Archive | Ecuador for Investors

Pricing the Lot- Part 9, The Ecuador Property Search Series

land prices ecuador

Salinas, Ecuador

This is part 9 of this not-so-common look inside a real, live property transaction (of my own) in Ecuador.  Follow me as I reveal all the dirt as it happens.

Today I just finalized the process of clearing up the title issues of the lot.

It helped to have a few contacts in the Municipal.

You don’t need contacts to do what I did but it makes the process faster.

So I now have a notarized Escritura (Deed) and its registered in the Registrar proved as such by the Certificate of Registry (Certificado del Registrador de la Propiedad).

The whole process to legalize the communal land… took me about 2 weeks.

Now it can be sold privately without having to go to the local Commun.

The only setback at the end of the process was that the Notary had made errors about my personal information that needed correcting.  Without even asking the folks in the notary mistyped both my gender and marital status and I didn’t catch it at first.

It was a hassle that caused me a few extra trips both to the Notary and Registrar.

Be sure you read carefully, or have someone read the Deed to you while translating, before signing.

Now, the fun part. 

Pricing the lot.

Reasonably priced, front line, oceanfront property in Ecuador is getting harder to find.

Once bought by a foreigner a beachfront property will usually double or triple in price instantly unless its already priced high.

But you can still find deals like the one I found.

Last week, I know of a 1000m2 (10763ft²) beachfront lot in Cadeate (a town near Montanita) asking $35k ($35 per m2) that sold in 3 days!

I’d say the average price I’m seeing in Ecuador for beachfront land is around $35-45 per m2 with prices on the southern coast being a bit higher.

For larger, multi-hectare lots you can still find people selling at $1 per m2, but the investment will still be in the hundreds of thousands.

But the prices are all across the board.

It’s common to also find lots asking in the $60-80 per m2 range all the way up to one development I know in the Olon area that sells smaller beachfront lots, and has sold many, at $200 per m2!

And one block back off the beach it gets a lot cheaper, quick, with lots usually asking around $15-25 per m2.

In the better parts of the cities of Ecuador, like where I’m at in Guayaquil, the land goes anywhere from $300-500 per m2.

So as the coast populates and internationalizes there’s still a lot of room for growth.

I think if you sell in 3 days you priced too low.

But if it takes months or years then you’re either not promoting well or priced too high.

So for my 475m2 beachfront lot in a small fishing area 25 minutes from downtown Salinas, I’m going to start by asking $25k ($52.60 per m2).

That’ll give me a little room to negotiate.

If someone came along and offered me near that price but a few thousand less so the price got into the $40s per m2, I’d probably take it.

It’s a nice lot, raised 15 feet above the ocean with outstanding views, but flat and ready to build, with no road in front, just the ocean while the lot is in an urban area so water and electric are easily hooked up.

So there it is, it’s officially for sale…

Respond to this email if you’d like more info.

Stay tuned!

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Posted in Expat Lifestyle, Investor News/Analysis

Where’s the best surf in Ecuador?

surfing in Ecuador
The surf off Ayampe.

For the best surfing in Ecuador for beginners and intermediates I’d try Montanita or Canoa.

The beach in Montanita has a good gradual break for beginners at one point and intermediates in another.

For empty waves off the beaten track try the breaks off Ayampe and Las Tunas a little further north.

Another good relatively unknown break is in the Playas-Engabao area.

For a world-class left break try Mompiche in the north.

In the Galapagos, world-class surfing for experts only can be enjoyed in and around the beaches of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

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Posted in Ecuador Q&A

The Top 3 Spots for White-Water Rafting or Kayaking in Ecuador

kayaking in Ecuador

For me, the top 3 places to white water raft or kayak in Ecuador are …

1. Rio Quijos near El Chaco town.

2. Tena and the Rio Napo.

3. Ibarra and the rivers around are an off the beaten track kayaking or white water destination. My fav!

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Ecuador Travel Guides

Where’s Best to Go Scuba Diving + Snorkeling in Ecuador??

scuba diving ecuador
A view of the wildlife swimming just off shore on Isabela Island, Galapagos… Amazing!

