Direct: (507) 6675-0828
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you recommend a good lawyer?
- Can you recommend a mortgage broker?
- How do I get Insurance in Panama?
- Do you offer Escrow Services and Title Insurance?
- How much do you charge for your brokerage services?
- Who pays the commission, the seller or the buyer?
- How safe is Panama?
- How do I get a permanent Visa in Panama?
- Do you know a good guided tour company for my trip?
- What makes Panama different than other countries in Central America?
1. Can you recommend a good lawyer?
Once we are working with you, we can recommend a lawyer who is right for you and your individual needs. Whether you need someone who is specialized in immigration, real estate, or commercial law, we know plenty of talented, honest and reputable lawyers who can help you get your needs met in the Panama legal system.
2. Can you recommend a mortgage broker?
We have relationships with several reputable mortgage companies and banks in Panama and can refer you to one we think will best suit your needs. Typically banks in Panama require a 30% down payment on properties for foreigners and will land at reasonable rates depending on your credit score and financial record.
Banks will typically finance up to 70% of the value of your home, you will need the following documents to qualify for a home loan:
1. Proof of Income
2. The last three year's income tax returns
3. Copies of Government Issued Identification
4. Credit Reports from the three major agencies: Equifax, Experian, and
5. Insurance with Fire Damage Coverage and Life Insurance
6. Copies of Current Utility Bills
7. Bank References and an open Account at your Lending Bank for Easy
3. How do I get insurance in Panama?
We can refer you to some insurance brokers we trust and recommend and they can give you all the different policies and plans they offer for home, car,health, life, and travel insurance policies.
4. Do you have Escrow Services and Title Insurance Available?
Escrow services and Title insurance are not normally used in Panama, but that is changing. We are working with some companies who are launching to offer Title Insurance and Escrow to our clients. Typically here you can find Escrow services through your Lawyer and their office as well to protect your investment.
5. How much do you charge for your brokerage services?
We charge 5% on the amount of the transaction within Panama City and surrounding areas, we charge up to 10% more for locations which are especially remote or hard to get to.
6. Who pays the commission, the buyer or the seller?
In Panama the seller pays the commission, they work that figure in to the equation when they are deciding how much to ask on the sale of their property.
7. How safe is Panama?
Panama is widely regarded as an extremely safe place to live, Panama City is generally extremely safe in the main areas of town, though it is a large city and one should take everyday precautions . Life near the beaches or countryside is very secure as well, especially when living in a gated community. People in Panama tend to be very helpful and polite, and hate face to face confrontations, thus the lack of much violent crime.
There can be some opportunistic thefts every now and then, but those can be prevented with good preparation, an informed security guard or caretaker, and not leaving valuables out to tempt people.
Panama itself is extremely protected from any type of terrorist attacks or bombings, for several reasons, first they do not have an army and rarely have international disputes, and secondly the Panama Canal is such an integral and important part of the world's trade and functioning the likelihood of anyone destroying such an important trade portal is extremely small.
8. How do I get a permanent Visa in Panama?
There are several ways to qualify as a full time resident here in Panama and you will need to find an immigration Lawyer to fully explain your options.
One popular option is getting a Retirement (Pension) Visa where you prove you get at least $1000 per month in income from a qualified Pension and you get an assortment of retirement benefits,discounts at restaurants, hotels, on flights, etc.
Another option is to invest in a property for reforestation, invest in properties or businesses in Panama, or to start a small business which employs Panamanians. We can direct you to a lawyer who can go over and explain all of your options to become a full time resident in Panama.
Retirees in Panama enjoy many benefits such as:
50% off of all entertainment including movies, theater, concerts, as well as recreation, cultural, sporting events, and more
25% off of all restaurant prices
25% off of airfare with private or public, national or foreign companies
15% off of hospital and private clinic services
20% off of general and specialist medical consultations and surgeries
15% off of dental and eye exams
20% discount for technical and professional services (lawyers, architects, nurses, physical therapists, etc.)
Also, when you have a Retirement Visa in Panama you can import a new car Tax Free every two years (new imports typically carry a 40% car tax)
With these benefits and more, no wonder Panama has been rated the #1 place in the world to retire!
9. Do you know of a good guided tour company for my trip?
Whether you are coming for business, vacation, or to go property searching, Panama has lots of great adventure in store for you. We suggest that you read as much as you can about the culture, history, and current situation in Panama as you can before you get here, so you know what to expect.
If you are looking for a tour company to vacation with, we recommend Barefoot Panama (no relation but good people!) for quality, and personalized service. They are an experienced group of guides who can show you the best of what Panama tourism has to offer, from mountain peaks, beautiful beaches, exotic islands, rainforest adventures, to indiginous cultures and much more.
It is important to remember that you are in a foreign country, and even if you don't know Spanish (that is fine, most foreigners don't!) be patient and do your best to understand those around you. Most Panamanians are more than happy to practice their English and help people out, as long as they feel respected in return.
Bring light, comfortable warm weather clothes, and some light jackets/sweaters if you plan on visiting the mountains or highlands. Bring some hiking shoes and flip flops, a good bathing suit, and most importantly, take along your adventurous spirit, you are sure to find amusing, captivating, fun and spirited moments throughout your trip.
Be aware the Panamanians are very conscious of the way people present themselves, and you will be required to wear nice, long pants and shoes(for men) to enter a lawyers office or bank. Women need to wear nice slacks or clothes, with casual flip flops and tank tops not looked upon highly. Don't worry, these professional buildings are always well air conditioned so you won't get hot!
Remember to always carry with you a copy of your passport, the front page and the stamp of your entry date, in case immigration officials want to make sure you are in the country legally as a tourist, for up to 90 days.
11. What makes Panama different than other countries in Central America?
Each country in the world is different, with a different atmosphere, climate, cultures, etc. and that is what makes traveling and living in other places such a unique experience. Panama is an extremely special country in many ways, and is really set apart from many other countries in Central America, and the world. Latin Business Chronicle recently rated Panama as Latin America's #1 fastest growing economy.
Panama's location in the world has been bringing trade to its shores for many years and since the building of the Canal its important role and position in International Trade has solidified and grown. With all of the ships and goods passing through the Panama Canal, many foreign travel and business people have visited and lived in Panama, which has enhanced its receptiveness and amenities for foreigners. In addition the US had troops stationed here to protect the canal for many years and North Americans are generally welcomed and accepted.
Panama's location has proved to be a great place for banking and commerce, and Panama is widely regarded as the banking and business hub of the Americas. Most flights to South America pass through Panama City and many banks and companies are headquartered here. Recently Panama has passed several laws to make it an attractive location for businesses to operate, and several large companies have chosen Panama as their new headquarters, including 3M, Dell, HP, P&G, and Caterpillar.
For these reasons and more, Panama has been known for the past five or more years as a top place in the world to retire, vacation and invest. Considering modern Panama City and beautiful affordable beaches and living expenses, Panama is an ideal place to get away while not completely sacrificing the comforts and standards in Medical care and quality of life you find in North America.