Moving to Ecuador? Read this.

I don’t particularly enjoy writing blogs. Fortunately my business partner Jesse takes on the bulk of that aspect of the business so I can focus on the things that are more up my alley. I often bump up against feeling that I am just rehashing topics I have already covered.

My distaste for blogging came up in recent conversation with a cousin of mine during a trip we took to Peru. He has over 20 years of sales experience and he mentioned something that really resonated, “just because you’ve said something doesn’t mean people have heard it”.

He continued, “Maybe you have not communicated as often or effectively as you think. Moving to a new country where you don’t know anyone or speak the language is a big step, seek out a way to shine a light on that.”

To that end I thought I would share our story and how we came to found Abundant Living Ecuador in hopes of shedding some light on what it means to purchase property in Ecuador.

Starting a real estate company was never the plan. We came to Ecuador to do a large-scale development project.

With its incredible climate, abundance of arable land and water and some of the best infrastructure in Latin America, we saw Ecuador as an ideal place for our plans.

And we are not alone – with the rising cost of living, more stringent and wide reaching tax policies, proliferation of GMO foods and host of other issues so prevalent in the western world – a growing number of people, particularly from the US are looking to relocate to countries across South and Central America.

Our parameters when looking at relocation options included; a year round growing season, lack of population density, safety, great infrastructure and a safe distance from oceans, large fault lines, active volcanoes and nuclear energy facilities. We found no better match than southern Ecuador – specifically Loja Province.

Shortly after arriving, our search for the perfect property began. During this yearlong process we went through the gamut of the property evaluation, due diligence, negotiation and purchase processes.

Something we came up against which is still relevant is that digital, centrally based real estate listings are relatively new to Ecuador. Although adoption of services such as MLS are increasing, the vast majority of inventory on the market is for sale by owner and often through word of mouth.

As a result, finding properties that meet your criteria in anything resembling an efficient manner is a challenge.

In addition, understanding what you’re looking at, how to assess a property’s characteristics in the way it is done locally can be confusing without having experience – the parameters are very different from how we were used to evaluating real estate in the states.

Some examples might be, amount of flat land, how is the soil for building or cultivation, is the earth shifting in that area, what is the water source, do you have a secure water source during dry season, is the water source at the top of the property allowing you to make full use of it without the need for pumps, what is access like and so much more.

Once you zero in on a property of interest, price evaluation can also be an issue. Given that there is no place to view comparables, developing a reference point for valuation can be difficult.

Once you have identified a property you are considering purchasing the due diligence process can’t be underestimated. With no Title Insurance, buyers assume 100% of the financial risk of a purchase.

Doing this research, potentially in a second language and without having a network of professional contacts can lead to stress and errors.