By far the best place for snorkeling and scuba in Ecuador is in the Galapagos where the water is transparent and the animals are a plenty.

It’s not uncommon to see gigantic Manta Rays, sharks, sea turtles, sea lions and more in a matter or minutes when scuba diving in the Galapagos.

I highly recommend Scuba off of Floreana Island, Galapagos.

The mainland has darker, murkier water not great for seeing wildlife but the best place to scuba is in Ayangue, on the southern coast.

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Ecuador Q&A, Ecuador Travel Guides

Where to go Mountain Biking in Ecuador?

biking chimborazo

That’s me biking Chimborazo.

 

For mountain biking in Ecuador its hard to beat the all-day-long descents offered by Cotopaxi, Chimborazo or Banos.

Guides out of Quito offer the day trips to Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, the Banos trip can be done independently renting a bike from one of the many shops in town.

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Ecuador Travel Guides

The Buying Process in Ecuador – Part 8: Ecuador Property Search Series

closing costs of property purchase in Ecuador

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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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Expat Lifestyle, Investor News/Analysis

Where to go Mountain Climbing or Mountaineering in Ecuador?

mountain climbing ecuador
Me at the base of Cotopaxi.

For those who like scaling mountains in one day I’d try the Volcan Imbababura (4609m) in the northern highlands.

For more experienced climbers the next best are Cotopaxi and Chimborazo(6310m).

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For horseback riding, I’d try the beach of Olon on weekends, or one of the several agencies offering guided rides in the Banos area.

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Ecuador Travel Guides

Where’s best to horseback ride in Ecuador?

Near Olon beach in Ecuador.
Near Olon Beach in Ecuador.

For horseback riding, I’d try the beach of Olon on weekends, or one of the several agencies offering guided rides in the Banos area.

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Ecuador Travel Guides

Where’s best to go hiking in Ecuador?

hiking in Ecuador
A view from the trial of Quicocha Lake

Ecuador’s an awesome country if hiking is your thing.

For me, the coolest hikes in Ecuador is the hike down to the crater of Quilotoa Volcano, the hike with the natives around the dry coastal rain-forest in the Machalilla National Park, and the hike around the Quicocha Lake near Cotacachi.

All amazing!

Give ‘em a try.

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Ecuador Travel Guides, Expat Lifestyle

Where’s best to go bird-watching in Ecuador?

birdwatching in Ecuador
A Pelican hanging out off a peir in the Galapagos.

By far the best place to bird watch is in the Galapagos where on a single day you can see the world’s smallest penguin, frigates, blue-footed boobies, finches and more.

Next would be the cloud forests of Mindo where you can see hundreds of different types of birds like the Andean cock-of-the-rock.

Next up would be the Zamora Amazonian area where with luck you can spot a Toucan or go visit the cave where there is a type of bird that ONLY exists in that one cave… Tayos.

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Ecuador Travel Guides

Done deal. Bought the beachfront lot. Now what?: Part 7 Ecuador Property Search Series

Puerto Lopez Ecuador


This is part 7 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.

OK, so today I came to agreement with the seller to buy his 475 m2 (5112 ft2) beachfront lot near Salinas, Ecuador with title issues for $4300.

What’s my plan?

The plan is to buy—> legalize the title issues—> and resell.

Hopefully all within 1-3 months.

That’s it.

Nothing fancy about it.

I know I’m taking a risk here. I may lose everything I’ve invested.

But the potential reward is really good, based on my experience, the lot, when legalized with clear title, is currently selling for at least 2-3 times what I’m paying for it.

Once when I was 20 I bought a car in San Diego for $350 with title issues.

I didn’t know what I was doing and new to the state.

No problems until I went to register the car.

And I found out I couldn’t register it unless I paid an unpaid tax lein that was worth more than the car itself.

