Panama Property Buyers’ Guide

A relatively straightforward procedure, property purchase in Panama involves a series of formalities in order to run smoothly. Below is a general guide on how best to purchase property in Panama.

Foreigners are entitled to own freehold title in the vast majority of land and property purchases in Panama. The purchase procedure is akin to the Continental European style system.


A good agent is advisable when purchasing property in Panama. take the time to consider your particular requirements carefully, providing you with options to suit your needs. We can also recommend all related professional services that will help you make a safe and reliable purchase in Panama. Many of our available properties for sale in Panama are situated within off-plan developments as they offer the greatest value for money and room for returns on investment.


A title search arranged by your lawyer is highly recommended to ensure that the property is free of liens or liabilities.

Promesa de Compra y Venta

This is the first formal step to be taken when purchasing property and is a legally binding document on each side formalizing the intent to sell and buy. It also involves a down payment from the purchaser of around 10% of the property value which avoids the seller accepting another offer. These funds are normally placed into an escrow account – normally provided by a lawyer in Panama.

The document may include stipulations made by the buyer and seller, eg. time scales or improvements agreed to be made upon the property.

Should the buyer back out of purchase after signing this document, he/she will lose the deposit. If the seller decides not to sell then he/she must pay the purchaser twice the deposit amount. If the seller fails to pay this amount, the purchaser can resort to legal action and ultimately have the property sequestered by the courts.

Contrato de Venta

Once the seller has paid a 2% transfer fee and obtained all necessary certificates indicating all taxes and debts are paid up to date, then property transfer takes place and the rest of the payment on the property is made.

The entire property purchase can take about 30 days in Panama, depending on the complexity of the real estate transaction. The new deeds will have been prepared by your solicitor and will always be drawn up in Spanish. They are normally released from the public registry within 10 working days of the date of sale.


As with all overseas real estate purchases, it is advisable to contract a good local lawyer specialising in property transactions in order make the sale problem-free. Lawyers normally charge between 1.5 and 3% of the property price.

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