Who Pays the Real Estate Agent Commission in Panama?

In the world of Panama’s real estate, one of the most asked questions is: Who pays the real estate agent commission? This seemingly straightforward query holds the key to understanding the intricate dynamics of the local property market, making it a topic of immense relevance for both buyers and sellers alike. We will embark on a comprehensive exploration that delves into the critical aspects of commission payment, ensuring that you emerge with a crystal-clear understanding of how this practice shapes property transactions in Panama. For buyers, it’s essential to grasp the mechanics of commission payment to make informed financial decisions. For sellers, understanding this aspect can influence pricing strategies and negotiation dynamics. Whether you’re entering the market as a buyer or seller, this article will empower you with the knowledge needed to navigate the Panamanian real estate landscape effectively.



Real Estate Agent Commission in Panama

The standard real estate commissions in Panama can vary depending on whether it’s a primary or secondary market property. In the primary market, meaning newly built developments by big companies like high-rise apartment buildings which are mostly in urban centers like Panama City, the typical commission rate amounts to 3-4% of the gross selling price. In the secondary market people have generally already lived in the property that is for sale. For those, the commission is usually 5%, which is a small margin higher than in the primary market, because in comparison, there is more work and risk involved for the listing agent. For properties located in rural or less-developed areas such as Boquete or even private islands, the commission rate can be higher, reaching even up to 10% in some cases due to the additional expenses associated with managing and showcasing properties in more remote areas. Overall, the specific rate depends on the location and the value of the listing, but 5% is the most common.


Commissions are generally paid for by the seller.  In cases where more than one real estate agent is involved in a sale, such as a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent, they will divide the total commission between themselves. Typically, in Panama, real estate commissions become due when the buy/sell agreement is signed, and the buyer submits a non-refundable 10% down payment.


It’s important to note that in Panama, this non-refundable 10% down payment serves multiple purposes, including covering the seller’s transfer expenses, which include the real estate commission. The non-refundable nature of this initial 10% payment significantly reduces the likelihood of offers falling through. This policy also safeguards the seller from financial losses if the deal happens to fall through.


Choosing a Qualified Real Estate Agent in Panama

Navigating the real estate market in a bustling Latin American market like Panama can be quite a daunting task. Without expert guidance in your property search, you might end up spending a lot of time chasing property leads into dead ends. Here are tips that will provide you with practical insights to make an informed decision on how to select a qualified Real Estate Agent in Panama.


  • Credentials are Essential: Engaging with licensed and credentialed real estate agents offers a range of invaluable benefits. Opting to engage with licensed real estate agents ensures that you receive the highest standard of service, protection, and value for your investment. It is advisable to request your real estate agent’s license number as a preliminary step. Should they be unable to provide one, it is recommended to seek alternative options.


  • Effective Communication: A proficient agent must possess the ability to comprehend your requirements, preferences, and concerns thoroughly. Even more vital is their proactive approach to keeping you updated on potential properties, market fluctuations, and any pertinent details. Before committing to a particular real estate agent, engage in in-depth conversations with several agents to evaluate their communication skills and ascertain whether they are a suitable match to aid you in your property search and purchase.


  • Negotiation Skills: A fundamental attribute of a proficient agent is their capacity to negotiate effectively. They should represent your best interests in a manner that maximizes your desired results. When assessing potential agents, inquire about their past transactions and how they managed to negotiate favorable terms for their clients.


  • Client Reviews and References: Seek out online reviews or directly inquire with the agent for references. Engaging with previous clients offers valuable insights into the agent’s professionalism, dependability, and overall effectiveness. Utilizing platforms such as Google Reviews, Facebook, or local real estate forums can prove to be extremely advantageous in this regard.


  • Honesty and Integrity: Honesty remains the best policy in real estate. A good agent will provide you with honest feedback, even if it isn’t necessarily what you want to hear, ensuring that you make informed decisions. Trust your instincts. If an agent seems too eager to close a deal without addressing your concerns, it might be a red flag.


  • Network and Connections: Real estate transcends mere property transactions; it’s also about cultivating and sustaining connections. This often entails interactions with attorneys, bankers, and local authorities. An agent boasting a well-established professional network of contacts and affiliations can streamline various aspects of the buying and selling process, sparing you from unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles.



Benefits of Using a Real Estate Agent in Panama

If you are anticipating buying real estate in Panama, it is highly advisable to engage with a real estate agent for the transaction. These experts not only offer guidance throughout the process of securing a property in Panama but also oversee the purchase and sale procedures. They are dedicated to addressing any queries, ensuring that you can make the most informed decisions to safeguard your financial interests and assets. Real estate agents will work diligently to ensure that the property you intend to buy aligns with your specific requirements and budget. Moreover, they can connect you with other industry professionals, instilling greater confidence and comprehensive counsel. This includes legal experts such as lawyers and notaries for essential legal processes, architects and engineers for a professional assessment of the property’s condition, and financial advisors who can help determine which option will yield the most advantageous results.


Purchasing a home entails dealing with intricate real estate contracts and legal obligations, which can be unfamiliar to most buyers. Without the guidance of an experienced real estate agent, it’s easy to overlook important details or make costly mistakes. Furthermore, it could potentially result in legal disputes or even the nullification of the transaction. One of the biggest risks of acquiring a home without the assistance of an agent is the lack of expert support during negotiations. In the absence of a realtor, buyers may encounter difficulties in evaluating whether a property’s asking price truly reflects its genuine market value.  Choosing to purchase a home without the guidance of a real estate agent heightens the risk of overlooking latent issues with the property. Realtors are instrumental in assessing homes for potential problems that may elude the average buyer. Opting to go it alone in a house purchase, without the requisite knowledge, leaves buyers exposed to significant property-related challenges.



In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of real estate agent commissions in Panama is pivotal for anyone venturing into this dynamic market. From unraveling the factors that influence commission rates to recognizing the role of qualified agents in your property journey, we’ve navigated the depths of this topic. Whether you’re a buyer seeking financial clarity or a seller fine-tuning your strategy, knowledge is your greatest asset in Panama’s real estate realm. Armed with this insight, you can confidently embark on your real estate endeavors, knowing who pays the real estate agent commission in Panama is no longer a mystery but a valuable piece of your property puzzle.

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