This is part 8 of the not-so-commonly-seen look into a real, live Ecuador real estate transaction (of my own with my own money) as I reveal all the dirt as it happens in this rare, completely transparent property play.
After we agreed on price, the next step was to go visit the lot one more time and double check to be sure it was completely unoccupied and that there weren’t any 50 foot holes or some other deal killer.
It was fine so we proceeded in agreeing to payment terms.
In Ecuador, there is no “Escrow” service so each property transaction is a bit different.
Some use a third-party lawyers account but I trust them less than I do the seller.
Not an option.
Some sign a “Promise of Sale” (Promesa de Compra Venta) in a Notary and give a deposit to secure the sale but most for smaller transactions like this one are OK with skipping it and paying upon signing of the deed (Escritura) usually with a certified check from your Ecuadorian Bank or via a direct bank wire if the funds come from abroad.
Every property purchase in Ecuador is different in this regard.
One thing I do recommend is to “keep the seller in the loop” until the property is officially registered in the Property Registry office. If you pay them all at once upon deed signing they’ll disappear, and you may need them later for some requirement the Registrar asks.
I agreed to pay half via certified check upon signing of the deed (Escritura).
And paying the other half when the property has cleared title and is properly registered for the first time where it needs to be in the Property Registrar of Santa Elena (which covers the whole Salinas area).
Part of me still doubts this purchase will get that far.
Next we had to go to the local “Comuna” and transfer the “Right of Possession” (Derecho de Posesion) the seller had to my name and have the president of the Comuna sign off.
At first the Comuna asked $500 but then we found a friend of the seller with some contacts in the Comuna that did the name transfer for $200.
After the Comuna name transfer the next step was to solicit an inspector from the Municipal in Santa Elena to come and measure the property and give it an official tax ID number (Numero Catastral) which it never had before. This cost me $30.
After that on the same day they issued us a certificate with the offical measurements and new tax ID number of the property.
With that and the Right of Possession in my name from the local Comuna, we had the properties’ first ever Escrituras (Deed) drawn up by a notary in Guayaquil while I paid the Capital Gains Tax (Plusvalia), Transfer tax (Alcabas), and got the Certificate of not having any leins (Certificado de no ser deudor).
Total cost of drawing up the deed in the notary and paying all the transfer taxes mentioned above, $200 more.
Plus I paid a local lawyer in Guayaquil $120 to do a further title check and help me with the run around a bit do to the unique circumstances of this purchase.
As I write this the new title (Escritura) has now been signed and sealed by the Notary in Guayaquil, and is ready for registering in the Property Registrar, the final and most important step.
I’ve been told the registering will cost around $260 plus another $15 to “Catastrar” the property registering it with the local Municipal as well.
Tomorrow I hope to successfully submit the title to the registrar.
Total estimated closing costs of a property municipally valued at $4160: $725
Elapsed time: 1 week
Stay tuned to see what happens now. Wish me luck!
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