13 truths no one told you about Ecuador Real Estate

Ok, so you just decided to look into buying Ecuador real estate. Who’s the first people you meet? People selling Ecuador property.

I’ve been there.

They’re not going to tell you what I’m going to tell you today. Its normal, they’re trying to sell.

Fact is while it can be rewarding (and profitable) to buy Ecuador property, often its not. Here’s some truths about buying in Ecuador…

1. Its hard as hell to sell.  In a cash economy, properties, especially higher priced ones, can often be for sale months or years without moving.
2. It often doesn’t make sense to buy when you can rent.  In some places, I’m looking at you Cuenca, purchase prices can be completely out of whack high while rents are ridiculously low, so why buy?
3. Most finished buildings or homes you may look to purchase were never inspected, there are no building codes, and what you buy would probably not stand a 2.0 quake let alone a 7.0.
4. Most larger lots are not measured properly on the deed and you will probably have border disputes with neighbors.
5. While sexy and sometimes cheap to buy on a remote beach, if you do have access to basic services like water or electric they will be spotty at best. Internet is not a given.  Sewage would be a luxury.
6. If you try to manage a home build from a distance you will be taken to the cleaners. You’ve got to be present in Ecuador.
7. Most large developers will sell you promises in gated communities they do not plan to keep.  Buy what you can see.
8. If you buy a stand-alone house it will probably get robbed multiple times once it is furnished. Often, its better to buy in gated community.
9. If you buy a condo chances are the building will go to shit because many fellow condo owners will not pay their dues on time.  Closely assess common areas before you buy.
10. Renting a property long-term as the landlord is not smart because the laws heavily favor the tenants and rental returns are generally cheap (not worth the hassle). I think renting to short-stay guests is better-easier-more profitable-less risky.
11. You as a foreigner (gringo) are more likely to get scammed by another gringo than an Ecuadorian when buying property in Ecuador. Sorry, let the cat out of the bag on this one.  Don’t trust someone just because they are from your home country (not good enough).
12. If you don’t speak at least conversational Spanish you probably should not buy Ecuador property.  What if a light fixture breaks?  You don’t even know the word for it in Spanish, I don’t know how some people do it.  When you rent you have the landlord to fall back on.

13. Noise will happen.  Zoning laws suck and a disco could be put in the house next to you and there’s not much you could do about it. Best case scenario is there is just (one) annoying barking dog next door (all night).  Easier to just move when renting.

Oh yea, and did I mention any money you bring to Ecuador will get taxed 5% when you try to take it out of the country again?  Things to know.

So, should you buy in Ecuador?

I have, and I’ve done just fine, but you should go in at least know the truth about what you’re getting into.