Real estate and cost of living in El Valle

El Valle? I did a search at a Panama real estate web site. They had no farms, no lots, and only one house at US$450,000. I’m sorry, but if that is a typical price, my retirement account isn’t going to cover me.”

— Daniel G., United States


Please don’t make any judgment about any place based on one Internet search and a single property listing!

First, right, El Valle is not the world’s most affordable retirement haven (that’d be Ecuador). El Valle, Panama, is simply the best place in the world to think about spending your retirement days. It’s affordable, but it’s not super cheap.

Remember, there’s more to this retiring overseas thing than cost of living. El Valle is a sleepy, friendly, safe mountain town with great weather and friendly neighbors.

Second, again, a quick Internet search is no way to get a read on a localized property market. You can start your research online, investigating as many sites as you can find offering properties for sale in the area that has your interest. However, and critically, then you’ve got to get on a plane and launch an on-the-ground search.

The best deals in any market never make it to the Internet. What you find on property websites (typically) are the leftovers and the sucker deals…the properties that can’t be sold, at least not at those prices, to live buyers. Do your long-distance research on the Net, sure, but understand that the intelligence you’re gathering is probably out-of-date and certainly biased. You can only really understand a market (and penetrate beneath the “gringo” level of a market) by investing some shoe leather.

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