What are the requirements to participate in judicial auctions or foreclosures in Panama?

What are the requirements to participate in judicial auctions or foreclosures in Panama?
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Just to clear things up… You Do Not Need a Lawyer to Purchase Properties From Judicial Auctions!. While lawyers do offer auction services, it is not something that is taught in law school. If you do not have an advanced level of Spanish, you will probably need an interpretor or representant to go through the auction on your behalf. We just happen to offer this service at a competitive rate.

What you are required are as follows:

    1. Be 18 years or older.
    1. Be present in-person or have an in-person representant with legal authorization to do so. This authorization is called a ““Poder De Representacion, which is also oaccompanied by a service contract called a **"”contrato de servicios profesionales”.
    1. Have either a cedula or passport as a valid form of identifcation. You may need to sign the logbook at the courthouse entrance, which has random enforcement.
    1. Have a bank deposit slip from the Banco Nacional that contains a validated deposit of 10% of the minimum bid. This needs to be done at any Banco Nacional location in advance.
    1. Present a formal letter the courthouse explaining your participation at the auction. This is called a “Presentacion De Postura”. This needs to include details like the parties involved, property ID number, and your name & identifaction. This one is tough, and you will probably need someone to give you a template where you only need to fill in the blanks for each auction.
    1. Have 100% of the money available in Panama as you only have a few days to pay off the remaining.

And as you might expect from a developing country, some auctions may not go as planned. If a lawyer submits incorrect paperwork, a judge delays the process a their perogative, or the Judicial office mishandles paperwork, there can be delays with getting property in your hands.

Auctions take place on weekdays and only at 4 P.M. sharp. If you show up a minute late, its highly unlikely a judge will accept your paperwork. Do everthing in advance!

The “minimum bid” is actually not the minimum possbile bid to win an action. For the first auction, you can submit a bit exactly at 2/3 of price and win it. If it goes to a second auction, you can make an offer at 1/2 of the value. If it goes to a third auction, bids start at $1.

Once you win an auction, the paperwork prepared by the courthouse needs to be physically transferred to the Public Registry (Registro Publico) in order to start the titling process. Again, this does not need a lawyer and you could even do it on your own with basic Spanish.

A typical representant may charge a combation of these rates:

  • $500 to investigate a property. This may include: location, topographic plans (if present), tax or utility debts and property administration debts.
  • $500 as a representation fee at the day of the auction.
  • 10% of the adjudication value of the auction they win it for you.