By James Quinn
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Panama is a proud country that has a wealth of beautiful scenery, wildlife, culture and history. The thing that more people are discovering is that Panama property is extremely attractive to investors and those looking to relocate. The prices are very low, the laws make purchasing Panama property simple, there are tax benefits and there is an abundance of available property in the country.
Panama property taxes
The property taxes in Panama are based on a sliding scale with lower-cost properties paying less and more expensive properties shouldering a heavier burden. Panama Properties that have a registered value of $30,000 or less don't pay property tax. Panama Properties are taxed 1.75% between $30,000 and $50,000; a tax of 1.95% is levied for property values between $50,000 and $75,000; and 2.1% is charged for any property value above $75,000.
For construction permits issued after Sept. 1, 2006 these exemptions apply:
o Value up to $100,000: 15-year exemption
o Value from $100,000 to $250,000: 10-year exemption
o Value over $250,000: five-year exemption
Basic Real Estate Laws and How They Affect Buyers
There are several steps to purchasing Panama real estate; after finding a property the first step is making a down payment. The down payment shows that the buyer is earnest in his or her attempt to purchase Panama property. This down payment is normally 10% and becomes the property of the seller when the transaction is competed or if the buyer backs out of the deal. If the seller backs out of the deal, the buyer is entitled to double the down payment as a penalty; this penalty is meant to encourage the seller to honor his agreement to sell.
The Promise to Purchase agreement is critical to the entire process. This contract includes the legal description of both the transaction being executed and the parties involved. All necessary information is included in this document including the property description, the terms of the deal and the legal identification of both the buyer and seller. This document is later conveyed to the escrow company and both the information for the title the names for the disbursements are taken from its pages.
Types of properties
Panama property is broken down into two different types: titled land and "right to possess". Understanding these two types of property are critical to understanding exactly what you are buying.
Titled land is the term for all properties that are recorded in the Public Registry. A formal history of ownership is available and any liens or other claims against the property are included. Like properties in the US, Panama property that is titled cannot be sold without a clear title, making the title search an important step in the process. It is wise to note that you can purchase title insurance and it is as strongly suggested for real estate in Panama as it is for real estate in the United States.
"Right to possess" property was established by the Panamanian government in 1971 to encourage inhabitation of unclaimed, untitled land. While "squatter's rights" haven't been used in the US for quite some time, it is still valid in Panama. For "right to possess" Panama property, it is very important to have a good attorney as legal issues could arise if proper procedures have not been followed by the previous owners. While this is concept is somewhat strange to Americans, don't be scared away if the property you want is 'right to possess". It is important that you and your attorney follow proper procedure and you can still securely get a great deal on your new real estate.
Panama property is an excellent value and the process to purchase it is actually quite simple. Make sure that you have a good attorney that can explain the process step by step and help you monitor the process. If you stay aware of the process, buying Panama property can be a very profitable and easy transaction.
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