Finding a Rental in Panama

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 finding a rental. Check Facebook groups in the area you want to move to. Check Craigslist Panama and other websites like Encuentra 24 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 of any rentals.

3. Never ever rent something without seeing it first.  It’s good to see the neighborhood during the daytime and at night before signing a lease.   Listen for barking dogs, roosters, noisy neighbors. traffic, and local bars.

4.  Don’t assume that it has hot water at every faucet.  Verify.

5. Most rentals come completely furnished, including dishes, pots, pans, TVs, coffee pots, sheets, towels, and furniture. But ask what comes with it, don’t assume anything.

6.  Verify that the house has a reserve water tank. This is extremely important in the dry season when municipal water may be restricted.

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 ensure that those things are listed in the lease. You may want to get your attorney to review the lease before signing it, especially if it is only in Spanish.

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! Also ask then was the last gas inspection. For a gas inspection, the gas is sometimes turned off for a month!

9. Beware that some landlords charge twice as much during high season.  You can avoid this if you rent before or after high season. High season is December through April.

10.  Insist that you be able to talk to the owner to verify the correct rent so you can avoid a net listing.

Panama Gorgona Bahia
Bahia at Gorgona, Panama

If you have pets, you may want to come to Panama to secure a rental before you bring your pets.

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. Bring proof of your income for a quick approval to lease the property.

Our Online Panama Relocation Guide contains all the information you need to know to relocate to Panama.  It also lists reliable property managers/real estate agents to 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.

Jackie Lange

Jackie Lange is the founder of Panama Relocation Tours and lives in the highlands of Boquete Panama. She has helped thousands of people relocate to Panama.

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  1. Jackie Lange says

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