Trying to Buy a House in Boquete

for-sale This may be the longest post to write in history. We have been “kinda” looking for houses or property since our second visit to Boquete. Usually nothing serious but always aware of what is for sale, the price, the location, the neighborhood, the climate – well, you get the idea.

I look at real estate updates constantly and have monitored them, yes, all of them, for the last 3 years. What is surprising is, we haven’t decided for certain if we actually want to own property or not.

The positive reasons to own a home in Boquete is: decorating to your own taste, gardening, planting fruit trees, owning a dog

The positive reasons to keep renting: roof leaks, septic tank and other maintenance concerns are not our problem, not tied down, can’t own a dog

Over the last 3 years we have looked at every area in within 5 miles of Boquete village. We narrowed our preferred areas over the years. We almost bought a piece of land about a year ago. The owner kept adding on requirements until we were no longer interested. He subdivided his land so could one day be our neighbor and that became less and less appealing. Every parcel of his land is still for sale because he is so unreasonable. Things happen for a reason.

That disappointing event turned us more to renting forever. But then the plant sales happened. And we saw so many animals needing homes. And we want to paint. And we want to furnish our own place. And I want a real vanity. And we want to bring our container with our stuff. And….and….and…….

This week we put in an offer on another house. The first time I saw it, I though it looked more like an orphanage than a house. It has 7 bedrooms but only 2 bathrooms. It shows terrible. The owner started with a price way too high. Over the last several months they have dropped over $100K but it is still over-priced (IMHO). We have over a year on our lease so if we choose to buy something now, it must be a real bargain. So we made a low-ball offer. The house will need about $30-40,000 of renovations to change it from an orphanage to a home. The owner still thinks he owns a treasure.

He responded to our offer by dropping the price a mere $10K. Not even rational. He hasn’t had a single offer after months on the market. Since then, he’s taken out everything not nailed down. Appliances, closets, curtains – everything. I don’t understand sellers. If your house isn’t selling, don’t make it less desirable.

We will see how things go but will not be counter-offering until he takes a reality pill. We have lots of time and he does not.

Final update: The seller has decided to raise the price of his empty home that is void of all amenities after it didn’t sell at the lower price. I don’t understand sellers. We will see how this new plan works out for the sellers.

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6 thoughts on “Trying to Buy a House in Boquete

  1. That is crazy, we our moving to Panama June 2014. Family of 5. We are also wanting to live in Boquete, but now this adds a little stress. has the market gone up or down in the last 3 years? what are modest 4 bedrooms selling for.

    • Prices depend on location and how much sellers think their property is worth. In the states, a realtor will do comparables and there are legitimate appraisals done by the banks. That doesn’t happen here. Sellers come up with their own prices and some are wildly over=valued. Just look at how long some the places are listed. I’ve seen several that have been for sale for the 3 years that I have been looking, with no price adjustments. They call it Gringo Bingo, that eventually some gringo with more money than sense will buy at crazy prices.
      What I have seen is that prices are listed high but when sellers are truly motivated, prices drop. The problem is that sold prices are not posted so unless you know the neighborhood, you buy without good info. It’s also a reason why it’s so important to rent for 6-12 months or longer.
      Rent and you will find a place. Hook up with a realtor you trust. People who have brought their children here have not regrets.
      There is no multiple listing here. Often, a house is listed with many realtors with different listing prices. Realtors also have a habit of keeping listings on their site long after the house has been sold. Not terribly ethical. All will leave listings on their site until closing when it is under contract.

  2. Typico. If they’ll pay X, I should raise the price to X+1. As a matter of fact, a landlady of mutual acquaintance did that to me once when I was showing her apartments. Suerte!

  3. Now they have raised the price?? That’s too funny. Apparently logic has nothing to do with anything. You need to find a nice rental where you can do whatever you want. Even if the plants and paint and whatever you put in won’t be yours forever, you can enjoy them while you are there.

  4. Funny we were just talking about real estate tonight. There is no rhyme or reason to the way things are priced. It almost seems that most people don’t care about selling. When we came back here the second time we looked at a house that we looked at the first time. It seemed to have dropped 35K in price. When the realtor took us to see it the price magically went up 35K again to the original price. It still needed a butt load of work put into it and the repairs that had been made to it were made by the current renter. We happily walked away knowing that the home that we eventually bought, the one we are in now, was definitely the better value. It eventually sold after being on the market 3+ years for much less than what the discounted price was. A lot of people have no idea of the concept of fair market value. My philosophy? If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be and if it isn’t there’s something else out there that is. 🙂

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