The real estate process here is very different than it is in the states, of course. The thing that we found most difficult is the lack of any sort of MLS. There’s just not any way to easily know what the value on a particular piece of property is because there’s no public record of what has sold or any accurate way to compare what’s out there. Prices seem to be very random and at times pretty comical, to us. It often seems as though some people just put a for sale sign on the lot with an outrageous price, just in case some dumb, rich gringo comes along and wants to just write them a check. They don’t always ‘really’ want to sell.
We had already done a bit of research from the states, before our move and had been keeping an eye out on what was for sale and what the prices looked like. But really, it’s always best to be on the ground, up close and personal when it comes to any type of real estate investment, at least in my opinion. We had to get to know all the different areas here because there are many different micro climates and neighborhoods vary just like anyplace. We had done a lot of exploring on the other two times we visited the area and had a good idea of what areas we liked best. Since we’re living here now it’s been great to have the time to leisurely explore all the neighborhoods around Boquete. There are several different and distinct areas that we drove around and looked at before deciding on the area that suited us best … Volcancito , Bajo Boquete, Alto Boquete, Jaramillo Abajo ,Jaramillo arriba, and Jaramillo Centro ,Palo Alto, Palmira Centro, El Santuario, Bajo Lino, Los Naranjos, Alto Lino, Alto Quiel. There are areas that are closer to the downtown area, areas that are way up in the mountains, on dirt roads some on paved roads, many without any electricity or water to the lots yet . We did find a couple of other lots that we put offers in on but they just didn’t work out and it turns out that the lot we have purchased is on a pretty decent road and not too far up in the hills. It’s in an area called Jaramillo Centro, about an eight minute drive from the downtown area of Boquete. It’s got a magnificent view , of course there isn’t a piece of land anyplace here that has a bad view. It’s three acres and has plenty of trees, which was one of our desires, lots of trees. It also has two small creeks that run through the property and right now, in the wet season the sound of the running water is really beautiful. There are so many different varieties of trees, I’ll have to learn what they are. There’s also an already excavated area to build a house, so that’s really nice. We plan to first build a small casita and a large workshop for Scott. We’ll live in the casita while we build our house. Right now we are talking to an architect who our realtor recommended and will begin the first designing and planning stage.
Of course, we could have chosen to look for an already built house but that’s really not our style . We know ourselves, and if we were to buy a house we would spend so much time and money remodeling it to make it how we want it that we may as well just start from scratch and design and build what will make us happy. Besides, we’ve been through the whole process before with our home in Los Altos and we had a good experience doing it. I know what many of my good friends are thinking….”But Holly, make sure he builds the cabinets first!” ha! I know, our Los Altos home was a project that only got completed when we were ready to sell it! That was a bit of a bummer, but now we have the time and money to begin and (hopefully, eye roll) complete our home without having all the distractions of working and trying to maintain our lives . And imagine all the Spanish practice we’ll be getting! Well, at least Scott will be getting, I imagine he’ll be the one who is at the building site most of the time, actually probably all the time. Scott will be keeping a close eye on what the contractor is doing. We’ll likely only have the builders construct the shell of the house and then Scott hopes to do most of the finish work on the interior. That’s the part of the project that he enjoys the most anyways. And the methods and materials for building a house are very different from what Scott is accustomed to plus, a local builder will have all the contacts and know where to get all the necessary materials.
One thing’s for sure, this will be a huge Adventure! Building a house in another country will most certainly cause a lot of stress at times and I’m sure my future posts will reflect occasional loss of “Tranquilo”. Not unlike building a house in the States, right? Entering into a project like this is not the easy path, we know this firsthand, but it’s a project we’re really looking forward to. Those who know us, know that we seldom choose to go down the easiest path, we like to make our own path and we make the most of the adventure that ensues as we travel our own way. For us, moving into an already built house that someone else designed and built just wouldn’t make us happy. We’re happiest when we are ‘driving the bus’ and even if and when we hit a bump or run out of gas, we find pleasure (Pleasure?) in figuring out how to get to where we want to go , all on our own. One thing’s for sure, I’m not going to run out of things to write about! This Adventure just never ends….