Building a House in Panama
So, you want to build a house in Panama?
Be patient, be real patient. Everything will take longer than you are accustomed to. You will have to make many phone calls. You will need a Spanish speaking intermediary. You will be frustrated at times. There will be many times when you need to get a beer and go for a walk, and breathe. But, then all of a sudden, action!
I've been working on my house for 3 years now apparently - time flies. I am fortunate in that I am only a part timer, so there is no rush. But, boy howdy, it is still frustrating to watch the pace of things. Communication is difficult, due to the language barrier, and the way things are done is very different. Recently there has been a burst of accomplishment - awesome!
I now have smooth concrete on the outside and windows on the main level! I have only seen photos, but I get to see the real deal in just 6 more days. It helps to have good friends and neighbors that can talk to people on site and send photos to keep me posted.
I have been trying to get an electrical inspection since last February - still none scheduled. I am hoping that I can make it happen in less than 5 weeks. When I arrive next week, I'll be basically camping indoors, which is fine, but a fridge sure would be nice. In Panama, as I understand it, the electrical is basically the final inspection - and in order to get this inspection, you need to have windows and doors. Now that I have windows and doors, I am hoping that I can move forward. Everything else depends on electricity. I've got fancy drawings with stamps and signatures all over it - but not the electrical stamp.
My advice for any crazy gringo who wants to build a house in Panama, is to be patient, drink another Panama or Balboa, and be patient. And, oh yeah, be patient.