So what did I do?

I tried to sell it to an ex-girlfriend.

But then the cops pulled her over and i felt bad and gave her her money back, then I junked the car, it was essentially non-transferable, no one would buy it with the lein it had against it worth almost double the car (it hummed like a helicopter).

A loss.

This time I did my homework, went to the Registry office beforehand and followed up with numerous “experts” I know down here and have concurred that in fact the title issues of this property as mentioned in the previous posts can in fact be cleared in a timely fashion.

Besides, I must get it right cause my ex-girlfriends in Ecuador probably can’t afford it.

Haha, just joking.

We’ll see.

So what price should I put on it?

Anyway, stay tuned, we’ll see how it goes.

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Expat Lifestyle, Investor News/Analysis

Whats the Ecuadorian Lifestyle like?

ecuador lifestyle

Good question.

It depends a little where you are.

On the coast the people are laid back and definitely have the “manaña” mindset.

There’s always tomorrow.

People definitely “work to live” instead of our “live to work” lifestyle.

Ecuadorians in general aren’t quite as ambitious as we are brought up to be, and generally more distrustful (maybe with reason).

Women still look for men to support them and are happy to get married and stay in the kitchen… so to speak.

Girls from less affluent backgrounds have kids VERY young.

Ecuadorians are very family-oriented and Sundays are generally set aside for relaxing and hanging with family.

The work week is from 9-6 with a one or even 2 hr lunch.

Marriage is also expected at younger ages and folks in their 30s un-wed is an odd sight.

Interesting place to say the least!

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Ecuador Q&A

Bargaining the Deal Ecuadorian-Style. Part 6 Ecuador Property Search Series

Negotiating in Ecuador

$6000?

“Whew, that’s steep man.” I said as we sat down to negotiate the 475m2 (5112 ft2) beachfront lot I found for sale in Ecuador this week.

“Look, I’ve got another opportunity available, whats the minimum you’d accept?” (Mire, tengo otra opcion, digame cual es lo ultimo?) I asked.

“OK, OK, $5000, but that’s if you pay in cash.” The seller rebuttled.

“Well, I would pay that, but the lot has title issues, and I’m going to have to pay extra to fix that, and there’s a certain risk I’m taking on in that the title issues may not even be correctable, so because of that, I’ll pay maximum $4000.” I responded using the title problems as a bargaining chip.

And the bargaining went on…

Here’s 8 tips I have when bargaining with Ecuadorians.

8. Ecuadorians almost always will be willing to round off asking prices. For instance, if they’re asking $28k, they’ll almost always accept at least $25k, but don’t let that be your first offer. In my case, the seller was asking $6k so I knew he’d at least accept $5k.

7. A “no” is never a “hard no” in Ecuador, it just means “no right now”. Be slow, keep calling and be persistent, once they get a comfort level with you they might start lowering the price when initially they didn’t want to.

6. Learn a few key common very Ecuadorian phrases like “Cual es lo ultimo?” (Whats your lowest price?) and “Mira, tengo el efectivo, uno tras otro.” (I’ve got cash and I’ll lay down the bills, one after the other.) “Es mucho.” (That’s too much.)

5. Don’t be afraid to throw out a ridiculously low bid, at maybe half the asking price, they may not say yes but they won’t get offended and it gives you a good starting point for negotiating.

4. Be patient and don’t be afraid to throw a number out there and let it marinate while the seller thinks about it, they just may come around with time.

3. Caution, they may try to change the end asking price or terms on you after they’ve already been settled on if they feel they are selling to cheap. And generally, the spoken word isn’t a binder in Ecuador so once you got a deal it’s best to work fast before they have sellers remorse.

2. Don’t show money. You don’t have to, they’ll take you serious even though you’re dressed like a dirty bum simply because you are a foreigner. If you show money they may be more reluctant to bargain price.

1. Stay out of the picture as long as possible. As I did early on in this post series, try to have a local friend talk for you at least until you get an asking price to be sure you’re getting quoted a price a local would offer to another local, then you can come into the picture.

