Buying real estate in Ecuador is often considered simple by international standards. However, keep in mind that this could implicate difficulty in clearing the proper title of the property and arranging all the final documents.
Attorneys and Real Estate Agents
You should get an attorney to purchase property in Ecuador; they should be fluent in Spanish. All documents will be in Spanish. Your attorney will prepare the legal documents for you to sign. Your attorney is also responsible for researching the property title, making tax payments, and registering the property with the Office of Land Registry after everything has been executed.
You will also have to deal with a notary public. You must sign final legal documents at the office of the notary. A notary in Ecuador is a fully trained attorney, like in much of Latin America.
There are no multiple listing services in Ecuador. Real estate agents work independently from one another. Many are unlicensed, and there are no legal consequences for this. Very few properties for sale have a “for sale” sign, and most people don’t have their properties listed with agents. People can back out of agreements with agents without any legal consequences. Most properties for sale are by the owners, and you’ll have to hear about them by word of mouth. It’s a good idea to have an attorney to investigate a property if you find out about one unofficially.
Rules, Regulations and Restrictions
Before signing any legal documents, you should complete all inspections of your prospective property. It is very difficult to get any deposits back after you sign a document, even if the reasons are legitimate.
Keep in mind that not everything in Ecuador is solid and official. Real estate prices could fluctuate daily.
First, you should decide on a property, and then make an offer. After you make an offer, your attorney is then responsible for preparing a Promesa de Compra-Venta, which is a legal document for a promise to buy. This document outlines the price of the property, the closing dates and any penalties. You will usually then have to pay 10% of your purchase after you sign this document.
After both parties have signed and there are no further complications, the Promesa de Compra-Venta can be dismissed, and replaced by the Compra-Venta, the proper closing document. This document is signed at a notary’s office and any outstanding money is then paid to the seller. You will also have to pay notary fees.
After the Compra-Venta is signed, your attorney must then take care of some bureaucratic processes. They will perform research and registration to put the property in your name. They will also present two notarized copies of the final Compra-Venta to the Office of Land Registry. The Office will keep a copy, and then you will receive the other copy, which counts as the official deed. You’ll have to pay some closing costs, which is usually around 1.5% of the purchase price.