contract and pay the down payment you are committed (no cooling off period).  Also, the down payment is normally not escrowed, which makes it even more important for you to have good legal representation.  
Iván Eskildsen of Cubitá Group – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
House building in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIt is always recommendable to hire an attorney when you buy a house anywhere and the same is true here in Panama. When you buy a house, the contracts will have legal clauses and people want to make sure of their investment and that the contract is fair for both parties, so it’s definitely recommendable to hire an attorney. This would be my recommendation both to Panamanians and foreigners.
 
(House building for charity in Panama, pictured.)
Jesahely De Janon of Panama Property Attorneys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Punta Pacifica, San Fracisco, Panama City, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you buy a house in Panama, it would be better to hire an attorney. This is highly recommended for expats.
 
Expats and Panamanians must pay taxes and prepare sales contracts. It is not impossible for anyone to do it by themselves but it is better if an attorney reviews the contract because there are some obligations that both parties should do to ensure that the client gets all his rights. There are procedures that must be presented to government entities so it would be better if an attorney is in charge of the process.  
 
(Punta Pacifica property represented by attorney Jesahely de Janon, San Francisco, Panama City, Panama, pictured.)
Duncan McGowan of Punta Pacifica Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Punta Pacifica, Panama, arial view – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYes, it is 100% certain that if you buy real estate in Panama, you need to hire an attorney, for the same reason that I would hire an attorney if I bought property anywhere in the world.
 
It’s always been so surprising to me when someone can come down and decide that they’re going to invest a quarter million dollars or a half a million dollars or a million dollars on a property and not have an attorney review their contract. I never understood that logic. If I were to sign any kind of contract, any kind of document, anywhere in the world, I want an attorney to review my document. I think that’s just common sense. If you’re making any substantial purchase, you definitely want an attorney to review the documents. 
 
(Looking down at Panama City from a building in Punta Pacifica, Panama, pictured.)
Jonathan Stolarz of COSTA LINDA RESIDENCE CLUB – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
House at Costa Linda, Panama City, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI recommend that you hire an attorney if you buy a house in Panama because of the language of the contract that you will have to sign.   The contracts here in Panama are in Spanish.   We translate contracts to English, but we only sign the one in Spanish, so you would need somebody who will help you make the decision to sign the contract or not. 
 
If there are differences between the Spanish and English sales contract from your real estate purchase in Panama, it’s always the Spanish contract that supersedes the English-translated contract.  The English-translated contract is not legal in any way, shape, or form; therefore, only the Spanish contract is admissible in court.  
 
Needless to say, if you're not absolutely fluent in Spanish and absolutely fluent with the laws of the country of the Republic of Panama, then it is prudent to have an attorney.
 
Also, if you want to hold an ownership of a property in Panama in the form of a foundation, society, or any other form other than a personal ownership, you’ll certainly need an attorney to help you set it up.  The attorneys here in Panama are inexpensive and will cost you just around US $1,000.
 
(Pictured: Hose at Costa Linda, Panama.)
Bill Hamilton of Bill Hamilton – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
House in Herrera, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou need to hire an attorney if you buy a house in Panama. You can’t do it without an attorney. This is by statute and common sense.
 
There are many loopholes here. You should never, ever buy anything that is untitled even though the real estate agents, even the Americans, will tell you, “Don’t worry, it’s in process.” Well, that "process" can take ten to twenty years. Meanwhile, someone comes along and says, “Oh no. That was my great, great grandfather’s piece of land, and I am entitled to that.” You can lose the land, so it is very important to get a good lawyer.
 
Fortunately, I found an excellent lawyer. She doesn’t miss anything and saved me a lot of money as well. Be very careful with lawyers in Panama. A lot of them are rip-offs, out to make a quick buck. A lot of them don’t really know what they’re doing. They make out that they do, but they don’t. I went through about ten lawyers before I found one I wanted to use.
 
All the big lawyers like offshore company lawyers charged a fortune. I found this lawyer in Panama City whom I have recommended loads of people to. She’s got all the answers straight in her head and the only one who answered my questions in my email, and her answers were right down the dot. She charged approximately 1% of the total value of the property. So if you buy a house that is US $200,000 dollars, you can expect to pay $2,000 dollars for her attorney fees.
Denise MacDonald of My Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
It is highly recommended that you have a lawyer assist you with your real estate transaction in Panama. Once you have chosen your property, they will do a title search, check that taxes are in order, and assist you with all of the issues involved in closing. Most realtors will have one or more lawyers and/or accountants that they work closely with and can, therefore, refer you to them. 
 
Just as there are a multitude of realtors in Panama, there are just as many lawyers. As in any field, some are better than others. Going with a recommendation from a realtor or friend is always a great place to start.
Jose Broce of Broce-Pinilla & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Before buying a house in Panama, I suggest that you investigate through both a lawyer and an accountant. The accountant certifies that the property has no pending taxes and the lawyer will certify that the property has no legal issues.
 
We routinely help our clients with these issues when they purchase real estate in Panama, which is why in our law firm we also have an accounting department.  That way, we can give our clients a full certification of not only the legal status, but also the tax status of the properties they intend to purchase.
gabriel illescas of SIUMA REALTY – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
If you want to buy a house (or any other real estate in Panama) a lawyer will be necessary depending on what kind of buyer you are. If you plan to finance the deal with a Panamanian Bank then they will take care of the paper work with their own lawyers and they will charge you for it, however they will include this fee within the mortgage. If you plan to buy with your own money, then once the seller fulfills their obligations such as tax payments (and the rest of steps involved to clear the title) those documents will be needed to create the New Title (this time under the buyer's name). This process is in 95% of the cases  carried by a lawyer. The other 5% try to do it by themselves but they get everything wrong so many times that they might regret it. Lawyer up and be safe. Its not an expensive fee at all. 
Renate Jope of Panama Premium Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

You don't need to hire an attorney to buy a house in Panama, although it's a small expense to get "peace of mind". It's well worth that effort of being sure you are getting a "clean" deal on any Real Estate in Panama. Unless you are very sure about your Real Estate Salesperson, I would make sure the attorney does a thorough job on your purchase of your house or any other deal.


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