How to Buy your Residency Visa in Ecuador on the Cheap

Man, I wish someone would have told me this a year and a half ago.

Really, sometimes info is worth money.

The door to Ecuador residency really is wider open than it even seems to be.

Now, the easiest way to get a resident visa in Ecuador is to prove you have a pension of over $800/month.

But what if you don’t have a pension?

Then you have to buy your way in with an investor’s visa.

But it’s actually cheaper than advertised.

Sure, you can lock up $25k or more in a one year CD which than qualifies you if you trust Ecuador’s banks.

Or…

You can buy a property municipally valued over $25k.

Here’s where it gets interesting…

You don’t actually have to pay $25k.

Or scowl the earth in Ecuador looking for a property that is municipally valued over $25k, many properties, although worth well over $25k are municipally valued far under that.

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How Will the New Airport Effect the City of Quito?

 

The new airport scheduled to open February 20 will have profound effects on the city of Quito.

Skyscapers will now be allowed to be built higher, which could drive already high (for Ecuador) property prices downward.  The area around the current airport will probably wither on the vine, it already is a seedy area that will not get any better now that the legit airport-related businesses will be on their way out.

Many travelers whose final destination is somewhere in Ecuador other than Quito will probably opt to go through now more convenient Guayaquil or not bother to pass through the city of Quito at all scheduling their connecting flights back to back to their international arrivals.

The short Quito-Guayaquil flight is the most trafficked route in all of South America, but may not be any longer as more people will choose not to travel as often or use the bus considering the increase in travel times.

The area of the current airport will  be converted into a park, convention center and several large roads servicing the different areas of Quito.

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Banking it with Wedding Rentals in Ecuador

“They paid …how… much?” …

… I said earlier this week while visiting a wedding on a hacienda (small country home) outside of Quito.

“$1500, just for the day.” The owner of the hacienda told me.

“Damn.” I responded, “and they don’t even sleep here.”

It’s true, from my time in Ecuador I’ve noticed no matter how much or how little Ecuadorians make, they spend BIG money on three things…

Clothes.

Beer.

And weddings (Often over $10-12k).

Big money.

And weddings are a commonly overlooked rental opportunity here in Ecuador.

Where I’m at now, just outside of Quito, as I check in from my smart phone, the haciendas charge anywhere from $8-12 per person charging for a minimum of 100 people.  (That’s $800-1200 minimum daily rate for the hacienda owner.)

For even larger wedding receptions with up to 400 people, which are common in Ecuador, most haciendas will charge a flat daily rate usually around $1500-2500. I should say that the biggest reception I have ever attended was at the reception barn at Mint Springs Farm. There was around 200 people and I thought that was too many guests.

The only costs to the hacienda owner (you) are what you’ll need to pay to a guard for the day (around $20) who helps park the cars and a dry cleaning service that takes care wedding dress and suit (around $20 for the job). One place I know of in Monterey, California, called Gatherings, has just the ambiance I’m talking about. Check out some of the pictures of their Boutique Venue by Googling a unique event venue in Monterey — see the ambiance I’m talking about? There is a piano, chandeliers, two fireplaces, an outdoor deck area, antique furniture, beautiful draperies and more. You would never be able to afford decorating the local hall, hotel or restaurant banquet room to this degree — well, at least I personally couldn’t afford to. And the feeling these facilities give your guests is extra special – it’s warm, cozy, inviting and family-oriented (home-like). You can even choose between four fonts and if you’d rather have a colored or white background, if  you want to learn more about the best invitations and other wedding preparations you can visit www.modernmoh.com online. Now, a Victorian home such is Gatherings may not be your cup of tea, but all-inclusive, or Boutique, wedding reception venues are made up of many different styles from contemporary and urban to sexy and flamboyant. Just do your research in the city you plan to get married. In your browser, just type in all inclusive wedding venue in The Enchanted Valley Barn. Some of these venues take care of every little detail including photographer and florists, and others include mainly what I listed above, but I know that if you were to go and hire each of these vendors individually and add them all up, it would equal quite a bit more than the package price you will get at an All-Inclusive Wedding Reception Venue or Boutique Wedding Reception Venue. Check here learn more about wedding limousine services. Depending on the time of year, many all-inclusive wedding reception venues run promotions. You may find that for an off season date they offer a discounted rate or include a free wedding cake, an extra appetizer, or a free bartender. You can check here the list of wedding planners. Remember to ask them if the date of your wedding falls within one of these off season times that they may have some specials for. And if these venues don’t fit for your ideal wedding reception, don’t forget them as possibilities for your Rehearsal Dinner or Engagement Parties. You can check here about romantic Myrtle Beach weddings. Many of people prefer them over others.

