Building A Home In Panama. While making the decision to move to or invest in Panama is a huge step in itself, many people would like to go further and build their own dream home. Building a home in Panama can be quite different from the North American process, but it can be very gratifying if you hold the virtue of patience and avoid the temptation of a short-cut. If you follow the guidelines set out by the government and take heed of those that have come before you, building your ideal home will become a reality. We have compiled some of the essential steps for you below.
1. Planning: You’ll need to develop the plans for the home from the foundation up to the light fixtures. How much of that you outsource is your decision.
2. Purchasing Undeveloped Property: Purchasing an undeveloped property will cost a lot less than a pre-developed lot. Keep in mind that often these properties are in more undeveloped areas as well. Ask around and try to get a feel for the area’s potential before pulling the trigger.
3. Time Consumption: Building your own home in Panama is going to take time, and you should be there for at least some of it. We recommended that you supervise the construction, though not necessarily for the duration. Expect to make a few trips to the property, and make sure you have the room in your schedule.
4. English Speaking Neighbors: When purchasing pre-developed property, you are more likely to have ex-patriot neighbors nearby who speak fluent English. Building your own home in more isolated areas of Panama will often result in few neighbors with an advanced knowledge of the English language.
5. Architecture: Building your own home can be a fabulous and fulfilling event as you have full control over the architecture. Purchasing pre-developed Real Estate in Panama means accepting pre-designed architecture. If you have a particular vision for your new dwelling, building a home in Panama is strongly encouraged. If you are unsure whether you’d like to build for yourself or purchase pre-developed real estate in Panama, try browsing through images of commonly built homes and architectural designs in the region, or see our Panama Real Estate listings for a few examples of what is currently available.
6. Government Regulations: A person must be very careful of the zoning regulations before purchasing undeveloped property. Be sure the area in which your property is located is in a proper zone, or you may find yourself unable to build as you had envisioned – if at all!
The Pre-Building Process
1. Preliminary Study: Before purchasing the land, make sure it is in a proper zone that allows you to build a residential development in the manner you wish to design.
2. Utility Access: Does the land have access to electricity, water, drainage and telephone lines? If the answer is “no”, this will increase the price and timeline of building a home in Panama.
3. Building Permit: A Building Permit must be acquired before any development can begin. A building permit can be obtained locally.
4. Cost of Construction: The actual cost can vary significantly by the size of the home you wish to build and the contractors you hire. The average cost of construction ranges from $30-$40 per square foot.
5. Hiring Contractors: You will need to employ an architect or civil engineer to oversee the building process. We recommend you take numerous bids from contractors and take references from friends and neighbors before making a final decision. Testimonials are valued here in Panama.
6. Personal Availability: If you cannot be there yourself to oversee the construction of your new Panama home, you should employ the assistance of a trustworthy individual who can be on location every day of construction. It will be the day that you or your hired assistant does not show up that the workers use the wrong color or miss installing a closet.
7. Property Taxes: You’ve decided to build a home in Panama – how much is this going to annually in taxes? This is definitely something you will want to establish before you break ground.
Building your own home can be extremely exciting and here in Panama the sky is the limit. You could build a home you would only dream of building in North America. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. We look forward to your first house-warming party already!
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