3 Ways to Lose Every Cent of your Investment in Ecuador

loja ecuador real estate
Loja, Ecuador

“This s-h-i-t’s chess down here, not checkers.”

I told my friend referring to buying property in Ecuador.

You see, in North America you have things like an MLS system, licensed real estate agents, appraisers, escrow, insurance for everything including the title, and lawyers who have to pass a bar exam and abide by a code of ethics to keep their practice.

None of that exists in Ecuador, and if it does, rarely seen.

That’s why a lot of us foreign buyers get it wrong when we buy in Ecuador, and it can cause us to LOSE EVERY CENT of an investment we made in Ecuador.

Yes, GREAT deals can be had on beautiful properties in Ecuador for under $50k, heck, even under $25k, but there’s also a much larger risk of being took most don’t tell you about!

You shouldn’t pay US prices for Ecuador property. Plain and simple. They’re two different animals.

So, here are 3 of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen foreign buyers make (including myself) when buying property in Ecuador. It was hard to just choose three, but here goes…

3. Buy and leave before closing. The biggest mistake I’ve seen foreign buyers make is they come down in a rush, buy a property and leave before the property closes and the deed is officially in their name.

Many even leave a power of attorney wth some lawyer they just met in Ecuador.

Big mistake.

You really have to see things through in Ecuador or they may never get done. I know of one instance where one lawyer simply didn’t finish the job for a foreign buyer and a year passed and the property still wasn’t registered under the new buyers name!

The closing process takes about a month in Ecuador so if you buy down here you better plan on staying at least that long.

2. Buy a house with “cancer”. Safe to say Ecuador building codes are rarely enforced and especially on the coast, many buildings have “cancer”.

By that I mean the cement has been eroded by the salt-filled sea air through the years and the cement loses its composition turning houses basically into “houses of sand”. Best to have house inspected by an architect before buying to ensure there is not any costly structural damage the eye misses.

1. Leave property vacant for extended periods time. Ecuador is not the US. It shouldn’t be treated as such. I know many of you come down here looking to invest and never plan on moving here, and that’s fine, but you should never just leave a property you purchased vacant and unguarded for extended periods of time.

In Ecuador, “squatting” happens.

It’s when someone comes in and occupies a vacant piece of land or home and eventually consider’s it their’s, although they have no legal right to be there.

Often your neighbors will be the biggest culprits expanding their borders into your vacant lot.

Although you are the official, registered owner, it can be very difficult to get these people off your property, especially if they’ve been there several years and have built there.

Best to fence in your vacant land investment and pay someone monthly to keep an eye on it. Or pay a local to watch over a vacant house. $20 or less a month will often do. For instance, I pay a local on the coast $20 a month to watch over a property of mine I don’t occupy, they also water the plants once a week.

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