It’s never been easier to arrange a celebration outdoors or in an unconventional venue. Nowadays, just about anything is transportable from foldaway tables to portaloos to kitchen equipment. So if you have been dreaming about hosting an anniversary, birthday celebration or wedding therein perfect location within the middle of nowhere, hesitate not . With a touch of effort and tons of investment (unfortunately, this stuff don’t come cheap… ) you’ll roll in the hay. If it is summer, you may need to server beverages cold, and probably you may also have to need a chiller for that. You’ll also have to pay for the cost of a generator installation for the day (DJs and weddings use a lot of electricity). This would all cost you alot, if you are hiring different company for arrangement. But with the help of the Chiller Rentals, you can find generator service, AC- chiller, Water Chiller all at one place.

Everything else is organized and paid for by the bride and groom or the wedding planner.

In order to rent your place like crazy, your hacienda needs to be at least 2000m2 in size and have plenty of space for the tents and have well-kept green grass.

It needs to be excellently gardened.

Have at least two outdoor bathrooms (the wedding guests won’t even use the house on your premise!)

And an attractive entry gate.

Plus have an electric generator.

And a small room with a mirror and couch where the bride and go and freshen up (like an actor’s room).

Additional extras that aren’t necessary but helpful include… a small wedding chapel, a small pool in the shape of a lake with a small bridge over it (the bride and groom will stand over it while the parents give speeches (a cheesy Ecuadorian tradition)).

In Ecuador, it’s common to get married in the church around 11am, then go to the reception around 1pm which usually lasts until about 8pm, but can go as late as 12 midnight.

Folks pay you the hacienda owner the daily rent and must leave by 12 midnight or pay extra.

Where’s best to have your hacienda for wedding rentals in Ecuador?

Keep in mind Ecuador has two main cultures.  The people on the coast live one way and the highland people have their own customs.

The same goes for weddings.

On the warmer coast, hacienda rentals is not much of an opportunity, because most folks prefer to get married in the church and have their receptions in air conditioned hotel ballrooms or on the beach with the best maintenance from dryer vent cleaning service online.

In the highlands, its common for folks to get married in the church, then go to a hacienda near the city but in the countryside for the reception.

By far, the most in demand area for hacienda wedding rentals are the valleys near Ecuadors capitol city, Quito.

Specifically the Cumbaya or Tumbaco areas.

How much is land going for in the Cumbaya area?

If you look like the locals lookin the way I describe in my full guide to housing hunting in Ecuador you can find haciendas going for around $70/m2.  Many go for more though and I’ve seen prices as high as $200/m2.

How do you promote your hacienda for wedding rentals once you have it?

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$170k, Malacatos Property for Sale

FOR SALE: 11,000m2 proprty with 3 new 1 bdrm houses. Malacatos, Ecuador-1/2 hr from Vilcabamba.Fruit trees,garden,electricity,water, irrigation, easy access.Photos avail.$170,000. Contact: Chris Campbell; clumcampbell@yahoo.com; cell-0993690627.

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25 Essential Online Tools Expats Cant Live Abroad Without

I couldn’t even dream about living abroad without the following list of (mostly free) online tools I personally use on a daily basis here in Ecuador…

1. Magic Jack App. for iPhone:  I wouldn’t suggest ever living abroad without a Magic Jack, a little apparatus you plug into your computer that not only gives you a US phone number people can reach you at (VoIP) wherever in the world you are free but also allows you to call for free to any number in the US and Canada.  Cost is a one-time fee just under $100 found in most electronic stores.  But if you have an iPhone you can download the free MAGIC JACK app and have a US number people can reach you at that you can answer from your phone, free.  You can also make calls to US numbers via the app free as well, but you need to be connected to the internet.  VERY useful when staying in touch with friends and family but also in business if you plan on selling to Americans & Canadians from abroad. 

2. Teamviewer: Teamviewer is a free software you can use to “screenshare” or share what you’re seeing on your computer with someone anywhere else in the world, for free.  You can also take control of someones computer mouse and control their computer if they give you permission through the program or give permission for them to take control of your PC.  VERY useful for online working, I used it when developing a software with a guy in India showing him detail by detail what I needed. Realtors say they can’t work properly without the real estate software (find out more from Unify CRM). 

3. Toll free forwarding:  Toll free forwarding is great for small business owners abroad who want to appear bigger than they really are by having a 1-800 number that forwards to their local number, anywhere on the globe.  Very useful. 

4. Webgistix:  If you’ve been wondering, “jeeze, I’d love to begin exporting to the US little by little but who would receive my goods, unpack them, and reship them to my final customers?” Then Webgistix is for you because they do just that!  A game-changer indeed. 

5. Virtual Post Mail: As more and more people flock to greener pastures abroad several companies like this one have begun to offer this important service to anyone living abroad.  They offer you a US address you can have things mailed to, they open your mail and scan it if you request it, or they can shred it if you request that too.   They can also forward your mail upon request to anywhere on the globe. 

