Renting a Home Overseas – Panama Real Estate

Panama Real Estate

By:  Larke Newell

The decision has been made.  You are either retiringinvesting in a business, or starting a new career in a country other than your home country.  After much research you have selected the place that best fits your requirements.  Let the process begin.

No matter how many sources I consulted when experiencing this process, the most recurring piece of advice was, “It is always wise to rent a home first, prior to purchasing what you hope will be your forever home.”

Areas change.  Opinions and desires change.  Things you never thought possible can tickle your fancy or annoy you to distraction.  Renting allows you the time to experience things firsthand but with the option of leaving if you are not satisfied for any reason.

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Whether or not you have travelled the area and know that this is the country, maybe even the province, for you it is a good idea to rent a dwelling initially.

Searching for a suitable rental property can be done through specialized companies such as Air BnB, Vacations to Go, and Viviun, although they tend to be a bit more expensive than Craig’s List, local ex-pat group sites, local real estate companies, and word of mouth.  It is always a good idea to get a clear and concise rental agreement signed by both parties.

Do you prefer close proximity to a beach?  To be nestled in cooler climes near the mountains?  The hustle and bustle and excitement of life within a city?  Would you prefer a house?  Large yard or small?  Maybe condo living is your cup of tea.  Or a gated community.  Would you prefer to integrate into a local native neighbourhood and soak up their language and culture or live in a mostly ex-pat community?

All of these factors can be decided upon while renting rather than jumping into a more permanent arrangement.  However it is also sound advice to err on the side of caution and follow these suggestions   while searching for a good rental:

  1. Location. Do you need or want to be in close proximity to grocery stores, a medical clinic or hospital, restaurants, and other amenities?  Or is it enough to be close to a reliable public transportation system?  If you have your own vehicle is there adequate and safe parking?
  1. Are pets allowed? This is important whether or not you are a pet owner.  Some people are allergic to pet hair or dander and would find it difficult living where a dog or cat had resided previously.
  1. What would it cost to hire a taxi to transport you to and from the closest airport or bus terminal? Getting a heads up in this area could prevent an unscrupulous gouger down the road.
  1. Is the neighbourhood clean? Well lit at night?  Quiet?  It is quite common in Latin American countries especially, to find open air dance clubs/bars situated in the middle of residential areas.  If this is not desirable to you, choose another area.
  1. What is included in the rental price? Utilities?  Parking?  Garbage pickup?  Is the home furnished or unfurnished?  Does it include dishes, linens, and all other necessary household items?
  1. Is the rental agreement a lease or month to month? How much notice is required to vacate?

Getting answers to all of these questions in advance could save a great deal of inconvenience and frustration down the road.  If all goes well this will be a perfect opportunity to learn all about the area, thereby allowing you to make your next decision a well informed one.

Maybe your desire is to remain in your current rental home for the foreseeable future as you have become happy and content here.  Or perhaps you have become disillusioned and feel it is time to relocate to an entirely different location.  The next decision then becomes whether to try another rental somewhere else or to start searching for or building your dream home in the area.

Many people prefer renting, thereby leaving all the pesky and expensive maintenance and repairs to the landlord and allowing additional time for exploring your new country and enjoying leisure activities. Still others  need roots and the feeling of their own soil beneath their feet.

Either way the decision you make will almost always be the correct one for you, provided you take the time to research and do your due diligence first. Now let the fun begin!

A bit more about Panama here!

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