Real Estate Lawyer in Panama

Many things can go wrong when buying real estate in Panama

 Just to name a few:

  • Liens on the property.

  • Mortgages on the property.

  • Past transactions that were not completed properly, which could lead to claims later on.

  • Not all owners agreeing to the sale.

  • The sellers not having gone through the proper courts to process their inheritance.

  • Outright fraud.
  • A house that needs to be legalized / was build illegally

Get a good real estate lawyer before moving forward with any real estate transaction in Panama. Also, be careful before using the lawyer that is recommended by your real estate agent. There is a potential for a conflict of interest. It’s always much safer to use your own real estate lawyer in Panama.

Meet Josue, my real estate and immigration lawyer in Panama

Make sure to watch this Youtube video below or read the full transcript below in which I ask my lawyer Josue about the whole real estate purchase process.

Josue can then also help you obtain residency in Panama. Details here.

Contact Josue for a safe real estate transaction in Panama

Full transcript of Real Estate Lawyer in Panama

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone, Ladislas Maurice from thewanderinginvestor.com. So today, I’m in Panama City with my lawyer, Josue. Josue, how are you?

JOSUE: How are you, Ladislas? Everything fine.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Good. So Josue not only helps people attain residency here in Panama, but you also help a lot of people with their real estate transactions. It’s one of the easiest ways to obtain residency here in Panama, it’s by buying real estate. As a foreigner, it can be a bit worrying to go overseas, and to buy real estate in a country in which you’re not too familiar how things work. So what are some of the typical things that foreign buyers must look out for so that they don’t get played, from a legal point of view, when purchasing real estate here?

JOSUE: Here in Panama, you need to do a proper due diligence in the property that you are planning to buy. This can be done by a lawyer, meaning that you can check that the property don’t have any liens or any legal problems, that the owner who is selling the property is really the owner of the property, that there are no intentions of any problems to put on that property, that the taxes are okay, all the details are detailed in the public registry, there need to be. And also to get the legal contract with all the benefits for both parts. That’s the first part I recommend, to get in touch with a lawyer when you’re planning to get real estate here in Panama.

LADISLAS MAURICE: So how long does the process typically take? Let’s say, I make an offer, it gets accepted, we shake hands with the seller. I tell you, “Josue, run with it, do all of the due diligence.” You go through the steps, everything’s fine. How long between that handshake with the seller and me actually receiving the keys and the title deed?

JOSUE: The regular process is that you get on the terms and conditions with the seller. We will put that, everything after the due diligence in a promissory contract. That most of the time, you will pay 10% of the buying price in this promissory contract. This promissory contract, we have a term of one month, two month depending on the time you need to bring your money here in Panama to buy and pay the rest. Or, if the property have any conditions they need to solve during this period. After that, when everything, all the conditions that are in the promissory contract are done, we will pass to the public deed that sells the property. And that moment, it will take like three to five days in the public registree to registry the property under your name. So basically, we’re talking depending in the case, but from six to eight weeks will be the most of the time.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So okay, that’s not too bad. And a question that people often ask when buying real estate here is what are the advantages and disadvantages of creating a Panama corporation to buy real estate versus buying in your own name? Because in most countries, like for example, in the US, a lot of investors prefer to create an LLC, just from a liability protection point of view. In Europe, most people, even investors, just buy real estate in their own name. Here, a lot of people seem to be creating companies. So what are the pluses and the minuses of each?

JOSUE: In that order, I will say the basic points are considering that you are buying the property alone or will you have multiple owners, that will be one part. Also, the second part will be you will live here in Panama or not, because the property is under your name and you need to do any process in any government institution. And the property in your name, you need to grant a power of attorney to another person here in Panama so they can handle that for you or you need to come. If it’s a company, you can do a minute of the Board authorizing any person in Panama. And that minute can be done in any part of the world, doesn’t need to be here in Panama. All the management and administration of the property can be done with a company here in Panama. That’s are the basic points, I recommend to use the corporation.

Also, most of the time, you are using this just an asset company. You can put other property you buy after in this company. Other than that, the security is the same for both structures, either you use the company on your own name, but it’s just like a preferred method to do not put something on your own name. This the preference of the of the client.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. So what percentage, roughly, of Panamanians buy in their own name versus with a company?

JOSUE: 70% company, 30% on own name.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, that’s an interesting statistic.

JOSUE: Yeah, yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: It’s very interesting.

JOSUE: That’s what we’re seeing. There are no official statics of this, but for our point of view, the clients we handle–

LADISLAS MAURICE: If there is only one apartment in the company, you just essentially buy the company with the real estate?

JOSUE: Correct. In that order, you are buying, not the property directly, you are buying the shares of the company that owns the property so, at the end, it’s the same. You just have that you do not increase the property value for tax purposes. So the property value stays the same. You only pay the taxes on the shares agreement.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay.

JOSUE: So that’s important thing.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Again, this is why it’s important to take a good lawyer when you come here to Panama to purchase real estate, because it’s different to most other countries, the way the real estate market is structured from a legal point of view. Just this fact, for example, is for most Europeans is unheard of, Americans have been more familiar with it. But for most Europeans, it’s a very foreign concept.

JOSUE: That’s correct. As I said, the advice of lawyer in every step of a real estate transaction, I will say is 100% important here in Panama, because you will see a lot of different things that you will have to look for advice in order to make everything of your investment very safe.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. And he’s not just saying this because he’s a lawyer.

JOSUE: (laughing) Yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. So if you’re looking to buy real estate here in Panama, and you’re looking for a lawyer, do get in touch with Josue. There is a link below with more information on his services, as well as his email.

JOSUE: Yeah, that’s correct. You can feel free to contact us at any time, and you have any questions about buying real estate in Panama, we are glad to help you in any of your specific questions.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool, fantastic. Josue, thank you very much. Always a pleasure. Cheers.

JOSUE: Bye.