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. Fire is a beautiful element. It rages in amazing colors, it provides light, offers warmth and can be used to prepare food. However, fire is not always perceived as a positive force. It is also something that can cause severe destruction to anything that comes within its unprotected path. Proof of this can be found in the damage to forests, homes and businesses. Yes, fire is both a pro and con in the world. Thankfully, we can take a variety of actions to help protect ourselves, and the things we hold dear, from the destructive nature of fire. These actions may seem minor, but when it comes to fire protection, no action is too insignificant. After all, in the case of a business fire, the structural damage combined with the loss of product, manufacturing potential, invoices, client records and then time spent being closed due to reconstruction is something from which many companies never recover! More distressing, is that often fire damage such as this could have been avoided by having had a commercial fire protection for critical infrastructure system installed. And, when it comes to the value of a fire protection system in a home, the value of that is priceless. So, what are some fire protection steps you can take to keep your home, family or business safe? Here are some of the most recommended precautions from the National Fire Protection Association: Every home should have a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle. If you have a multi-story home, consider having at least one per floor; be especially sure that you have one in the kitchen,as this where a majority of home fires start! Be sure that the people in your home know how to operate the extinguisher in the event of an emergency.

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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