Not unlike investing in real estate elsewhere in the world or purchasing an expensive car, it makes a lot of sense to try it out before you sign the check. But due to a limited supply, how does one go about renting an apartment or room in Casco Antiguo?
How convenient you asked! We originally noticed a lack of good places to stay in Casco and decided to do most of the dirty work for you. But if it’s dirty work you like, here are 7 good steps we recommend you explore.
1. Ask around: So much of the information in Casco is by word of mouth, so asking agents and local businesspeople is not as far-fetched an idea as it might be on Avenida Balboa.
2. Location, location, location: Choosing the location is perhaps the most important step because it will allow you to see the ins and outs of your potential investment surroundings. Keep an eye out for temperature changes, noise levels, safety, bad odors, and annoying neighbors to avoid a mishap when it comes time to buy.
3. Bargain hunting: Chances are, if there’s a good unit for rent, insiders will know about it and as a result prices will be higher. This means that finding a real bargain might require you to venture outside of the 10-15 block radius you identify.
4. The fixer-upper: Fortunately there are a handful of these in Casco Antiguo: big, old apartments that rent out for as little as $200 per month. Only thing is, you should be ready to improve your apartment with, among other things, air fresheners and mints. Paint, new floors, and air conditioning units are other common improvements.
5. Knock on doors: This may sound remedial, but if you’ve found what you consider to be the perfect location, try knocking on a few doors. Many of Casco Antiguo’s expats are fortunate in that they have investments elsewhere in Panama (or the world) and might be interested in renting out their unit for a short (or long) period of time.
6. Contracts: Rental contracts are not nearly as common in Panama as they are in the USA or Europe, nor do they often hold as much legal weight. But review your contract carefully with a lawyer (remembering that only documents written in Spanish have legal implications in Panama), especially if you are agreeing to a long period of time.
7. Spring for Los Cuatro Tulipanes: Here’s the obvious plug for our business. The point being; renting an apartment before you invest in real estate is imperative, especially in a niche environment like Casco Antiguo. If you’re thinking about investing several hundred thousand dollars in the neighborhood, we recommend you splurge and stay in one of our luxury boutique apartments. They are the model of what can be done with a Casco Antiguo investment and might even give you ideas for your own. Priced less than a luxury hotel, let us do the asking, the hunting, the fixing, the knocking, and the contracting so that your time in Panama (whether for research or for pleasure) can be most effectively utilized.