The 1 hardest thing for a nice guy doing business in Ecuador

I’ve got a confession to make, I’m a nice guy.

If you’ve ever met me you know, kinda short, kinda soft-spoken, generally nice.

And being nice in a place like Ecuador isn’t necessarily a virtue, it’s a handicap.

But I’ve done pretty good here economically (so far) in spite of it.

As I covered earlier this week, Ecuadorians are GREAT people, but it’s a bit more animalistic down here during conflicts, they have to see it in your eyes you mean business, they have to taste it, or they’ll try to walk all over you.

You can’t rely on the police as much to have your back.

Specifically, in the businessworld in Ecuador (a country where negotiation is common), the biggest challenge for me as a nice guy is to hold firm on my price when people ask for discounts. Especially when I really want to sell. Sometimes I’ve even found myself discounting before people even ask. As a nice guy you want to be accommodating, but that’s a big no, no!

​​​​​​​You have to value yourself and what you’re doing.

Hasta pronto, if you liked this you’d love my Insider’s newsletter on living and investing in Ecuador,

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Dodging a shark: The dangers of buying vacant land in Ecuador

“Oh, man, here he comes again.” I said to an Ecuadorian friend as I saw my neighbors big black pick up pull up to my property near Salinas on the coast.

The car stopped, he got out and walked up.

I had previously explained to my friend that my neighbor used to be the owner of the whole hill I was on overlooking the ocean, and that he had sold a lot to the person that sold to the person that sold to me.

But now he was hassleing me because he said on my deed is only 500m2 yet in actuality my lot is closer to 700m2 if you count the downward slope onto the main road from my main lot.

Now, he was bothering me to pay him for the extra 200m2 I was occupying or he would sell that to someone else.

Yet, most of that space is un-usable anyway because it was too close to the main road.

But consulting in the municipal of Santa Elena where the deeds are registered, they told me actually mis-measurements of lots are quite common and don’t mean much.

So, this time as my neighbor walked up once again to hassle me, he was intercepted by my Ecuadorian friend who got in his face and told him to get lost and stop trying to take advantage of a naive foreigner (me, at the time).

That’s all it took.

He never bothered me again.

I learned something from that about how things work down here. Ecuadorians respect force or threat of force, and that’s about it.

Strength, in other words, not necessarily the “oh it’s the right thing to do” ethics that may be enough in places like North America where you can rely a bit more on the legal system and the police to help you out.

So, how can you prevent situations like this?

Buy lots that have CONFIRMED time-tested boundaries marked by older looking fences, GPS coordinates specified in deed, or landmarks outlined in deed. Talk to the neighbors to confirm before buying if possible.

And it sure helps to have some local friends.

Hasta pronto, if you liked this you’d love my Insider’s newsletter on living and investing in Ecuador,

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How much should you pay a caretaker for your beach house in Ecuador?

Good question.

Not much.

I’ve owned several properties on the coast of Ecuador, and currently own one for sale.

All I can say is how much I pay. I pay a local guy $10 a week to go to the house once or twice a week at different times and check if everything is OK, dust and sweep up a bit, water the plants and just kind of spend a bit of time there.

That’s it.

He also shows the home to interested buyers upon request. So one important requirement is that he has and answers a cell phone.

Like anything in Ecuador, always try to pay the locals the going rate, or a little bit better, or they will probably label you a rich gringo, get greedy and want more and more and more.

Best to ask other locals how much they pay for similar services before paying yourself.

NEVER have the mindset of, “well, in the USA we pay this much for a similar service, so anything less would be a deal”.

Newsflash: this ain’t Kansas anymore, think like that and you will overpay for sure!
Hasta pronto, if you liked this you’d love my Insider’s newsletter on living and investing in Ecuador,

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