OK, so I found a property that peeked my interest.
A 2 bedroom 2 bath one story house that’s supposedly beachfront near Salinas posted for sale online asking $21,000.
Definitely a fixer-upper. Undervalued, I think so.
Today I sat down with the owner in my B&B in Guayaquil.
Like someone who’s done this before I asked her to show me 3 things before I even agree to go see the house… and she did.
1. The Escritura: This is a document registered and legalized by a NOTARY that spells out the recent ownership history of a property, the surroundings and it serves as the legal TITLE or DEED of ownership in Ecuador.
2. The Predios: These are nothing more than the receipts of the annual tax payments to the local Municipal (Municipio) where the property is located proving the property is up to date and properly registered in the Municipal.
3. The Certificate of Registry (Certificado del Registro de Propiedad): This is a ceritificate from the local Property Registrars Office (Registro de la Propiedad) proving the property title has been properly registered.
For all three make sure the Tax ID number of the property matches up (in Ecuador called the NUMERO DE CATASTRO).
Not every purchase is the same in Ecuador, but these are the big three I ask for whenever I find a new property I’m interested in.
They’ll probably supply you with copies.
I’ll then go to the Property Registrar office and order the certificate myself to ensure the property is indeed registered and under the name the seller says it is.
You can then go to the Municipal and get a certificate proving all taxes and debts (Cerificado de no ser deudor) are paid on the property proving their are no leins against it.
Then you could go to the Notary where the current Title (Escritura) has been registered and ask for verification that the “Matrice” as they call it is indeed on file.
Title insurance doesnt really exist in Ecuador, and if it does, it’s expensive, so doing extra diligence like this is always good to prevent headaches.
An ignorant person might assume giving someone money for a property makes them the owner, wrong, in Ecuador these three documents properly registered do.
Should you use a lawyer?
It’s not really necessary, but if you can find one you can trust it couldn’t hurt, but that’s easier said than done!
Now you too are a savvy buyer in Ecuador!
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