Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Buying

Property sales in Panama are usually 10% down with total balance due within 90 days.

Owner financing MAY be available by the owner. Bank financing is seldom feasible to foreigners. Depending on your investments and bank deposits.  It may take a year or more with the banks to make arrangements.   

A Panamanian lawyer will handle all of the legal paperwork required for your purchase. We can recommend a lawyer, or you can find your own. The lawyer will also arrange for escrow.

I encourage you to research Rights  of Possession (ROP) on line for more detail. Basically it was once the Nations land which they either gave or sold to a Panamanian.  Once they “ possessed” it for so many years they could sell it to a Panamanian or panama corporation. Hence foreigners can now buy ROP land in a Panamanian  corporation which they buy and put the land ownership in. Big advantage there are no property taxes on ROP property. ROP is only recorded with the notary. It is important to have good paperwork going back years and your attorneys due diligence.

Yes, and the title can be in your name, or a corporation. Title property is the same as states, it is taxable and recorded in the public registry. 

Most of the property in the Bocas del Toro archipelago is ROP. At one time it was not lawful for islands to be Titled. It is now possible to file and request property to get Title.

Questions about Building

Building here on the islands all depends on your contractor. The experience can be rewarding or it can be very frustrating. Make sure you spend quality time interviewing licensed contractors with references. There are plenty of nail pounders on the islands. A licensed contractor is a MUST.

Before getting started, you’ll need a licensed Panamanian architect to draw your plans. Then, to build in Bocas Del Toro, building permits must be applied for. This goes for concessions if you build over the water, as well. You will not be able to move in without a certificate of occupancy “CO.”  Inspectors will come check on the progress of the construction with the contractor. 

Yes, you can but you must have a licensed contractor overseeing the project specifically to handle the inspectors and paperwork. The less contact you have with the government the better. Let a contractor take on that responsibility! You can have your own helpers working for you. It is advisable to have employment contracts for each worker.

Bocas Town has four good hardware stores and lumber yards. You will have to hire transport to bring the materials to the job. Be it a truck or boat.. Many folks go to David, “Panama’s second largest city,” on the mainland to buy their building supplies and have the local truck drivers deliver to Bocas back across the mountains. There is good variety and good savings by going to David, but many people buy supplies here in Bocas Del Toro as well. There are also professional shoppers that will buy and deliver for you so you do not have to travel.

Depending on your taste. A single wall construction with a few frills cabin can be $40-$50 a foot.  Or you can have granite counter tops and A/C for $150 a foot! Labor and skilled building personnel are reasonable.

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