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Panama Real Estate : A Booby Trap
Just when you thought you had international real estate understood, Panama comes along and throws a wrench in the works.
It’s an anomaly with the best infrastructure, the tallest buildings, and the fastest-growing economy in Central America. Its healthcare is first rate, its culture is rich, and its untapped resources are abundant.
But how, in a country that seems so right, are investors making so many wrong decisions? New tell-all book, The Panama Real Estate Report examines the good, the bad, and the ugly of a real estate boom set to spark the international real state world ablaze.
EVER WISH YOU HAD GOTTEN TO MAUI BEFORE IT EXPLODED INTO HILTONS AND MARRIOTS?
How about Costa Rica back in the 1970’s when hotspots like Tamarindo and Manuel Antonio were no more than hushed beach towns where beers cost virtually nothing?
Maybe Cabo San Lucas or Cozumel or even Cancun before they all decided to go Hollywood? Trend setting investors of the world have found their new playground in Panama, but such significant reward does not come without considerable risk.
With the release of his report, American expat and self-proclaimed real estate cynic Matt Landau touches on the kind of subjects most so-called “real estate experts” wouldn’t dare.
Wondering which bank is the only one in Panama that doesn’t work with American affiliates and is thus the ultimate place to hide your money? Trying to figure out how to invest big while still maintaining a low profile on the tax radar? What about finding a broker or a lawyer: want to know which ones to trust and which ones to kick to the curb?
The Report is a refreshing alternative to an otherwise monotonous Panama real estate hype. “It’s understandable to pitch Panama as fantasy-like paradise” Landau claims. “But what’s scary is how few people are realistic.”
Most visitors, when they get to Panama, are amazed by the modernity of the city: a diverse restaurant scene, trendy nightlife, first-rate shopping. From tall, shiny condo buildings that rise over the bay to sprawling rainforest and beach development projects, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype that’s says “buy, buy, buy!”.
Most first-timers—as they gaze at the nation’s various investment opportunities—develop the sort of smile normally reserved for the SALE racks at Nordstrom: the feeling that they’ve gotten in before the real rush.
This feeling often breeds rash decisions and while there’s not a lot you can do wrong in today’s Panama real estate market, jaw-dropping newbies always find a way.
The Panama Real Estate Report prides itself in being perhaps the only guide to buying real estate that’s not, in the same breath, trying to sell you property. In the search for information on buying Panama real estate, most investors come across a heap of useless findings.
From slanted articles that make the process seem easier than eating a concord grape, to glossy publications at every airport and hotel laden with lustrous pictures of gringos in Banana Republic outfits smiling as if to say, investment in Panama is worry-free.
VERY RARELY DO YOU FIND INFORMATION THAT IS STRAIGHTFORWARD OR INFORMATION THAT IS 100% HONEST
It can be easy to overlook the fact that no multiple listing service exists in Panama, an absence that can make it virtually impossible to compare one property to the next.
It can be easy to befriend the unregulated hoards of locals and expats parading around as real estate agents trying to persuade you to kick a commission check their way.
Factor in obscure Panamanian laws, crafty scam artists, and the newcomer’s relative inexperience to Panamanian culture, and the first-time investor will be left with one big confusing and imprecise mess: leaving them gasping for air like a skunk in a headlock.
What is The Panama Real Estate Report ?
Landau believes that in gathering enough reliable information, the investor should be able to make his or her own well-informed decision regarding investment.
If nothing else, he knows how frustrating being in a new country can be. He knows the aggravation of not having any reliable sources—especially when large sums of money are involved—can be very unsettling.
The Report is meant to make known the big mistakes and subtle snags that are all too common in today’s gold rushing market.
Over the past years, having accummulated hundreds of emails requesting advice on investment, Landau came to grasp not only the excitement that’s associated with buying real estate in Panama as a foreigner, but also the concerns. He eventually decided that a more thorough resource had to be invented: something more complete and reliable than the generic “Investing in Paradise” brochure handed out on every corner.
THIS REPORT IS NOT MEANT, BY ANY MEANS, TO BE DISCOURAGING
Landau professes many times his serious love affair with the country that he’s called home now for years. But he is realistic in acknowledging that Panama, like many great things, does have its downfalls.
After hearing friends in the Panama real estate business moan about certain facets of their occupation, in addition to having experienced it several years back as an agent himself, Landau has finally decided to come clean: revealing disgraces, failures, and straight-up flaws in the system he’s come to know quite well.
The result: Panama’s most honest and well-researched real estate guide.
The Report starts off by introducing itself as the first of its kind. It then does a brief review humbly referred to as “Panama 101”, going over general themes and citing common traps to watch out for.
Landau then segues into a piece on each of Panama’s provinces. This chapter, unlike anything you’ll find in a guidebook, hypes the nation’s strengths just as much as it emphasizes its weaknesses.
Wondering where you can find dirt cheap rainforest land or what’s the most profitable use of your $200,000? Divided between buying pre-construction or re-sale condos? Look no further. Your answers have arrived.
The ensuing chapters examine the process of finding a broker and renting versus buying: several surprisingly confusing subjects in Panama which Landau skillfully disembowels.
The information found here is entirely divergent from common real estate advice offered by the country’s so-called professionals.
It also varies from the advice you’ll get in neighboring countries like Costa Rica. It was unlike any of the other so-called “real estate guides” I’ve read in Panama to date.
Next, the report talks about types of land investments: a rapidly emergent option for today’s investor. By simplifying the buying process and clarifying subtle nuances, what’s left is a sort of “Panama Real Estate for Dummies” feel. A dumbed-down version that is much appreciated by neophytes like myself.
The remaining chapters hit crucially important topics like construction, title insurance, corporations and taxes, property management and the like.
Perhaps the report’s most insightful chapter discusses common (and not so common) mistakes for the first-time investor: a dos and don’ts guide that is opening a lot of eyes for newcomers to the isthmus.
The Panama Real Estate Report can be of great value to all — from the rookie tourist simply poking around for ideas, to the seasoned Panama investor who’ll undoubtedly discover some new tricks.
Landau, with his fresh writing style, unique perspective, and hardcore parade of the facts has provided us with x-ray vision into a market that—at first glance—appears to be worry-free.
Of course, readers of his report now know better.
Buy this Report here: The Panama Real Estate Report