Some Points to Keep in Mind When Buying Property in Ecuador
Aug 16, 2013
So you’ve made the decision to purchase a vacation home with plans to one day retire in said vacation home. And, with all the buzz around Ecuador’s (affordable) rise into the ‘retire abroad’ game, you’re ready to jump on the bandwagon!
If you own a house in North America, you’re familiar with the home-buying procedure; paperwork, meetings with realtors, lawyers and your bank, inspections, closing costs, and it goes on…
But you trust the process, right? After all, there are a multitude of laws to protect you during these procedures. Plus, even if you don’t necessarily understand all the actual terminology, you can at least read it. And if you really want to know what something means, the internet or an old-fashioned dictionary are at your disposal.
This is not the way things work in Ecuador. Processes and procedures are not matter-of-fact or straightforward and you really can’t take any part of the transaction for granted.
Now, that being said, it doesn’t have to be that way… by working with a reputable developer and builder, its possible to navigate Ecuador’s property-buying process with much less stress then if you try to go it alone. (Go HERE to learn about our developer partner on Ecuador’s coast and how you can visit!)
Regardless of whom you’re working with during your buying process, don’t be afraid to ask questions… lots and lots of questions! Here are some very important points to keep in mind before you take the plunge…
· Don’t assume anything! Ecuador has no laws about disclosing details when it comes to purchasing a home or property. Anyone (including real estate agents) can tell you anything without recourse. And they will.
· Similar to other Latin American countries, the majority of Ecuador’s real estate agents work unlicensed. That’s not to say that there isn’t a licensing process. There is. Many of them simply choose not to go through the motions - there are no legal consequences for being unlicensed.
· Unless you speak fluent Spanish (including real estate lingo!) have everything translated. Documents written in English are not legally binding, so having them translated for your understanding is paramount.
· If you’re buying a lot in a community or development, confirm that the money is already set aside for the infrastructure. Think curbs, streetlights, gutters, paved roads… all things you may take for granted, because you expect them. But if the developer hasn’t escrowed the funds, there’s no guarantee if or when those details will be completed.
· Are there schools in the area? Markets? Medical centers? Depending on the importance these amenities make to you, it’s important to know the area and how far you’ll have to travel to get to them. (Visiting on a Discovery Weekend is an excellent way to get a feel for your potential new backyard! Go HERE to get details on booking your coastal Ecuador Discovery Weekend)
· Will your new home be hooked up to town sewage, or will you have a septic tank? If you’re told that there’s already a septic tank in place, request proof that it’s working properly.
· This may be the most important point of all… water. Where is it coming from? Can you drink it out of the tap? Is there enough for the entire community you’re buying in? This is something people seriously take for granted in North America and is easily overlooked when buying property abroad, because you simply expect it. Don’t just expect it… if there isn’t already water, request official documentation that it’s on its way. If you’re dealing with a developer that can’t prove that there is already water, or that it’s on it’s way, do not complete the deal. Remember, you can’t make water, and there’s no guarantee that a drilled well – after lots are already sold – will even hit water, or enough of it.
Buying a home and moving your life to a new country, is fun, exciting and adventurous. Of course, it also carries its share of anxiety and worry, and dealing with incompetent or untrusting real estate agents or developers can unnecessarily exacerbate these feelings.
You can take a huge sigh of relief by dealing with a developer who already has all their ducks in a row. Lucky for you, Where International has taken that step for you!
Visit coastal Ecuador on a Discovery Weekend and meet the developer and his team. You’ll see a variety of available properties as well as homes that are just waiting to be lived in!