13 truths no one told you about Ecuador Real Estate

Ok, so you just decided to look into buying Ecuador real estate. Who’s the first people you meet? People selling Ecuador property.

I’ve been there.

They’re not going to tell you what I’m going to tell you today. Its normal, they’re trying to sell.

Fact is while it can be rewarding (and profitable) to buy Ecuador property, often its not. Here’s some truths about buying in Ecuador…

1. Its hard as hell to sell.  In a cash economy, properties, especially higher priced ones, can often be for sale months or years without moving.
2. It often doesn’t make sense to buy when you can rent.  In some places, I’m looking at you Cuenca, purchase prices can be completely out of whack high while rents are ridiculously low, so why buy?
3. Most finished buildings or homes you may look to purchase were never inspected, there are no building codes, and what you buy would probably not stand a 2.0 quake let alone a 7.0.
4. Most larger lots are not measured properly on the deed and you will probably have border disputes with neighbors.
5. While sexy and sometimes cheap to buy on a remote beach, if you do have access to basic services like water or electric they will be spotty at best. Internet is not a given.  Sewage would be a luxury.
6. If you try to manage a home build from a distance you will be taken to the cleaners. You’ve got to be present in Ecuador.
7. Most large developers will sell you promises in gated communities they do not plan to keep.  Buy what you can see.
8. If you buy a stand-alone house it will probably get robbed multiple times once it is furnished. Often, its better to buy in gated community.
9. If you buy a condo chances are the building will go to shit because many fellow condo owners will not pay their dues on time.  Closely assess common areas before you buy.
10. Renting a property long-term as the landlord is not smart because the laws heavily favor the tenants and rental returns are generally cheap (not worth the hassle). I think renting to short-stay guests is better-easier-more profitable-less risky.
11. You as a foreigner (gringo) are more likely to get scammed by another gringo than an Ecuadorian when buying property in Ecuador. Sorry, let the cat out of the bag on this one.  Don’t trust someone just because they are from your home country (not good enough).
12. If you don’t speak at least conversational Spanish you probably should not buy Ecuador property.  What if a light fixture breaks?  You don’t even know the word for it in Spanish, I don’t know how some people do it.  When you rent you have the landlord to fall back on.

13. Noise will happen.  Zoning laws suck and a disco could be put in the house next to you and there’s not much you could do about it. Best case scenario is there is just (one) annoying barking dog next door (all night).  Easier to just move when renting.

Oh yea, and did I mention any money you bring to Ecuador will get taxed 5% when you try to take it out of the country again?  Things to know.

So, should you buy in Ecuador?

I have, and I’ve done just fine, but you should go in at least know the truth about what you’re getting into.

How to trade stocks online from Ecuador

“Wow, that’s cool.” I thought as a young expat in Medellin, Colombia.

I had just met a guy who lives off day trading while traveling the world.

“Must be nice,” I thought.

Since then my path has taken me more towards starting businesses and investing in real estate abroad.

But during the market dip of this past week I decided it was time to get in on some online stock trading.

But from Ecuador, or anywhere outside the US and Canada, signing up for the service can be a challenge.

You can’t just create an account online and away you go.  These sites usually block the sign up function from third world countries (even with a VPN).

I tested various services, and I found eTrade the most willing to work with me to set up an account from Ecuador.

I could not sign up online through their site, I had to CALL in to sign up.  That was the key.  I then connected a US bank account, and within one day I was trading online.

The trades go in within seconds and I’ve found the platform VERY easy to use for my average tech skills.  For instance, I’ve been doing Facebook for years but Instagram and SnapCHat and these other newer things are still a bit over my head.

As for my personal trading strategy…

I’m not telling you what to do, just stating what I’m doing, take it or leave it.  I´m no pro, in fact, a beginner.  But right now, I’m focusing on Marijuana stocks as every time Marijuana is legalized somewhere these stocks are jumping, and that seems to be the North American trend now.

Plus, I plan to play specific events that hit otherwise good companies that I think they can rebound from, like the Equifax hack a few months ago (stock dipped like 20% in a day, then slowly rebounded over the following weeks).

All in all, I look at this as one way to make a little money on the side from anywhere in the world… so why not?

The ONLY way to buy big ticket items in Ecuador

I’ve lived in Ecuador over 5 years now.

But just recently it hit home what I’m about to share with you today as to how I learned how to buy big ticket items (like cars or real estate) through the selling of my car to Ecuadorians.

Maybe its similar in any less developed country.

Its VERY important whenever you buy something high value high price in Ecuador to establish a price in your head you think its worth after shopping around… and THEN offer a price WAY below that at times would be maybe by half or less.

TEST: If you feel uncomfortable offering such a low price because it would be a steal then you are on the right track.

From there you can always work up little by little.  That’s the only way you can ensure you paid the lowest possible price.

I’ve noticed Ecuadorians have no shame in applying this strategy and neither should you when selling or buying big ticket items here!