by Linda Card
So you’ve decided to live in Panama for an extended time to see if it’s right for you. And you’re going to heed the universal advice given to expats moving to a foreign country: rent before you buy. Excellent. So what’s your next step? Find a place to live. How? Here are some pointers.
Get a Head Start
You can get started on your research before you leave home by looking online for rental properties. Sites such as encuentra24, Viviun, and craigslist: panama are excellent resources to familiarize yourself with what is available and costs. You can also locate realtors or property managers to contact directly, and send them details about what size and kind of house you seek, where, and how much you want to pay.
Visiting and posting on forums and chat groups such as Viviendo en Panama/Living in Panama, Gringos in David Panama, or Panama Forum (among many others) is a great way to make contact with other expats and get their input. Ask about reputable realtors and property managers for the area where you want to live. But don’t expect to have a deal worked out before you get on the plane.
There are many things one can do long distance via the internet, but I suggest that renting a house is not one of them. One thing that gets North Americans in trouble is their often near obsessive need to have all their plans made, decisions settled, and details arranged before they leave home. If you’re going on an all-inclusive one week vacation to some exotic resort this may be a perfect plan. But if you are renting a place to live it could spell disaster. Horror stories abound from folks who paid a lot of money for a rental, before they even arrived in Panama, only to discover that what they paid for was not what was promised via email. There are too many variables and unknowns in a foreign country that are impossible to anticipate. Go ahead and make your hotel reservations for your arrival in Panama, and then, hit the ground to find a rental.
What You Need to Know