We’ll see what happens from here, stay tuned!

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Expat Lifestyle, Investor News/Analysis

The 2012 Ecuador Population: Facts and Figures

ecuador population

Ecuador has 49 people per square kilometer, but 60% of the population lives in the urban centers of Quito and Guayaquil.

25% of the population is indigenous.

65% is mestizo or of mixed indigenous and European descent.

3% is afro-ecuadorean.

6% pure European descent.

14,666,055 total population (according to the world bank.)

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Ecuador Q&A, Expat Lifestyle

5 Day Itinerary to South Ecuador: Off the Beaten Path!

Zamora Ecuador
Zamora Ecuador

Most tourists dont even consider this part of Ecuador, but you know, for me, its actually my favorite part of the whole country!

In 5 days you can visit most of the highlights.

Start off by flying into Guayaquil, stay the night at my place if you arrive late and continue to Machala the next morning.

In Machala you can tour banana or Cocoa plantations and also visit a Hummingbird Sanctuary.

From there continue to Zaruma, a colonial town build into a mountain which was a gold mine back in the day. Here you can also go on a gold mine tour.

After sleeping in Zaruma head up to Loja where youll want to try local delicacies like the Tamal Lojano and Tigrillo.

After visiting Loja by day head to Vilcabamba and sleep there.

Few places in the world are as quiet as Vilcabamba. Relax while you enjoy literally perfect not too hot not too cold weather and eat dishes like Filet Mignon for around $6.

After Vilcabamba head to Zamora, a small town tucked in the Amazon with loads of Orchids growing out of everything, and the National Park Podocarpus a stones throw away. This area also is known for the origin of the shrunken heads that Hollywood made famous.

Head by bus up through the jungle to Gualaquiza, where youll probably be the only foreigner around, just like in Zamora.

From there you can catch transport back to Cuenca where you can stroll the beautiful old town and converse with fellow expats and from there head the 3 hrs down the mountains back to Guayaquil.

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Posted in Ecuador Travel Guides

Cheap Communal Land, Buy or Bust?: 5. Ecuador Property Search Series

buy comuna land in Ecuador

Jeeze, why can’t this ever be easy? I thought earlier today.

I was checking out the cheap beachfront house I told you about in the last update of this series where I walk you through every step of a real, live property deal I’m currently making in Ecuador, you’ll come with me as we go from start to finish or from the buy all the way to the re-sell.

I was a little down cause the house I told you about 2 days ago, and the one I was looking at was “technically” beachfront, but not really, it was kind of far away from the beach although the land separating the house from the ocean was un-buildable do to an estuary or bay area just to the side of the house.

It kind of looked like the house, along with the ones next to it were in a flood plain that may have problems sooner or later.

But the house itself was pretty nice for the low price and you could see the ocean from the front windows.

But I still decided against it.

It doesn’t matter how cheap something is if you’re going to have a tough time finding someone else to buy it.

But I kind of liked the area near Salinas.

So after the sellers of the $21k house left, as I walked out sure enough I found another lot for sale on higher ground, right in front of the ocean I did like.

I called and met with the owner and he said the lot, a beautiful, flat 475 m2 (5112 ft2) lot right on the ocean… beachfront… beachfront… with no busy street in between it and the ocean while also protected by an elevated pitch, was for sale for $6k.

Why so cheap?

Because that’s where it got tricky.

It was “Comuna” land.

And all he had was a “Right of Possession” (Derecho de Posesion).

Remember those 3 key papers I told you to ask any property owner and check out before buying? The Escritura, Predios and Certificado del Registro.

Yea, he didn’t have any of that.

Let me explain. If this sounds complicated its because it is!

“Comuna” or “Communal” land in Ecuador is common on the coast of Ecuador, especially in the small towns, and its when there are lots that have not been registered in the Municipality that are instead “owned and administred” by the local Comunas which serve like Town Councils and to me are quite socialistic.

