±A - Join Our Community

Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

Insurance, FX and international movers

±A - Listen to the Podcast

The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.

Finding Property

Panama - Finding Property

There are a number of regulations that real estate agents in Panama need to abide by. In order to trade as a real estate agent they must have a license which has been issued by the government’s Technical Board of Real Estate. In order to qualify for this license they must either be a Panamanian national who is residing in the country or an expat who has been in the country for a minimum of five years. They cannot have a criminal record and must be able to prove that they are suitably qualified or experienced in all matters related to real estate. Licenses can be cancelled if the estate agent does not continue to fulfil the terms of the license agreement.

Before a license is issued an estate agent will be assessed on their knowledge of several different areas of the estate agent’s business. These include the legislation which surrounds the buying and selling of property, the procedures which are connected to buying, selling and letting, the financial concerns with buying and selling and urban zoning regulations.

Estate agents fees are variable but it is the seller that pays the fee rather than the buyer. The fees will be agreed when the seller puts the property on the market and it will usually be a percentage of the final sale price. The standard fee is usually 5% but this is open to negotiation and many people will negotiate a different percentage with their agent. The money is taken directly from the monies that the seller receives when the sale is processed.

One of the most popular ways to find a property in Panama is to use one of the many property websites which are available. As an expat you will find that there are many estate agents that are clamouring to get your business and as a result there are many global property search sites which have Panamanian properties listed and which can link you directly with the estate agents that are representing them.

Most property search sites will give you the option to search based on the type of property, the location and the price range that you are considering. Some of the larger estate agents also have their own websites for searching for property and there are several which cover large parts of the country and not just one town or city. When searching the site should tell you if the agents employed by the company are all licensed. If the site does not give you this information then you should contact them to ask. Dealing with an unlicensed agent can lead to headaches further along in the buying process. The larger estate agents will assign one staff member to deal with particular parts of the country.

Estate agents in Panama do not just deal with house sales but can also give advice on financial issues and legal matters, carry out property appraisals, prepare the legal documentation and register the property with the Public Registry. The estate agent will also draft the Promissory Letter of Purchase which details the relationship between the buyer and the seller and that between the seller and the agent.

There is the Panamanian Association of Real Estate Agents has a code of ethics for all members of the organisation. If you have a conflict with your estate agent the organisation is able to step in and mediate. The details of your agent’s affiliation with this organisation will be in any documentation that the agent gives you.

There may be some expats who may not be able to view a property before they purchase and for this reason a third party can be assigned to oversee the purchase in Panama. It is not essential for an individual to be in Panama in person for a sale to be completed. This can be done in the name of a corporation and individuals in Panama can be appointed as directors to sign on your behalf. Alternatively you can give power of attorney to a local who has been approved.

There are a number of English language newspapers in Panama which carry listings of properties for sale. A number of these newspapers, such as the Visitor, are handed out free of charge. They also have ads for legal services and estate agents.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.