Jennifer and Pamela King are a mother-daughter team who own a successful bed and breakfast in Panama. Some of their tips for running a successful rental property include spending time to understand the market and identify a potential niche, building a network of contacts and being flexible. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
Jennifer King and her 60-year old mother, Pamela, came to Panama from Oregon about two and a half years ago, and their move has been a real success. They followed a few simple tips that may well work for you.
#1 – Spend some time here. The Kings had heard about Panama, and wanted to leave their hometown in Oregon, so they decided to come down for a visit. Convinced that Panama merited some real consideration, they rented a furnished apartment for six months while they figured out how to build a new life here.
“We arrived wanting to open some sort of business,” Jennifer explains. A trained chef, she no longer had a desire to cook for anyone…except her friends.
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#2 – Find a niche, and fill it. The dynamic duo spent a great deal of time exploring the country, “going up and down the coasts looking at real estate,” says Jennifer, before they finally decided to open a B&B in Panama City. They realized that there was one niche they could help fill: despite the excellent infrastructure, there were almost no pet-friendly hotels in the city. (This is still true!)
#3 – Don’t be shy with the español. Few realize that the local market in Panama is full of opportunities. But not everything is advertised on the Internet, where luxury property reigns supreme. Jennifer found her property with a little perseverance. She avoided luxury-touting realtors and instead consulted the local newspaper classifieds.
Don’t be shy, she says. If you see a property advertised in Spanish, go ahead and call. If you are unable to communicate, call back with the help of a Spanish speaker (ask the plumber, the cable guy, a neighbor…anyone can help you get information or set up a viewing).
#4 – Network: Every contact is valuable. Jennifer quickly found a beautiful house within her budget and turned it into a pet-friendly B&B. A month before opening, she advertised on the Internet, seeking out free-placement ads. She also networked in the city, making contacts at local relocation companies. “When they had clients with pets, they sent them to us,” says Jennifer, and she returned the favor through referrals of her own.
Jennifer’s tactics worked…within six months her occupancy was near 90%. Jennifer loved her B&B and her new life in Panama. It was a demanding enterprise, but she planned to stick with it for at least a few years before moving on.
#5 – Don’t be afraid to change your mind. One day, opportunity knocked. Though Jennifer wasn’t looking to sell, she was approached by a couple that had fallen in love with her inn. “They wanted the house and said they’d buy our option…it was a good deal and we took it,” she says. The money she made helped in her next venture…pet-friendly rental apartments. For more information visit www.lacrestadeoro.com.
This article has been republished from International Living.