Unfortunately the beaches we saw were not as anticipated … ie. the beaches are rocky and small. They are also very far out from the city, at least 70 miles…. at least 1 1/2 hrs., the Pacific beaches that is. The American Re/Max Realtor who helped us was very nice but said they were the only beaches safe for American ex-patriots. He and his wife are ex-patriots from Chicago, semi-retired but still working and living in Panama City.
I don’t mean to offend, but I hope the wife, who is also a Realtor, is better at her job than he. I don’t know if it is the heat, humidity and beaches that tend to affect people’s speed, accuracy and intelligence, but if you’ve tried to do business with island, southern or rain forest people anywhere in the world, they are in no rush, there is always mañana. People do not keep appointments, do not show up with keys and do not care about your time.
After having traveled an hour or two to see a condo, the person would either not be there to show us, not answer their phone, or the condo. was not as expected. Our Realtor had not re-called to verify knowing these people were not reliable. It was a shenanigan.
The condos. we did see were either dirty from mystery birds having gotten in, way smaller than expected and desired, very much more expensive than lead to believe, more expensive than their worth, too far from the beach, or not a condo.!
What they accept as a condo. in Panama is a hotel room they’ve turned into a condo. in my estimation or my (high?) American standards. A very shrewd Panamanian businessman realized that the wealthy Panamanian family from the city enjoyed coming to the beach for the weekend and instead of renting a hotel room would rather buy something. Thus a need must be bet! He has built new buildings rather as an after thought as you can tell from their proximity to the beachfront, but why not make older buildings suit these new needs, too? Aha! Maybe Americans will fall for this too? Well, not this American! I told this to my Realtor….do not expect much American money to come flooding in at these prices. We’re talking $220,000 – $370,000 USD. Unfortunately people are not forthright or honest before you go all the way there to Panama. I had been led to believe from all the Internet searching and International Living Magazine searching I did that you could get properties for $80,000 – $120,000. not so!
The beaches are all public but the condo. building owners and such kind of have them locked up in their own locked community unless you are a local and want to be bothered with running around the country. It isn’t safe for ex-patriots like us, I don’t think, to go just anywhere and everywhere, if you don’t know where you’re going. We’re not bi-lingual and neither are the locals as we were led to believe. So the communication leaves something to be desired for Americanos . . .
The only condo. we did like was previously owned, was not right on the beach, it did have a beach view, was $370,000 USD, unfurnished, no fixtures, we thought it way too expensive for a vacation home we’re going to visit about 4 weeks a year! We’ll keep searching the globe, which will be more fun! There are many, many beaches to visit and see!
There was trash on the roads as you drive by. I’m not talking about a little trash as in someone threw an empty pack of cigs. out their window, I’m talking full trash bags of kitchen refuse all over the countryside! It was a disgrace. Also, unfortunately there is still such terrible disparate rich and poor in the country as we drove by on the way from the airport there were horrible barred project-apartments no-one should have to live right on the side of the highway, while the rich are buying weekend beach retreats. I wonder what the infestation of vermin is like with the all- you-can-eat road-side garbage buffet?! They also have a horrible insect problem, we had to use bug wipes and bug spray every night to eat outside. You know it’s bad when your neighboring hotel nightly fumigates with a ghostly cloud at dinner time! Yum, yum!
The other money being invested in Panama at this time is supposedly wealthy Argentinians running from Chavez. I think the market will crash and they’ll find they overloaded the real estate market because they over-inflated it! Only time will tell.
So, as stated, the search is on…we’ll continue trotting around the globe enjoying different beaches and if we never find our own little piece of real estate we’ll sure rough it trying!
(c) Evelyn Garone 8/24/12