How I got approved for a home loan in Ecuador being a foreigner

If you’ve ever been to Ecuador, you know, as a new arrival often on a tourist visa it is almost impossible to so much as get a bank account open in Ecuador, let alone get approved for a home loan.

Once you have your residency visa and cedula (ID card) it is easy to open bank accounts, but getting approved for a mortgage still is difficult.

But there is a way.

I just got approved. And I as well am a new arrival expat (4 years ago) in Ecuador from the USA with no credit history in Ecuador.

Here’s what I would do to get approved as a foreigner…

1. Forget the big banks in Ecuador and focus on the credit unions or COOPERAS like JEP or Mutualista Pichincha. Open an account there and better yet leave a substantial CD of $20-30,000. 3-6 month term is fine. Both of the institutions listed above are insured on deposits up to $32k, I wouldn’t deposit much more than that.

2. Open an account as well and have any steady income you receive deposited directly there for a few months (preferibly at least 6).

3. Make friends with the banker at your nearest branch, maybe buy a few bank products from them, and maybe help them sign up a few other people, try to show them (albeit maybe not true) you are a “high-roller” type with cash and connections to boot although new to Ecuador.

4. On one of your bank visits while chatting up your new banker friend mention to her a great property deal you saw and that you were wondering on the possibility of a home loan. Chances are if you’ve built up rapport and shown that you have a little bit of money (by investing in a CD in their bank) or a steady income through monthly deposits they’ll ignore the regular requirements like showing tax statements of proof of Ecuador income or mandatory time in country and approve you for the loan. Your banker friend will often help push the application through her boss.

This is the exact albeit unsophisticated process I used to get approved for an up-to $70,000 home loan in Ecuador in 2017 with one of the above-mentioned institutions.

The next immediate step after you’ve been approved is they will send an appraiser to check out the property you are interested in, and from that will be able to loan up to 70% of the purchase price usually over a 10-15 year term. Oh yea, but did I mention mortgages aren’t cheap in Ecuador at 10.5% annual interest.

The challenge for me now is to find a property that can generate a POSITIVE CASH FLOW that puts money in my pocket each month above and beyond what I have to pay to the bank each month even at that expensive interest rate. Possible? You bet! Stay tuned.

Shopping time!

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

Fill in below to sign up now (you can unsubscribe at any time):

7 businesses I would put in Canoa, Ecuador right now

Disaster breeds opportunity.

The ying and the yang, there is a positive side to everything if you look for it.

This fact has became particularly clear to me since I started investing in currencies online (more on that soon).

But particularly since the earthquake last April, here are 7 businesses I personally would consider putting in Canoa (if I had the time to do so).

1. Rentals- So I’ve heard from sources on the ground, since the quake acceptable American-quality rentals are few and far between.

2. ATM- Everyone I know who lives in Canoa complains there is no ATM, solve this problem somehow and you will be rewarded.

3. Coffee shop- A good one with inside and outside tables, right on the ocean, with WiFi and good pastries, yea, I’d like to see something like that here (think Sweet and Coffee).

4. Liquor store- with ample selection of both foreign and local liquors and wine plus a whole bunch of other hard-to-find edible goodies like thai curry powder, Heinz ketchup, etc.

5. Late night street food, but something different (like a taco bus)– Right now the late night options are limited to average hamburgers on the street, shwarma (kebab), and pizza (moan).  How about a taco stand or pita pit, that’s what I’d put.  Add hot dogs and you can appeal to the local crowds too!

6. Chinese food (Chifa)- According to sources, no Chinese in town currently, could be a big hit with both locals and foreigners.

7. Bathrooms/showers on the beach- Especially since the quake pretty much non-existent.  Def. a need.

So, what are you waiting for? Give it a go!

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

Fill in below to sign up now (you can unsubscribe at any time):

Earthquake rebuild update from Canoa, Ecuador

This week I had the pleasure to chat with a friend that has lived since June of last year in Canoa, Danial Turner (not a property owner there).

He said he’s noticed a lot of changes in the picturesque town of Canoa, Ecuador on the north Ecuadorian coast which happens to be one of the hardest hit towns by last years April quake.

Hard to get an official count, but many agree about 30-40% or more of the town’s buildings came down.

According to Danial, he said Canoa is rebounding nicely, with a lot of vacant lots where buildings/houses used to be.

No more tent cities now as was the case when he arrived in June of last year.

He said the enormous government project which was going to occupy a whole city block on the beach has now been nixed. (Thank God.)

He said basic services are now fine, electric and water outages are rare, and the town even has city sewage treatment, a service most places on the Ecuador coast lack (they use septic tanks).

Carnival last weekend, normally a holiday weekend that produces a packed house for the town, was underwelming but not bad.

Many businesses have re-opened like the Surf Shack, an expat mainstay, where they have gringo nights on Tuesdays and he himself cooks on Thursdays (Danial is a retired world-class chef).

Friday night try the Suki bar where they have a new cook from England who is doing a great job.

He said there is a big new grocery store in town doing well also.

And that many of the condos owned by expats to the south of town have been repaired and are occupied once again.

He said security is not an issue as a big gringo he has not had any incidents and that the waves are still as good as ever!

He said tourists and expats have started to trickle back but still not coming in the numbers they were before the quake.

Big, new construction projects are still generally non-existent. Sounds like the big money is still spooked.

So next time you’re in the area give Canoa (one of my favs) a shot! You’ll be glad you did.

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

Fill in below to sign up now (you can unsubscribe at any time):