When you want to buy an Ecuador real estate property, you may want to know the common issues that you will encounter along the way. The thing about buying a property overseas is that you will be dealing with a different set of rules that are based on a culture that is totally new to you. It pays to educate yourself about every issue so you will not be caught unaware. It will also allow you to make smarter decisions about your real estate investment.
Important real estate issues you may want to be aware of
Being in a different country means you have to abide by a different set of real estate practices. In some ways, buying an Ecuador real estate property is similar to that in the US and in Canada. But there are also some differences. Here are some issues that we have found to be common for foreigners buying a home in this country.
- The language can be a huge barrier in negotiations. Although English is a spoken language in Ecuador, it is still relatively easier to negotiate in the language of the locals. That being said, it is a must for you to get everything in writing. There might be some issues in the house that the seller does not think is important but to you, it is a deal breaker.
Licensing is a must but some agents merely rely on the license of the company they are working with. Only freelance real estate agents have their own licenses. So make sure that if you will work with an agent that shows you a license of a real estate company, verify that they are duly authorized. A simple phone call is all it takes – or you can visit their office if you have the time.
There is no MLS in Ecuador. So if you are doing your search online, it will be difficult to verify the properties for sale. It is still best to be physically in the country to do you search.
Water is also an important issue that you have to discuss with the seller. Make sure you are satisfied with where the water is coming from. In some homes, they have a catchment tank that will old rainwater for your consumption.
Check all the systems – water, electric, or septic tank – make sure the seller can verify that all of these are in good working condition.
When buying in a community that has yet to be completely developed, make sure that you get a documented assurance that the infrastructure will be completed as discussed by the seller or real estate agent.
Do not forget the amenities and establishments that needs to be accessible from your home. These include grocery stores, hospitals, worship places, shopping areas, etc. You may find a very good home but if it takes more than an hour to reach the hospital, that can be a problem when an emergency happens.
It is very important for you to verify everything that is being said to you. And most of all, you want to put everything in writing so you are protected.
Legal concerns when buying a home in Ecuador
Buying an Ecuador real estate property is oftentimes considered a straightforward process. But nevertheless, you want to make sure that you understand the real estate laws that can affect the buying process. Here are some specific legal issues that you need to familiarize yourself with.
A title search is one of the most important things that you need to do. This will help assure that the seller is authorized to sell off the property to you.
When buying a pre-owned home, a title search is all the more important. Be careful to check for any heirs that could claim the property once the previous owner passes away. You should also check that no ex-spouse will be filing a claim on the Ecuador real estate that you just purchased.
Check for any unpaid mortgage loans, property taxes, utility bills and other government taxes. All of these have to be current – at least for the dates before the transfer of the property to you. Make sure the seller has all the necessary documents to prove that and do not forget to verify everything.
When buying a property that is pre-selling (meaning it is still under construction), get a document that lists everything that has to be completed before being turned over to you. Until that property is completed, you will not receive the title of ownership yet. The document that you have to get here is an agreement to purchase and sell first. Once you have it, notarize the document.
Make sure that any big deposits that will be asked from you involves a legal professional (a.k.a. lawyer) for protection.
Get help from a real estate lawyer in Ecuador to assist you in investigating the title and transfer of ownership. It can be tedious and lawyer usually have easier access to resources.
Remember that if there is anything dubious or unclear about the whole transaction, do not be afraid to walk away. Consult a professional that is reputed to be reliable and trustworthy. Take your time in making a decision so you will not feel cheated out of the Ecuador real estate that you purchased. That way, you will not miss out on the great lifestyle that expats have in this country.
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