While Ecuador is divided into Provinces and each province into “Cantones” where each “Canton” has there own Municipal. Within each Canton in the more rural areas you may have several dozen local Comunas.

Comunas will often gift the land to members of the local Comuna but they can’t give out Titles (Escrituras) while instead they give something called an indefinite “Derecho de Posesion” (Right of Possession).

You probably can own for a long time without problems but remember, you are still not regarded as the legal free hold title owner of the land with only a right of possession.

And for a quick buy-resell it definitely wouldn’t work.

I researched this thoroughly 2 years back on a visit to Ecuador I considered buying a lot right in the center of Montanita which only had a right of possession from the local Comuna.

Some will tell you that you can’t legally attain the Title (Escritura) nor sell Comuna land.

They’re wrong.

I know several people who have, in Montanita. But it can be a difficult, costly (and lengthy!) process to legalize the property and attain proper Free-Hold-Title (Escritura) as recognized by the banks and everyone else in Ecuador.

You’ll need a document from the Comuna releasing the property to the Municipality which sometimes the more troublesome Comunas (like the one in Montanita) isn’t always willing to give.

Because once you have a free hold Title (A Municipal-registered Escritura) its yours and not theirs. While its still theres whenever there is a change in ownership you must do it through them having the Comuna board of directors sign off on the sale and they charge a hefty fee (usually around 20-30% of the purchase price) but few buyers tell them the honest amount they paid.

I, like most foreigners and locals in Ecuador, will advise you to only buy property that has proper title (Escritura) as described in my last email.

But as one local told me once, sometimes the price is low enough that you might want to risk it.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Easy, the Comuna could make some excuse to take the property back from you. But its not common.

What will I do?

You’ll find out soon in the next email of this series.

Stay tuned.

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Expat Lifestyle, Investor News/Analysis

Discover Ecuador: My Top 5 Day Itinerary

ecuador 5 day itinerary

If you only had 5 days in this little, but diverse country, Id recommend flying into Quito.

Once in Quito see the colonial old town, the best in Ecuador, then go up the teleferico (cable car) which has some spectacular views and a nice hiking trail.

Then be sure to go out partying in EL MARISCAL nightlife district, the TOP place to party, see and be seen in Ecuador.

After 2 days and 2 nights in Quito head south to Latacunga where you can see Quilotoa and Cotopaxi Volcano. Amazing area. 1 Day Bike tours are available from Quito.

From there continue south to Baños, a neat place to eat well and live cheap for a few days. Adventure sports like rafting, hiking and biking also abound.

After Baños Id head to Puyo 60 km away, which is at the mouth of the Amazon Jungle so at least you can get a small taste of what life is like in that region of Ecuador.

Then back 4 hrs to Quito.

Thats what Id do if I had 5 days in Ecuador.

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Posted in Ecuador Travel Guides

Ignorant vs Savvy Buyers in Ecuador. The papers. – Post 4. Property Search Series

guayaquil Guayaquil from above.

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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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Expat Lifestyle, Investor News/Analysis

My Top Ecuador 10 Day Itinerary

banos ecuador           Banos, Ecuador

For a 10 day trip to Ecuador, Id do what I recommended in the 5 day itinerary as seen below first…

First fly into Quito.

Once in Quito see the colonial old town, the best in Ecuador, then go up the teleferico (cable car) which has some spectacular views and a nice hiking trail.

Then be sure to go out partying in EL MARISCAL nightlife district.

After 2 days and 2 nights in Quito head south to Latacunga where you can see Quilotoa and Cotopaxi Volcano. Amazing area. 1 Day Bike tours are available from Quito.

From there continue south to Baños, a neat place to eat well and live cheap for a few days. Adventure sports like rafting, hiking and biking also abound.

After Baños Id head to Puyo 60 km away, which is at the mouth of the Amazon Jungle so at least you can get a small taste of what life is like in that region of Ecuador.

Then back 4 hrs to Quito.

