One of the first questions I often get when taking on a new client interested in buying in Panama is "Can you send me some listings?" I understand why people want to see what is available, and I do try to accomodate the best I can, but 9 clients out of 10, really haven't explored Panama enough to have any idea what area or what type of community they are going to feel comfortable in. I can add my expert and experienced opinion, but that is like me recomending that you paint your house orange because it's my favorite color. It probably isn't yours.
For example, I recently dealt with a couple who originally felt living in a small local community, not touristy, "among the locals" was what they were looking for. I sent them listing after listing, which really wasn't much help because these folks, although had been to Panama, had never really explored, or learned about the different areas of Panama. Sure, there can be a really nice little 3 bedroom house only 10 minutes from the beach, close to the supermarket and a hospital, but is it an area that is safe for a North American to be walking after 7 pm when the sun goes down? The answer is, not always, and quite often, NO.
These clients ultimately ended up buying in a gated community no where near the area which they had originally had in mind. I had spent countless hours searching and sending listings which, in the end, didn't work for my clients. On top of that, my clients had spent countless hours sifting through listings which, in the end, didn't work for them either!! In my world, time is pretty precious and I'm sure most people feel the same way.
The just of what I am saying is that if you are buying a home, not a rental or an investment, but a home, you cannot rely on listings that are sent to you some 5000 miles away. You need to set aside 2 weeks of your time and come down to Panama, and travel the coast, or whatever area that compliments your idea of where you would like to live.
So many people want me to send listings on properties because they plan on buying in the next couple years. Well that is like going car shopping today because you are planning on a new car in a couple years. Things can change drastically in that time. Prices, availability, architecture, developments etc. If you have spent plenty of time here and know that you want to live in a certain area, great, buying sight unseen works for many, but for others it just doesn't. Again with the car analogy, it's hard to buy a used car over the phone. You've got to see it, and it only takes a short time with me in person to show you this country and what it has to offer.
Rentals and investments are a little different in that most will buy inside a gated community by the beach that has been built for the purpose of holiday homes with on site renal programs. Of course people live there too, but those people again, are going to want to come down, spend a week with me to see in person the grounds, amenities offered, touch the beach, feel the area, look who the neighbors are etc. Trust me people, sending you listings is exactly as helpful as a car salesman sending you specs and photos on a brand new Chev Equinox in 2005 when you plan on buying in 2007, and you aren't even able to drive the thing. In 2007, when you are ready to buy, there will be plenty available, the salesman will be just as helpful, AND you will get to drive it, odds are it will sound like a tin box and you'll go buy and Edge anyway! ;)
It's a buyer's market in Panama at present. There is a lot, and I mean a lot for sale. Don't worry if you can't make it down for another 3 months, or if you plan on buying next year, there will still be a lot, and I say again, a lot for sale. We will find the right one for you. Unless you plan on buying here without coming down, based on your realtor's recomendation, you really need to come down and see what is here. You have to see the different areas, as so many factors can vary from one to another.
I try to keep all of my listings up to date. I don't put all of my listings on this site so you can also check www.beachesandcity.com where you will find the rest of our listings.