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Montanita, Ecuador

Real Estate in Ecuador

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 04, 2023

Summary: An expat should search for a home to buy in Ecuador by researching the local real estate market and consulting with a local real estate agent. It is important to consider the location, size, and price of the property. Additionally, it is important to research the local laws and regulations regarding foreign ownership of property in Ecuador. Foreigners are allowed to own property in Ecuador, but there are certain restrictions. For example, foreigners are not allowed to own property within 50 kilometers of the border. Additionally, foreigners are not allowed to own property in certain areas, such as military zones or national parks. Houses in Ecuador typically include basic amenities such as running water, electricity, and sewage. Many homes also include air conditioning, internet access, and security systems. Additionally, many homes in Ecuador have access to public transportation, shopping centers, and other amenities.

How do I find a place to live in Ecuador?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"We came to Ecuador 4 times and fell in love with Salinas. We had a realtor help us find our new condo," explained one expat living in Salinas, Ecuador.

"Because my Spanish was limited when I arrived I found someone who had helped people in her church find an apartment. We looked at many. Some were terrible and some were ok and by the seventh day, I found the perfect place. She was most helpful and she kept telling me to speak Spanish which was not really easy but I did it anyway," said another person in Cuenca.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Ecuador?

"My wife and I came to Ecuador this summer, we live in a 2 bedroom apartment in Loja, Ecuador. Our building has 4 units of which 3 are occupied. We have many of the comforts of a first world country except a dishwasher, oven, elevator. We don't need or have a/c. We are 10 to 15 minutes walk to downtown and have stores, bakeries and a great market in easy walking distance. And saving the best for last we have an exquisite view of mountains all around us and great, responsive, caring landlord's. Who could ask for more?," remarked another member in Ecuador.

"If you really want to experience and love Ecuador - or any other foreign - don't make the mistake that too many ex-pats do by surrounding themselves with other ex-pats in an all-ex-pat gated community. Why move to a foreign country only to surround yourself with English-speaking gringos who sit around all day complaining about how everything was "so much better back home"?," explained one expat living in Ecuador.

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What is the average cost of housing in Ecuador?

If you are thinking about moving to Ecuador, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"You don't need a car in Cuenca because there is a tram, buses, and taxis that are very inexpensive, especially for seniors. That is a big savings just for gas, insurance and maintenance. In Cuenca, you do not need AC or heat. A little portable heater at breakfast will suffice. The water is very cheap, $8-$10/mo. Some may try to give you tourist prices on rent or buying. Shop around.. There are some very reasonable prices. Plus, the interest rates for 1 year cd's so much better than US! Enjoy," explained one expat living in Ecuador.

"They are much lower. The average cost is hard to say because the range is so broad depending on what you want. I will say the property taxes are 1% of the purchase price per year," said another person in Salinas.

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Should I buy or rent a home in Ecuador?

If you have not spent a lot of time in Ecuador, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"Do not buy anything until you've lived in this country for at least 6 months! And preferably for over 1 year. Rent a house, an apartment, a condo first! Get to know the ENTIRE country. Travel, learn the language, get acclimatized, absorb the culture, and make friends ( both gringos and Ecuadorians ) ... then decide what place really fits you best and where you want to make your home. By then you'll have built up contacts, and learned the real prices ( not the tourist/gringo ones ), Then, and only then, should you consider buying. Once the rose-colored glasses have come off, you can make a sensible and informed decision about purchasing and possible investment. Don't buy a pig in a polk, as they say. Take your time. You'll be glad you did. ¬°Bienvenida y buena suerte," added another expat who made the move to Ecuador.

"Lots of rental and for sale properties everywhere. I rent an apartment. In smaller towns like mine people don't even sign any rental agreements and it is convenient to rent from month to month," explained one foreigner living in Vilcabamba, Ecuador.

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What do I need to know when buying property in Ecuador?

When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Ecuador, they said:

"Try staying in an equivalent type structure you are considering. For example, if you want a condo in Bahia, stay at a condo in Bahia for a week, Minimum. A house in Cuenca? Rent one for a week. If you think the weekly rental price is too expensive, you'd better take a hard look at investing 75 to 100 times more than that. So, in actually, it pays to do it," remarked another foreigner who made the move to Ecuador.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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