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How To Buy Real Estate in Ecuador

City Street in the Mountain Town of Cotacachi

In addition to the opportunity to purchase affordable real estate in a spectacularily beautiful country – buying your new Ecuadorian home or investment property can give you the option of a new lifelong adventure i.e. living in Ecuador full-time as a legal resident. Want an idea of what expat life may be like? Blogs About Ecuador

If you purchase property for $25,000 USD or more you are considered an investor in the country and will automatically be granted a Residency Visa after completing the required paperwork.

Living in Ecuador – Visas & Fees

Buying property is easy in Ecuador. A real estate transaction can be completed from start to finish in less than a month. The main problem you will have difficulties with is deciding what area of the country to live in!

Beachfront Promenade - Bahía de Caráquez

Popular locations to relocate to in addition to the capital city San Francisco de Quito include: Cuenca (third largest city in Ecuador, colonial beauty); Cotacachi (mountain village 2 hours from Quito), Bahía de Caráquez (hub for nearby beach towns such as Canoa), Vilcabamba (hippie-roost, famous for longevity studies) and Montanita (surfer hang-out).

Basic Steps To Buying Property in Ecuador

  1. Travel to and research locations throughout the country carefully. Similar to searching for property in the U.S., Canada or UK – is a bungalow by the beach going to fulfill your need for year-round entertainment and activities? Or would you be happier settling in a larger city and taking weekend excursions to beach areas and small towns in Ecuador?
  2. Search for property in your chosen location a variety of ways. Want an idea of what is available in Cuenca and at what price? Click here to view listings on Cuenca Properties.com. Want to buy land in the beach town Canoa? It may be best to visit awhile and make friends with some of the local expats and Ecuadorians to find out what is available. Many properties throughout Ecuador are not formally listed but the owner is interested in selling.
  3. Mirrored Lakes at Cajas National Park - Located Near Cuenca

  4. Hire an Ecuadorian professional - abogado (attorney) or escribano (public notary) or both to assist with the real estate transaction. This goes triple if you are not fluent in Spanish.
  5. Once you have found a piece of land, apartment or home perform a title search – “Certificado De Gravamenes” – to make sure it is free of any liens. Also ask for copies of the seller´s Cedula (ID) to verify the person selling actually owns the property.

    Documents requested by your attorney or notary public will most likely include a Certificado De Registro De Propiedad Actualizado (confirms property is correctly registered with the local government) and Certificado Del Historial De La Propiedad (history of all transactions dealing with the property).

  6. Typical Ecuadorian Neighborhood on the Outskirts of Quito

  7. Unless you are paying the full-amount of the sale price to the seller immediately – your abogado (attorney) or escribano will draw up a Promesa de Compraventa – or promissory note. The document will be signed by both buyer and seller (in the presence of a notary) and outline conditions of the sale including purchase price, when the transaction will be completed and penalties for default.
  8. Make a down payment if that was agreed-upon (normally around 10% of the purchase price).
  9. Your attorney will then arrange for the necessary tax payments and register your property at the land registry.


What are the fees for a real estate transaction?

Abogado (attorney) – as agreed-upon, commonly around $250 USD
Compraventa (purchase agreement) - approximately $30 USD
Annual Property Tax – approximately 1.5 % listed value of the property.
Escribano (notary public) - approximately $350 USD
Registering the Property – $350 USD.

Thinking of moving to Ecuador? Get your FREE Living in Ecuador Guide

More Articles You May Like:
How To Buy Real Estate in Argentina
How To Buy Real Estate in Uruguay
Travel in Bolivia & Peru – Lake Titicaca

8 to “How To Buy Real Estate in Ecuador”


  1. carol says:

    Can i get a guide to ntake us round to look at property

  2. Lillian says:

    We have found the best way to find reasonably priced real estate is to find a taxi driver that is recommended by the local expats (that means is trusted). They know everything about the area and can tell you what to stay away from and what is a good deal. They don’t have any financial interests in the properties or receive a commission, so their advice is usually straight facts. We find that the developers and realtors only want to sell high end (overpriced) properties at Gringo prices.

  3. Jeffrey raymond says:

    You are leaving out an important detail about the 25 grand property to be a resident. That is the municipal appraised value of 25 grand not your purchase price. Currently figure on paying at least 50 grand for a place market rate. If you are paying much more than double the municipal value then they are most likely charging you a gringo price.

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Excellent info, thanks for taking the time to post! Anyone interested in property in Ecuador should be aware of that point.

    • nicoz says:

      hey jeffrey, hey molly!
      i’m in montanita and about to spend 80k for a property.i don’t really understand this 25k limit rule.if i want to pay the full 80k amount straight to the owner (with lawyer and notary of course) do i have to pay some 25k “extras” on the top?
      many thanks for your answers.best regards.
      nicolas

      • Molly McHugh says:

        Hi Nicolas! I am actually concerned about you based on your comment! PLEASE find an attorney in your area to help you process this transaction, as it seems you are not versed in some basic issues and I would hate to see a local Ecuadorian land owner take advantage of that and screw you over on a property sale. Yes, that does happen.

        The ‘automatic residency if I invest’ rule fully covers you! It is for sales of 25k or more (last I heard) so please get legal advice (so the property is being registered correctly) before you finalize this sale, hand over any cash. best of luck, Molly


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