If you’re moving to a new country, there are plenty of benefits to renting a property instead of buying.
For starters, renting allows you to get to know different parts of a city without committing to one for the long haul. It’s also a great way to start thinking about what your priorities are before committing to a purchase.
That said, there are also some drawbacks to renting — especially in a foreign country. Most of this comes down to what kind of landlord you have.
A terrible landlord can leave you high and dry with maintenance issues. They might ignore your calls, even in an emergency. And in some very bad cases, we’ve even seen landlords come onto the property without giving the tenants notice. That’s just not acceptable.
The fact is, if you don’t take the time to vet your landlord before signing your lease, you could find yourself trapped in a pretty bad situation.
Vetting Your Landlord
That’s why we advise renters to be just as scrupulous in choosing their landlords as landlords should be about choosing their tenants. It’s a two-way relationship, and that relationship can make a huge difference in your living situation.
That said — in most cases, it’s extremely difficult to properly vet a landlord before signing.
They might be very polite and accommodating when showing you the property, and then turn out to be a nightmare afterward. To really know what you’re getting into with a landlord, you need to know their track record.
For renters, doing your due diligence on every single landlord that you are considering is nearly impossible. It’s even harder if you’re a foreigner in the country.
Because of that, a nice little workaround that we recommend to all potential renters that come to Panama city — is to find a property with a property manager.
Why? Because it’s their job to take care of you.
This means that you are guaranteed to have a dedicated person responsible for answering your calls, dealing with maintenance, and overall ensuring that you have a good renting experience.
Read on to find out more about the advantages of having a property manager and how to make sure that the properties you are considering have a good one.
Keeping Your Best Interests in Mind
The fact is — most landlords and tenants do not tend to have the same priorities.
For a landlord, the ideal tenant is one who makes no contact aside from sending rent checks. That means that most landlords don’t want to hear about a leaky faucet or a request for a new dishwasher. In short, any tenant request is going to cost them time and money.
A tenant, on the other hand, wants a responsive landlord. One who picks up the phone if there are any issues with the property. And one who takes immediate action to get those problems or requests quickly resolved.
This disparity in interests can often cause problems between landlords and tenants. And it can leave both parties dissatisfied and frustrated with their rental arrangement.
To avoid this, smart landlords contract the services of a high-quality property management company. These companies serve as the perfect buffer between the landlord and the tenant. They do the work that the landlord doesn’t want to do and they are incentivized to keep the tenants’ best interests in mind.
24-Hour Point of Contact
Another great perk of working with a property management company is that you’ll never find your phone calls unanswered or be left wondering when your messages will be returned.
Good property management companies have a 24-hour phone line where you can talk to a manager at any hour of the day or night if there is an emergency.
Many landlords rent out properties as a supplementary income stream. Or they may rent out a property because they’ve moved to another country. This means that even if they want to, they can’t just drop whatever they’re doing to deal with a property issue if one comes up.
For property managers, however, ensuring that everything within a property is working well is their primary job. That means that if there is a gas leak or running toilet in your unit, your property manager will be able and willing to deal with it right away.
Staying on Top of Regular Maintenance
Taking care of a property doesn’t mean just fixing things when they’re broken. It also means keeping up with essential maintenance regularly and on time.
This can include a number of different ‘small tasks’ like checking smoke detectors annually or cleaning air conditioning units every few months.
As mentioned above, a lot of landlords aren’t fully dedicated to renting properties. And so many either don’t know all the things that need to be maintained or they don’t remember them.
Either way, that’s not ideal for you as a tenant.
Instead, with a good property manager, you can be sure that these small, but critical things won’t fall through the cracks.
Property Management Experience
Nine times out of ten, a property manager is going to have more experience in the field than your average landlord.
This is especially true in Panama City where property owners come from all over the world and all walks of life.
Property investors may know how to find a good deal to buy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they know anything about taking care of it afterward. This means they may not know much about the ins and outs of maintaining a property. Or how to find the best plumbers in the city, etc.
As with most things, to get the best experience — look to the experts.
A property management company is dedicated to what they do and is more likely to have solid experience and contacts in the industry. That means when something happens, they know what to do and who to call.
Eliminating Language Barriers
A final perk of working with a property management company is that it can eliminate any potential language barriers between you and your landlord.
If your first language isn’t Spanish and your landlord doesn’t speak great English, your relationship can be pretty complicated. From reading the lease to negotiating the apartment’s price or requesting maintenance work, not speaking the same language can lead to some otherwise avoidable mishaps or issues.
So when looking for a good property manager, check to see if their team has bi-lingual capabilities. This can be critical to making sure that everyone is on the same page and help you avoid some serious headaches down the line.
Panama Equity Property Management
Here at Panama Equity, we have spent over a decade working with landlords and tenants. We are dedicated to providing both parties with the best experience possible.
And we are committed to ensuring that every tenant has their rights protected. As a client of Panama Equity, your rights as a tenant include:
- Living in a clean, safe, and dignified home.
- Receiving a response to any question in less than an hour.
- Enjoying the amenities and common areas of your home.
- Enjoying peace and silence during the appropriate hours.
- Being in a home free of damage, defects, or inconvenience.
- Being protected by the rights and privileges of your lease.
- Having your comments and suggestions heard and taken into consideration.
- Being treated with dignity and respect.
Whether you’re brand new to Panama or have had less than satisfactory experiences with landlords in the past, we’re ready to help you find your next rental property. Once you find that property, we’ll make sure that all of your needs are met for the duration of your lease. There’s no reason why a tenant should settle for anything less than the best. And we’re here to make that a reality.
If you’re a tenant, debating about whether to rent from a property manager or not then contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
Very good article. Most of your newsletters are very valuable to me. I am currently renting at The Ocean Club until April. Would be interested in a different living environment than Punta Pacifica. Will contact you in Feb.-March for a consultation on rental property.
Hi Arthur, that sounds great. Cheers!
I am looking for someone to manage my property in Brisas. Are you able to help?
Hi Ian, thanks for your question. Will have someone reach out to you shortly!
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Hiring a property manager is very important when you’re buying property. They can help you in many ways and work in your best interest. Having more experience in this business, they know a lot of stuff which you don’t.
I find it interesting to learn that having a property manager can give tenants a 24-hour point of contact if the landowner is not available. My uncle is thinking of barging in the rental property business but he’s worried about how he’ll be able to manage it while working in an office. I should share this with him so he’d consider hiring a property management firm to handle it for him.
I like how you said that they can help with maintenance. My brother is wanting to rent out a home of his. I’ll pass this information along to him so that he can look into hiring a property manager.
Sounds great Kate, thank you!