Panama, Casco Antiguo
Casco Viejo, San Felipe
I often comment on my clients that Casco Antiguo is like Woody Allen: either you hate
it or you love it, there is no “in between”. It is definatly not for everyone. For
the right person, it is very easy to fall in love with it on their first visit. They
get the same feeling as a kid walking into a store with tons of candy, wide smile
on their faces, dreams about their restored home. But… hey! wake up! it takes
some serious work and personal honesty to go further this point and succeed.
If you decide to get serious, there are some things you need to get very honest with
yourself and draw your own limits. You might still be open to several options,
but you need to slowly get down to earth with the type of property you can would be
happy with and can afford.
Step one: read our handbook. It´s free, and gives you a lot of background.
Step two: define your goals. Do you want a home for yourself? do you want to restore
(recommended for people with construction or similar background that are willing to
spend a lot of time and energy on the ground) or do you want to have an apartment?
Are you planning to live here or have a vacation home? How much are you willing to
Now: big note here. Answers like: “it depends on the property” are missleading. It
is not honest nor with yourself nor with the realtor. Of course it depends on the
property. What you need to be clear and let others know is how high are you willing
to go for your “Super Non Plus Ultra Ideal Property”.
So really sit down and calculate a number. Don´t be afraid of telling the realtor
what this number is. They will be dead honest with you and tell you straight up if
there is anything for you out there that matches your desire and budget.
If you are thinking on restoring a ruin, then keep in mind you will need enough funding
for purchasing and construction. Financing is available, but it will heavily depend
on your own credit. You need to have at least 30% of the cash on your side to restore
+ the purchase of the land.
Step three: Walk the Casco. At day, at night. Feel it. Breathe it. Get used to its
rythms. There is no point in buying blindly. This is a special place and buying is
a big decision. Rent a short term rental apartment and take your time.
Step four: Get a good, specialized realtor. Yes, well, that´s a no brainer for me,
since this is all I do 24/7, but I have my reasons to strongly suggest going with
a professional: they have far more information and far deeper understanding about
the area and it´s dinamic. It is just that simple. You can try and run around yourself,
but it will take you a long time to find something you like and will loose a lot of
resources in the way. You will loose opportunities and grow grey hair.
Step five: Get a good lawyer. Don´t go cheap on this. Get a good lawyer. You
might want to visit some banks in case you go foward, it is easier to open a bank
Step six: understand the process. A good realtor and lawyer can explain how things
work. Be patient. Casco is a sellers market at the moment, so it takes quite some
patience and you need to be prepared to go with asking price.
Step seven: work on your ideal situation until you narrow it down to concrete, existing
options. Then you can “pull the trigger” and get your property!!!