Though it is always recommendable to view a property in person before deciding on purchase, it is not necessary to be in Panama in person to complete property sale transaction.
There are two options to choose from when purchasing real estate from abroad.
The first option is to purchase the property in the name of a corporation, and have your local attorney appoint your nominee directors whom sign on your behalf. This option does have a slightly higher out of pocket expense, in most cases 1000-1200 USD per corporation. There are also yearly renewal fees which generally vary from 600-800 USD per year.
The two principal advantages of purchasing property in the name of a corporation are:
- Property owners receive a certain level of asset protection from frivolous law suits and nasty divorce settlements by having the property in a name of a corporation rather than in there own name.
- Should you decide to sell the property at a later date, you will be exempt from having to pay a 2% transfer tax on the property. This is so because upon sale, shares of the corporation which owns the property would be transferred, rather than the property itself.
The second option to purchase a property from abroad would be to have a power of attorney issued to a local representative, Apostilled or Authenticated by your local Authentication Authorities.
Documents issued in one country, which need to be used in another country must be legalized before they will be recognized as valid in the foreign country. If your document is intended for use in a country which is party to the Hague convention, which Panama is, then a special authentication by the name of an Apostille will be needed.
If you live in the US, you can contact the United States Office of Authentications for more information.
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