A few days ago one of my Panamanian friends told me that a strange Americano arrived at her farm laden with many worldly goods and tried to move into the house there.
He said he had bought it!
But she didn’t sell it!
It seems that, based on some wonderful photos and the description of the place, the Americano had bought the place, sight unseen, over the internet. When his key did not work in the locked gate, he called to her caretakers who were working in the grounds. At first they thought he must have the wrong house, but no, her house had a lake behind it and so, allegedly, did his. Not knowing him from Adam, her people refused him access, called her and then called the police.
She is in shock. Her attorney is looking into what happened and verifying that her title is still in place. There will, of course, be no serious question of her ownership, as the farm and house have been in her family for generations and she never even considered putting it up for sale.
The big question is, who did?
Another friend told me that there have been thirteen cases of this same type of fraud in Pedasi in the last few years. THIRTEEN.
What does this mean to you, Dear Reader? Listen to me: NEVER buy property sight unseen. Before you put down any money, verify the title, and do so locally. Hire your LOCAL attorney based on the LOCAL recommendation of LOCAL expats and LOCAL Panamanians. And make that more than one of each.
There are, unfortunately, a lot of unscrupulous people in the expat world, and they find counterparts with whom to collude in fraud and other evil-doing in every country. Be VERY careful when doing business in any foreign country. In spite of the fact that the Panama and especially the Azuero is is a wonderful place to live and the people here are friendly and welcoming and lovely to be with … it’s different here.
This is not Kansas.