The process of finding a rental in Panama is different than what you are familiar with. There is not one website like Zillow where you can see a lot of available rentals. You can’t just walk into one real estate office and ask to see all the rentals in your price range. Instead, you’ll need to take a much more proactive approach to find a rental in Panama. Listen to the replay of a conference call discussing how to find a rental. You’ll learn what NOT to do too!
See the top 10 takeaways from the call below. Listen to the replay for many other tips and tricks for finding a rental in Panama.
1. You’ll need to take a much more proactive approach to find a rental. Check Facebook groups in the area you want to move to. Check craigslist Panama and other websites like Encuentra for rentals. Rent a car and drive around looking for rental signs or hire a driver to take you.
2. The best rentals are usually found by word-of-mouth and rented directly from the owner. Don’t be afraid to ask people you meet if they know if any rentals.
3. Never ever rent something without seeing it first. It’s good to see the neighborhood during the day time and at night before signing a lease. Listen for barking dogs, roosters, noisy neighbors.
4. Don’t assume that it has hot water at every faucet. Verify.
5. Most rentals come completely furnished including dishes, pots, pans, tv, coffee pot, sheets, towels, and furniture.
6. Verify that the house has a reserve water tank.
7. Make sure there is a written lease. Write down everything they told you would come with the house (like electricity, water, gardener, etc) then very that those things are listed in the lease.
8. For condo/apartment complexes, ask if there is a generator and what it powers in your unit (hopefully the elevator too). East versus the west side of the building can make a big difference too!
9. Beware that some landlords charge twice as much during high season. You can avoid this if you rent before or after high season.
10. Insist that you be able to talk to the owner to verify what the correct rent is so you can avoid a net listing.
TIMING! When to look for a rental?
You should either plan to stay in an Airbnb while you look for a rental OR come to Panama no more than 30 days before you plan to move to Panama to look for a rental.
Owners and agents will only show a vacant property. Vacant properties are ready to rent NOW, not 2,3,4 months later. Owners will not hold the rental for you so you need to be prepared to sign a lease starting immediately when you look for rentals.
Our Online Panama Relocation Guide contains all the information you need to know to relocate to Panama. It also has a list of reliable property managers/real estate agents who can help you find a rental. It’s a good idea to contact the agents about a month before you come to Panama so they can have some rentals lined up for you to see.