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The World Bank publishes a lot of great articles about every country to help you do a comparison. At WorldBank.org you can do research about the economy, government stability, average wages, starting a business and much more.
See the FREE 59-page “Doing Business in 2019” report below.
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. They are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. Established in 1944, the World Bank Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
The World Bank provides low-interest loans, zero to low-interest credits, and grants to developing countries. These support a wide array of investments in such areas as education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management.
They also provide or facilitate financing through trust fund partnerships with bilateral and multilateral donors. Many partners have asked the Bank to help manage initiatives that address needs across a wide range of sectors and developing regions.
The World Bank offers support to developing countries through policy advice, research and analysis, and technical assistance. Our analytical work often underpins World Bank financing and helps inform developing countries’ own investments.
To understand what’s going on in countries, the World Bank does extensive research which they share with you on their website, www.WorldBank.org.
Before you embark on any business or construction in a country, it is a good idea to go to the WorldBank.org website to get a better understanding of what is going on in that country and what the rules are.
HOW TO DO PANAMA RESEARCH
The World Bank has a lot of data about Panama. And they even publish annual reports about a variety of different topics. You should certainly consult with an attorney in Panama to get the rules but it would be a good idea to start with the research provide at the World Bank to avoid getting in to trouble.
In Panama, some things are done in a different way than you are familiar with. A good example are real estate sales and rental listings. In Panama, it’s common to see the same house listed at several different prices with different agents. Sometimes the “spread” can be as much as $100,000 difference for the same house!
In North America, most houses for sale are listed as an exclusive listing. This means that one real estate office as the exclusive right to market the property. If that same office finds a buyer, they will typically make about a 6% commission. If an agent from a different office produces a qualified buyer, the “listing” agent will usually agree to split the 6% commission. In North America, a real estate agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the seller/buyer so all the dealings for the transaction are revealed “on top of the table.”
There are some exclusive listings in Panama too. But most listings are NOT exclusive. Instead, the seller has agreed to pay a commission to whoever produces a qualified buyer. This is why you will see the same house listed with several different office and at different prices. A typical commission in Panama is 5-6% of the sales price.
But sometimes, the seller has told the agent(s) that they need to NET a certain amount at closing and anything the agent can sell it for over that amount will be there profit. This is called a net listing. Net listings are illegal in most of North America, but it is business as usual in Panama. Here’s an example:
Joe and Mary need to walk away with $150,000 on the sale of their property. Real estate agent Sue advertises it for $220,000 – with room for negotiations, she’s hoping it will sell for $200,000 so she can walk away with a $50,000 commission versus the $12,000 commission she would have earned at 6%.
Maybe $200,000 is the right price for the house. But perhaps $150,000 is the right price. It’s hard to know in Panama because there is not a reliable MLS system to show comps of recent sales in the area. We do have an MLS system but most agents don’t use it and that’s why it’s not reliable.
Last year, I had breakfast with the broker for a local real estate office. He was bragging about how me made $600,000 profit on a NET listing near Boquete.
HOW WIDESPREAD IS THE PROBLEM? [Read more…]
Five years after you get your permanent residency in Panama you can apply for Panamanian citizenship and a Panama passport. To apply, you’ll pay $600, do in interview (in Spanish) to explain why you want to become a Panamanian, then take a history test also in Spanish. Then the President of Panama must sign the authorization. I’ve heard from people who have obtained their Panama citizenship and passport that the whole process can take a year. Panama provides this STUDY GUIDE to help you pass the test.
Panamanian citizens enjoy visa-free access to 118 countries and territories. This article from ANPanama explains why a Panama passport is so great:
(Panama City-ANPanama) The Panamanian passport is the second in Central America that offers more visa-free access to countries in the world, behind that of Costa Rica, according to the Henley Passport Index, the only one endorsed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to this strict ranking, in Central America the best classified is that of Costa Rica, which gives its citizens access without visa to 150 countries, followed by Panama with 140, El Salvador and Honduras are third with 134, Guatemala fourth with 132; Nicaragua fifth with 128 and Belize sixth with 99 countries.
The Dominican Republic, which is part of the Central American Integration System, appears seventh with access to 64 countries.
Panamanians currently enter 48 countries in Europe, 20 Caribbean islands, 18 American countries, 5 countries in Oceania and the same number in Asia and the Middle East and 3 in Africa without a visa.