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Ecuador’s Coastal Market

Where To Buy On Ecuador’s Coast

“MLS? We don’t got no stinkin’ MLS!” Mike Sager reminded the group in Ecuador last week. “But we should…

“It’s the Wild West out here,” he continued. “I get listings by going up and down streets, taking pictures of ‘For Sale’ signs, then having an assistant call the numbers for details and pricing.

“A property transaction can be like a Mexican stand-off. I’ve actually seen guns on the table during closings. That’s extreme, but you don’t want to make the final exchange until you are absolutely sure everything has been done as you expected and wanted.

“Finally, we do now, finally, have escrow in this market, handled through fiduciaries. You can earn 6% interest on your money in escrow.

“The coastal property market, where I’m focused, like all property markets in Ecuador, is all over the place, from cute and quaint to fantastic; from modest to marvelous. You could choose a small detached house near the beach or a mansion in Playas. There are condos, built homes for resale, and lots.

“If you want something like what you’re used to in U.S. coastal markets, Samborondon is for you. This is the Beverly Hills of Ecuador’s coast, with all the U.S.-like amenities you might want. Price range here is US$200,000 for a home to US$2 million for something akin to a mansion.

“Plaza Lagos is for golfers. Golf course homes here about 30 minutes from Guayaquil start at US$259,000. You’ll have the courses to yourself during the week; they’re really only ever used on weekends.

“Playas is this coast’s hidden gem. Used to be the poor man’s beach. It’s nearest to Guayaquil, the sunniest beach for sure, wide and sandy, with no rocks. It’s also extensive, 14 or 15 kilometers in length, meaning plenty of room to get away from the crowds. By comparison, the ‘resort beach’ of Salinas is much narrower and only a kilometer long. It gets crowded, busy, and, for me, not enjoyable.

“I think of Salinas as Little Miami without the crime. This horseshoe bay is the most developed beach in the country with the best swimming and foot-high waves. The downside (for me) is that the beach is completely surrounded by towers. These are vacation homes, not residences, making this a good (I’d say the best) place to invest for rental. You could buy a condo next to the beach and the marina for US$70,000. Great rental play.

“Lobster Bay is tranquil and scenic, another horseshoe bay, and my favorite place to go for a lobster lunch. The mom-and-pop restaurants serve fresh-caught lobster feasts for US$8 to US$10, including beer. This is also a great spot for fishing, and the bay is always filled with fishing boats.

“Wherever you decide to buy, you should be prepared for the fact that many houses here are sold furnished. If you don’t want the furniture, here’s a suggestion: Find out who you could donate it to. Go to the church or the community center and find out which family or families need what you have. You will be a hero and an instantly valued and respected member of your new community.”

Kat Kalashian

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