Thursday, August 20, 2009

Elation Followed by Disappointment

Well, we went inside the second orange house on Monday afternoon (August 17) and we absolutely love it. The owner has taken amazingly good care of it - all the wood is sealed, the ceiling is finished, the main level has new tiles on the floor, the windows fit tightly, the upstairs wood loft floor does not creak and bounce like all the other loft floors we have walked on. Both bathrooms have hot water in the sinks and showers (not cold-water sinks and on-demand hot water heaters in the shower only, with wires hanging out every which way.) It has a lovely tiled terrace running the full width of the house. It has a large, solidly-constructed gazebo with electricity, a built-in grill, a tile counter and a sink. It is being offered for a good price, and includes all the furnishings except for the kiddie toys and swing sets and play house. We had high hopes.

When we came to Panama in mid-July, we did not expect that our 6-week stay would result in a house purchase. Then we started seeing what we thought were some pretty nice-looking and affordable houses. Then we saw this house and fell in love. We hired a civil engineer to walk through our favorite houses with us to share his professional observations, and found it to be a really valuable experience. We now look at every house through Dirk's eyes, and most of them have a lot more problems than we suspected before we learned some of the skinny from Dirk. He saw no major problems with this house, and only a couple of very minor ones (for instance, one of the rain gutters had fallen off and needed to be replaced.)

So Mayra, our excellent attorney, researched the details of the property, and although the title is clear, she discovered a little glitch that will most likely prevent us from buying this house. The possibility still exists that we can work something out, but we no longer have much hope that this will be our Panama home.

If this wonderful house is not meant to be our home, we will return to Panama in a few months and search anew. Our friends and contacts here in Cerro Azul tell us that houses come on the market often, and you do have to be here to find out about them, especially the unadvertised ones, as we have already learned. That's our plan.

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