The quick, easy way to verify the owner of a property in Ecuador: Title checks

Are lawyers basically worthless in Ecuador?For title checks on property, I´d say yes.

Because they´re gonna do exactly what you yourself could do with a quick trip to the property registrar (registrador de la propriedad) in 20 minutes and $20 later getting the certificate of registry or history of the domain (certificado del registrador).

This certificate is how the common Ecuadorian quickly identifies rightful ownership, it also shows if there are any leins or mortgages out against the property and all the transfers of ownership the property has had in it’s history.

You can see an example in the pic below of one property I am considering buying in Guayaquil, where the last transaction was a donation from father to daughter in a divorce settlement.

You could also take your DIY title check a few steps further by taking the following precautions: 

– Only buy property with clearly established boundaries like an old-looking wall or clearly defined land features (like a river) or apartment unit number as defined in the escritura (title).

– Verify neighbors identity as established in the Escritura.  Although this may be out of date some.

– You could also physically measure all boundaries of property as miscalculations of area on deeds are common, but better to know before you buy.

– Research the seller.  Judge the current owner by his cover like Ecuadorians do.  Only buy from people who are easily located, preferably local to where you are buying, everyone knows them, they have stable job, family person, house, you know where they live etc. etc.  These type of people are less likely to play funny games.

I guarantee you a lawyer in Ecuador won’t do all these steps in their title check (that they charge you hundreds or thousands for)!

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6 things I hate about public bathrooms in Ecuador

Payment.  With most public bathrooms in Ecuador, you gotta pay to play, I know it´s only 10 cents or so but what if you only have a $20 bill?  Be prepared to get $19.90 in icky nickels and dimes back!

No soap– I don-t get it, why have soap dispensers if you can never find soap in them?  If you can find soap in a public bathroom i suggest stocking up for next time by squirting some into your hand and just walk around with it in there, just don´t shake anyone’s hand.  Another idea is to stash some behind your ears.

No toilet paper– Literally, two days ago I found myself running for a bathroom in the Mall Quicentro Sur in South Quito.  Of course, there was no toilet paper, only a complicated machine that requires exact change, of course, I didn´t have it in those precious moments, so what did I have to do?  There were a few old receipts in my wallet, those had to do.  I chuckled as I dropped them in the open waste basket of the stall thinking how people were going to laugh when they saw dirtied receipts in there. Oh, man.

No ventilation– “Oh man, I can´t breathe in here, and it´s so humid the smell and r¡grime is sticking to my skin!” My friend with loose bowl movements moaned from a cramped, dark, windowless bathroom at a gas station in steamy Guayaquil.  It was funny for the rest of us just outside the bathroom though.

No where to set down a backpack- many floors of public bathrooms in Ecuador are really nasty, yet there are often no hooks on the stall doors, so where do you set a bag down?  The only solution I can think of is to squat with the pack on and hope you don´t pop a hernia.

Sweet sayings Ecuadorians (maybe just the males) write on the back of toilet stall doors.  Ecuadorians think its hilarious to write their buddy´s phone number on the back of doors with things like “for cheap gay s-e-x call 09—–“.  Recently, I saw one interesting graffiti, “gays poop easier”.  Actually, some of these can be quite funny.

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My top 3 cheap side-trips from Ecuador everyone should take

South America is a BIG continent.

And not many budget airlines yet more are coming.

But there are interesting side-trips you can take while living in Ecuador… I suggest starting with these three!

1. San Andres Island (Colombia).  This picturesque Caribbean island off the coast of Honduras is actually a part of Colombia, yet most don´t realize it if they´ve even heard of the place.  Yet it costs just $69 roundtrip to get there from Bogota!  And now with the Colombian budget airline Wingo flying to Quito you can get roundtrip to Bogota for around $230 if you buy at least a month or so in advance. A must-see!  Try Google Flights to find.

2. Summer skiing in Chile.  The ski season in Chile is July through September.  And most don´t realize you can actually get to the resorts quite quickly from the capital Santiago.  And you can get to Santiago for around $300 round-trip if bought in advance from Guayaquil (Ecuador). Try Google Flights or Kayak.com.

3. El Salvador/Nicaragua/Costa Rica.  There is a little-known, new, cheap round-trip flight for $232 with Avianca from Quito to El Salvador.  From there you could discover the El Salvador coastline or drift up by land to Guatemala for a few days or catch a cheap flight to Nicaragua or Costa Rica via Kayak.com. I´ve seen one way flights for around $60 from El Salvador to Nica.

There you have it! A few interesting side trips to get you started once living in Ecuador.  More to come.

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