6. Skype:  Skype is not a new thing but is still a must for anyone living abroad.  It’s a free way to not only make and receive calls, anywhere, but also it’s a great way to make free video conference calls with up to 12 team members at once.  Great if you live abroad and work online with a team scattered throughout the world. 

7. Pamela.biz:  Pamela is a complement plug in for Skype that allows you to record calls you make or receive via Skype.  Great for doing international business or simply recording something important. 

8. Club Correos:  I had to throw at least one tool in here that specifically helps expats IN ECUADOR.  This service is run through the Ecuador post office and once you sign up you can order stuff online in the US and have it delivered to their PO Box in Miami, once there they will forward your items to you in Ecuador.  Great if you don’t have a mother or relative in the States that can provide the same service.  Thanks mom. 

9. Vocaroo:  If you’re on my newsletter I’m sure you’ve received and sent emails.  But have you ever sent a voice email to someone?  Yes, one where they receive an email from you, open it, then listen to your message (not read it).  With vocaroo you can send free voice email messages great if you better selling verbally than via written text or also if you’d like to break up with someon from a distance but don’t know actually what to write.  “Really baby, it’s not you it’s me… “  I’ve never done this I swear.

10. Faxzero:  I know fax is a thing of the past but every once in a while you will have to send a fax maybe when applying for something or to an old timer who doesn’t use email yet, faxzero.com lets you send the fax for free online to US and Canada numbers.  For sending fax to the rest of the world I use sendfreefax.net

11. Dreaminder:  Dreamminder is great to send yourself or anyone else an email at some point in the future.  In other words, you can schedule an email.  Great for reminders but also business tasks. 

12. Gmail canned responses:  I love this one!  Canned responses for gmail is a new feature you have to activate in the LABS section of your email, but once activated you can set fixed responses you can click on and they automatically appear in your email, you can then modify the message as you need and send, no copy and paste necessary, plus you have the saved standard meesages available to you from any PC anywhere if in a jam.  Huge time-saver, I use it in all my businesses! 

13. Boomerang for gmail:  This little complement plug in for Gmail is great for doing the task I enjoy least in business… bill collection.  That’s right, when my Italian-American forefathers might grab a baseball bat to collect an outstanding debt, I use Boomerang with Gmail, a simple app that lets you send a recurring email, once every day to a certain recipient until you decide to cancel it (once they’ve paid).  Its also great for cyber-stocking that special someone. 

14. Drop box:  Yes, I have actually spilled a wine glass clear across the keyboard of my lap top.  My lap top survived but if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have cried for the machine, but for the info I would have lost.  Now, with a free service like DropBox you can automatically back up important files you’d like to back up securely online. That way you have access to them from anywhere and can download them in the case of a PC crash.  Useful if traveling a lot and living abroad. 

15. Wetransfer:  Sometimes when living and working abroad you will need to send a file that is TOO BIG to attach normally to an email.  In those cases, I use WeTransfer, the free service works great for file transfers.  Important when working online or from abroad. 

Breaking the language barrier-
16. Google translator:  Still the most accurate tool online to quickly translate sentences or paragraphs of text from one of dozens of different languages. 

17. http://www.verbix.com/languages:  Anyone who has studying languages knows the backbone to any language is VERBS.  This handy tool online will give you the full verb conjugations of any verb in several dozen different languages. 

18. Forvo:  Is a great online dictionary of PRONOUNCED WORDS.  Just search the word and listen to the pronunciation.  Very handy. 

19. Wordreference.com:  When the word is so technical that Google Translator fails you, I use WordReference, similar to one of those fat Webster dictionaries but available for free online, works with English to French and Spanish.

20. livemocha.com:  A great, free program for studying languages online and having pen pals in forwign countries that help you along the way. 

21. Google Chrome:  The official free internet browser of Google that allows you to automatically translate entire websites in foreign languages to the language of your choice.  You may have to activate this feature in the settings.

22. Google alerts:  Are you a news junky?  Or just want to stay informed on a specific topic while abroad?  Then sign up for a free Google alert.  Every time your topic of interest is mentioned somewhere online Google will email you the exact link so you can check it out.  For instance, a lot of people use it to monitor the rep of their business name. 

23. timeanddate.com/worldclock:  When living abroad it’s great to know the time of another point in the world almost instantly, great tool.  Specifically good for when you’d like to watch sporting events in your home country and need to know when you need to tune in. 

24. XE.com:  Great free online tool updated every few minutes that allows you to convert any currency to any other instantly.  Important when living or doing business abroad. 

25. USTVNOW  / FirstRowSports.eu:  First Row Sports is a free service that streams live sporting events from around the world, don’t miss your favorite sporting events just cause you live in a country that lives and dies the mindless sport of soccer.  USTVNOW is great for watching live American TV shows online. 

Can you tell I’ve lived abroad a while now? 

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