What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
I brought everything via 40 ft sea container. things in Panama are not as good a quality as I had in the states. Cost of container was 14,000 dollars. clothing is not as good unless you are accustomed to shopping at Kmart. Furniture not as well made. All items purchased there has to be in David (nearby city) You will be charged more because you are a foreigner. Even if the store has a free delivery, you will pay $45.00 extra for delivery to Boquete because only foreigners live there.
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
There is no multiple listing service for realtors. They do not trust each other enough for it to work. They are not licensed. They will overcharge you in a heartbeat. Moving services will quote you one price but after your household goods are shipped there will be other charges. Serious charges, in the thousands. You will pay because you have already paid the bulk of the charge and they have your furniture. JUST SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT. IT WILL BE LESS PAINFUL.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
3 bedroom 2 bath homes. In Boquete it is typical to have a home but there are some apartments available. When you make any change to your house you will be overcharged and you will receive poor quality work. Your electricity will be high, and undependable, and you will never have the bill delivered to your house. It is your responsible to know when the bill is due and your responsibility to go to them and pay it. (the Post Office does not deliver mail. you may not even have a street name and house number.)
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
In Boquete there are many homes to choose from but builders are usually eager to screw you out of your money. Usually they are reject citizens from other parts of the world. just because they speak English is no sign you should trust them. Without a good attorney (if there is such a thing?) you will be cheated. Even with a big name attorney I lost over $30,000 on each house.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Higher, without a doubt. From 200,000 to 300,000 for anything decent. The quality of construction will be less than you expected. If you do not have a leaky roof, you are the only one. It will occur a little later. Also you will be surrounded with the most "nosey" neighbors that you ever had.