Then…

In Quito Id fly to Manta, stay one night in Manta or head straight south 25 minutes along the coast to the kiteboarding haven of Santa Marianita.

After Santa Marianita, Id continue heading south and make quick visits to two of Ecuadors nicest beaches, Puerto Cayo and the National Park Los Frailes.

Near Los Frailes Id stay with the Indigenous community at Aguas Blancas near Puerto Lopez where you can take a small tour and see how coastal Ecuadorians live.

From there Id head to Montanita, the hippest beach in Ecuador, where you can surf all day and party all night. If you like the quiet scene instead opt to stay in nearby Olon, but be sure to eat in Montanita by day (try the Ceviche soup carts).

After Montanita Id go to Ayangue for 1 day and 1 night, the best spot on the coast to scuba.  The beach is in a small cove great for swimming.

And after that Id head to Salinas, a small resort town with a nice beach for swimming and some delicious food.  Then off 2 hrs to Guayaquil where you can fly back to Quito (45 minutes) to catch your flight home.

Be sure to visit me at Murali B/B Airport Guayaquil if you pass by Guayaquil!  Ill show you the ropes!

And for more need-to-know, useful Ecuador info for anyone interested in living or investing in Ecuador try my weekly Insiders newsletter on Ecuador, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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Posted in Ecuador Travel Guides

The Hunt Begins. How to Search for Property in Ecuador?: Part 3. Ecuador Property Search Series

search for property in Ecuador

“Get down, get down, he’ll see you!” My Ecuadorian friend gasped…

…as we both sat in a car outside a gas station waiting for the seller of a property in Ecuador I was interested in.

The seller arrived.

And we didn’t want him to see me.

You see, I wanted my local friend to do the initial negotiation for me so the seller didn’t know a foreigner was interested.

Because I’ve seen that the price can and does rise – SOMETIMES – when the locals see a foreigner is interested in their property.

But more precisely, they often get stiffer with the price and won’t be as quick to lower it cause they think the foreigner will buy anyway.

So that’s exactly what my friend did, he went inside the gas station and sat down with the owner to negotiate, while I stayed in the car.

There’s advantages and disadvantages to being a foreigner in Ecuador.

A big advantage I’ve experienced is in the business world, where you get “instant cred” and people listen to you just cause you’re a foreigner… it’s true! It also helps with the opposite sex to look different than the norm.

But a big disadvantage is that the locals think you have money, so at times, not everyone, will try to charge you more for things, and if buying property that could mean thousands.

This happens everywhere in the world to foreigners.

I lasted all of 5 minutes in Spain before I got ripped off paying about double for a taxi ride than I should have.

Luckily its not that bad in Ecuador compared to some countries I’ve been recently, like India, where many (not all) of the locals are ruthless and work together to extort as much as they can from overly-trustful foreign tourists, particularly the Japanese are the easiest to fool (I saw).

But they got me too, bast@rds!

It is what it is. It’s all part of the fun.

You gotta play the game by the rules.

And that’s what I did this week as I started my newest property search on the coast of Ecuador.

I’m looking for a great deal.

Could be a lot, a fixer-upper, we’ll see what I find.

First I hit the local paper El Universo where in the Sunday Classifieds ads for properties on the coast will often get mentioned.

Now I’ve hit the coast.

First I’m identifying where I’d like to buy, then specifically which property.

People amaze me when they say they saw nothing for sale.

Actually everything is available.

You just have to do some investigating to discover the owners.

That’s how it works down here.

And I have noticed “the spread” is getting bigger in that the range of prices people are asking is widening, with some asking ridiculously high prices, while others ask the same prices as years ago making this a good time to buy and sell in Ecuador!

But this won’t last forever, the window is closing. In nearby Colombia, Brazil and Argentina the prices are already high.

And for more helpful, useful info try my weekly newsletter on Ecuador living and investing, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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Posted in Ecuador for Investors, Expat Lifestyle, Investor News/Analysis

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