Steps In The Purchase Process
For the purchase of existing land, houses or condos (apartments), the first step is to establish a Purchase Agreement between the Seller and the Buyer, which will include all of the agreed to terms, including the purchase price. The Agreement must be signed by both parties and Notarized, and is legally binding. The signing of this Agreement may be accompanied by the buyer paying approximately 10% of the purchase price in earnest money.
In the case of purchasing a home or apartment that has not yet broken ground, or is in the process of construction, the Purchase Agreement may also include agreed-to dates for progress payments to be made by the Buyer to the Seller, up to and including the final payment at the satisfaction of the Buyer and the receipt of the keys.
Once the Purchase Agreement is complete, and the due diligence is performed to the satisfaction of the Buyer, a Final Deed will be signed and Notarized, and registered at the local Municipal Property Registry. The Title to the property (called the “Escritura”) will be received by the Buyer after the Registration and filing process is complete.
Length Of The Purchase Process
Your patience will be a virtue as you move through the Purchase Process, and while it is certainly achievable to complete the process within a matter of days, a prudent and thorough approach is always advisable. A good estimate for the time involved would be 45 to 60 days to complete the process on an existing property.
Moving Money Into Ecuador
Although it may be desirable to do so at any point along the Purchase Process, it is not necessary to open a Bank or Coop account in order to buy property. Your attorney may recommend that you transfer your funds into their account to be held in Escrow for payment upon the signing of the relevant Agreements, or you may be advised to write a check directly from your home country bank (which may take up to 3 weeks to clear), or send the funds via wire transfer to the Seller. If you do not intend to live in your property right away, it could make sense for you to establish a local Bank or Coop account with which you would pay for utilities (electric, water, internet, cable) until you arrive. The same is true if your property is being purchased for rental to others, and it is quite common to hire an individual facilitator to perform these services on your behalf, in your absence.
The Buyer is responsible for the closing costs, which will include 1.01% of the assesed value is the transfer tax only.
The notary’s fee is calculated according to a table and the same for the registration fee.
Only the Seller is responsible for the Real Estate Agent’s fee, which is 3% for your Cuenca’s Best Real Estate agent. The Seller would also be responsible to pay taxes for any capital gains earned on the sale of his/her property.
You need to be prepared to spend about 1.5% to 2% of the price stated in the contract of Purchase and Sale for closing costs.
If you sign a notarized promise to purchase, you will need to pay for its legalization wich will be calculated according to a table.
You will also want to hire an attorney, and should plan on spending an average of $750 for their services, which should include the title search, the Purchase Agreement and the Deed in both Spanish and English.
Property taxes in Ecuador have been traditionally much lower than what you may typically pay in your home country, normally in the range of $25 to a few hundred dollars per year, and are payable in person at the local Municipal office. Property taxes are assessed on the first business day of the year.
Property purchases for an individual consumer are normally made entirely with cash. In rare cases, an owner or a builder may agree to help with some financing, however, these are rare cases and should not be relied upon. It is best to have your budget established in advance, along with easy access to the cash necessary to complete your purchase.
Who pays your Cuenca’s Best Real Estate Agent?
The Seller pays your Real Estate Agent fee of 3%.
Legal Considerations and Referrals
Whether, buying, selling or renting, we can arrange introductions to qualified, English speaking attorneys who can step you through the process for a reasonable fee.
At Cuenca Best Real Estate, we serve as transactional agents who introduce buyers to sellers and help them to agree on price and terms. Our commissions are paid by the seller, not the buyer. We charge the seller Ecuador’s standard commission which is 3% of the final negotiated sales price.
Real Estate Tours
Whether you are looking to rent or buy in Cuenca, it’s surrounding towns, or the countryside, we can provide our standard tours or we can create custom tours tailored specifically to your needs. Along the way, learn about the history and culture of the areas we are exploring, and meet other expats who live where you may also consider living. We are reasonably priced by the hour for these tours….ask us!
Immigration and Visas
There are many steps and many options for you to consider when moving forward with your Residency (or other) Visas. We recommend you ask us for introductions to the wide variety of options and services available. Our goal is to help provide you with all the information needed, so that you can make an informed choice as to which type of service and which type of Visa will best suit your goals.
Moving Company Considerations and Referrals
We regularly refer our clients to locally based, experienced shipping companies and movers. We will make the introductions so that you can decide which option best meets your expectations and requirements.
If building your dream home is your goal, let our team of architects and engineers create your vision.
Design (Architectural Design, Renovation and Interiors)
With so many options to choose from, let us introduce you to a variety of experts in their fields, which allows you to make an informed decision on what will best meet your needs and budget.
Spanish Lessons and Translation
We highly recommend that you begin learning a bit of Spanish before you arrive. Check your local resources such as community colleges and night classes, or choose to invest in any of the many varied and wonderful Spanish language programs such as Rosetta Stone or Pimlers.
NEW! Spanish and Ecuadorian Culture Lessons…in the comfort of your home NOW!
For an interesting fun, and convenient, approach please contact us for our Skype-taught Spanish courses and get started immediately! Our instructors enjoy teaching FROM AN “INSIDER’S PERSPECTIVE” and can provide valuable insight into the Ecuadorian culture.
For those needing translation services before, during or after your real estate transactions, we have highly qualified people and other services to recommend. Please also note that the documents required for your Visa will need to be translated by a qualified professional here in Ecuador. We are here to help!
Furniture (Packages and Design/Construction)
We are happy to recommend any number of Interior Designers and Contractors for your consideration.
Utilities Set Up and Maintained
We are happy to refer you to a number of qualified, and experienced local managers who can set up your electric, gas, internet and water services, and arrange to have your bills paid automatically through your Bank or Coop, or by paying cash in person each month.
If you have not yet arrived in Ecuador, we recommend a face-to-face call via Skype at kathy.gonzalez2
Please have your list of questions ready and be prepared to talk for approximately an hour. We will look forward to meeting you!
We can also recommend airline, and travel route options and Homestay Programs, Hotels and other options while you pursue your real estate goals.
Let us personally meet you upon your arrival by air or by land, and warmly welcome you to Ecuador!