What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
Wish I'd Brought
My furniture - harder than expected to find a furnished apartment
Personal care products - expensive here
Everyone's phone number and email address - tough to make friends here as the "upper class" society is pretty closed
Wish I'd left home:
Warm clothes - 90-95 on cool days here, although the sweaters come in handy when I go to Quito
DVD's - pirated movies are big business here
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Get a realtor. Look around a lot. Start and finish with Sanborondon if your budget allows. Venture out to Los Ceibos and Via la Costa if the distance from the "fun areas" of Guayaquil isn't an issue. Talk to other expats (if you can find them).
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
I live in an apartment within an 8 unit building (tower) within a gated community of about 20 towers. Ideal mix of privacy and neighborly acquaintances. I don't know what the house/apt mix is, but I would imagine expat families with kids go for houses (in Sanborondon, Los Ceibos, or Via la Costa) and expat singles and couples go for apts. The houses in Sanborondon are usually huge, expensive, and not many to rent.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
Fortunately, my company hired a relocation firm. Sanborondon is the upper class, safe, and happening nearby suburb of Guayaquil. It was almost a given that I would live there as an expat with Company-provided housing. The Company also hired a realtor for us who helped with our search options (furnished, gated community, 3 bdrms, spacious, pool). Newspaper ads weren't very helpful at all. Word of mouth or realtors are the way to go.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
I am originally from New york City. NYC is expensive but you get little space. Economically, would say the same, but I have much more space both in and outside of the apt. The company pays $2200 monthly plus about $75 in utilities for a 3 bdroom (plus housekeepers room), 5 bath furnished apt. The community has ample green areas, soccer field, tennis court, several bbq grills and villas, basketball court, an adult and kiddie pool, and a ballroom for gatherings. The only thing missing is a gym. Average for Sanborongon is about $1300/month. Urdessa, Ceibos go for about $900, but not as nice.