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The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Property in Ecuador

Nov 01, 2013

The Do

Misty ocean air, endless beaches, daily sunsets that seem to get more beautiful every day and beachfront living that won’t empty your wallet… sound too good to be true? Well, despite sounding too good to be true, it actually is true! But we’re not naïve, and know our customers aren’t either… anyone can say or write positive attributes about anything, really.

We are here to point you in the right direction when a move to Ecuador’s stunning coast is on your mind or in your future. And, to that end, we have assembled a combination of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ to remember when buying property here… we hope you will choose a Discovery Weekend with us, but regardless of whether you ‘go it alone’ or with us, this list is a handy resource…

The Do’s – Buying Real Estate in Ecuador

Do hire a local attorney. In most (if not all) cases, our developer will be able to recommend a lawyer, usually their own. This is a no exception ‘do’… contracts and documents will be in Spanish, and unless you’re a pro with legal jargon (in Spanish), you need an attorney.

Do expect the entire process of buying property to feel very foreign. Luckily, our developer is experienced and will help guide you through the process, but even for them there will be delays. Go with the flow and adjust to the local processes… there’s no point in fighting the methods, regardless of how rational your position seems, if anything it will likely slow it down! 

Do consider using an escrow account to handle your property transaction money (you can read more about using an escrow account HERE). If you prefer to wire the funds, make sure you speak with your bank before heading to Ecuador to complete the purchase. In some cases there are a different set of requirements and regulations when wiring money internationally. What a shame it would be if you had to fly all the way back to your native country, to merely sign a form or enter a PIN in the presence of a bank agent.

Do visit Ecuador’s stunning coast before making a buying decision! We recommend a Discovery Weekend… the developer will put you up at their guesthouse, show you the area and a variety of property options, including turn-key homes and vacant lots. 

The Don’ts – Buying Real Estate in Ecuador 

Don’t automatically assume that because you see various ‘household name’ real estate companies, that they will operate with integrity, fairness or be trustworthy in Ecuador. These are simply franchises and are ‘independently owned and operated’, no matter where they are. Because of this, they are only as good, ethical and experienced as the talent running them, and should not be compared as equals to your local office.

Don’t base your buying decision on your neighbor’s daughters experience in Ecuador when she visited in 1999 on a missionary trip, or by what the Ecuadorian butcher down the road says about his ‘motherland’, which he left 25 years ago. The bottom line; you need to visit Ecuador’s coast to experience it for yourself (a Discovery Weekend is a great way to do just that!). Everyone has a story… write your own!

Don’t expect the means of buying real estate on Ecuador’s coast to be the same as it would be in your home country. This includes the buying process, timing to achieve approvals/permits, stipulations of transactions and legalities. If you simply cannot adjust to the initial steps of buying abroad, then living or vacationing in this beautiful country may not be for you.

Don’t base your initial opinions of Ecuador and the probability/value of investing or living there, on reports from your local press. Many radio/TV outlets will cover only small bits of foreign news, and it’s typically the most ‘dramatic’ points of an issue. US news outlets are usually the biggest culprits when it comes to sensationalizing an otherwise mundane event, so take it all with a grain of salt… there are a plethora of (free) sources online that can provide the true story and give much more detail on a specific event. 

Moving abroad to work, retire in comfort, expose your children to new cultures or simply change things up, is becoming more commonplace and much easier every passing year. With technology allowing people to stay in touch with friends and family, as well as work from a faraway land, it’s almost gotten to the point of ‘why not?’ instead of ‘why?’.  

But knowing what you’re getting into is important! Being complacent about a move or being jaded about a country are both equally dangerous. Do your homework and visit the area; if Ecuador’s coast gives you the feeling of ‘home’, you’re ready…

Visit Ecuador’s coast for yourself on a Discovery Weekend! It’s an excellent primer to what you’ll experience should you choose to live or vacation there full-time. Our developer is excited to show you around and point out some of the best real estate options the coast has to offer.  

Go HERE now to learn more!

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Where International exists to recommend a variety of International real estate options. Where International requires developers to meet stringent criteria before offering them to you. Conversely, any inspections we conduct on projects or individuals should not be misinterpreted as a guarantee by Where International. International real estate is not immune to the ups and downs that occur in North American real estate; property values are never guaranteed to increase.

Where International is not accountable for the orchestration or deliverance of Discovery Weekends. We provide them to you on behalf of our developer partners. We recommend that you purchase travel insurance, as you would with any trip out of your home country. In addition, we advise you complete your own due diligence, purchase title insurance and always use a local attorney to assist with all transactions. In the event that a reader purchases a property from a recommended developer, Where International receives a sum from the developer.