Now that you’re here, you’re getting that Cuenca, Ecuador itch, the one that says… hmmm… it is pretty nice here… wonder what it costs to live here? Now that is a loaded question! We’ve heard everything from $650 per month – $1000 per month – $2000 per month… but what it costs depends on you and how you want to live. More on that… CLICK HERE
Thinking about buying a condo or a house here? Hold on!
There are some great values to be had here in Cuenca, though you must know that Cuenca is the most expensive city to purchase in, in all of Ecuador! You heard that right… more expensive than Quito or Guayaquil. But the reason you’re getting that Cuenca itch is the reason the pricing is so high here. Mostly spring like weather year round, beautiful scenery, cool old town area (El Centro), great restuarants, nice hotels, great parks…. you have to admit… pretty darn nice!
However, buying a house here is NOT like buying in the US or Canada. Entirely different process, you don’t probably speak fluent Spanish, and you are probably thinking… well, we’ll just get an English speaking real estate agent… right? Great plan! Actually it is, if you can just find one who isn’t looking to rip you off! Most of the major players in the real estate market that speak English are anxiously awaiting for you to give them a call or send them an email. Can they help you? Absolutely! Will they help you? Of course! Will they rip you off? If they can!
Ok, that was a bit rough, but not untrue. There are MANY real estate agents out there that can’t wait to represent you (which they should) but they want to charge you 5 – 6% of the sales price for the blessing. This is on TOP of what is being paid by the seller. There are several real estate agents that we’ve heard are getting kick backs from the attornies that they recommend to you to handle the transaction.
Do we have a problem with capitalism? Absolutely NOT! However, as a licensed real estate agent and broker in the US since 1996, I have extreme ethical issues with it. The deal is… NO ECUATORIANS would ever pay these additional fee’s that are being charged by these agents. They know you don’t know any better as you’re new here. How would you know? They’re really just trying to help you… right? Hey… Buyer Beware! Now you know… if you chose to pay these fees… it is your money. Who are we to tell you how to blow it?
What do we recommend? TAKE YOUR TIME! Look, rents here are very inexpensive, unless a gringo is renting to you. I just found a large brand new 2 bedroom apartment for somebody for $150 per month. Pretty nice place with hardwood floors in the bedrooms, big built in closets, nice tile in the kithens and baths, overall pretty good workmanship. Was it furnished? No. They will need to spend a couple of grand to fully furnish this place with brand new furniture, plus whatever appliances they decide they need to have.
Is this a good deal? Do the math. Rent a furnished 2 bedroom apartment for $500 per month (or more). This is a savings of $350 per month vs. the $150 per month on the unfurnished apartment. $350 per month x 12 months = $4200. Well, $4200 buys a ton of furniture and appliances here and when you buy a place in a year, you’ll have furniture to move in with! Decide you dont like it here? Sell it and get at least 2/3rds of your money back. If you only get half back, you still leave with $2000 in your pocket vs. nada, nothin’. The added bonus? You get to go shopping! How much happier can you make your wife then to take her shopping? You become the hero!
But now you’re saying, I hate paying rent and would rather buy. I get it. As a realtor I would love you to! However, if you’ve been here less than a year, how do you really know what area you want to live in? There are gorgeous areas all around and great deals to be found… if you’re not in too big a hurry. There are many people who are only willing to sell to gringos because they are the only ones willing to pay the outrageous prices they’re trying to get. Avoid them, and the real estate agents who will try to push you into them.
Maybe you should be building? If you try to purchase a home that is already built, you’ll find pricing often at $70 per square foot and up… mostly up! If you build and don’t use a builder looking for gringo pricing, the price is from $35-45 per square foot plus the price of land. In many cases, you can build for half of what it costs to buy pre-existing for. While you’re renting at $150 per month, can you wait while your home is being built? Just more food for thought.
Look, here is the deal. Whatever you chose to do… be happy with your choice. If you follow the road of the normal gringo who just thinks that these prices are lower than the US (not really true in all cases) and they just want something now… great! But please, don’t go trying to tell everyone at the gringo nights that you didn’t know the deal and that is why to paid too much. You’ve been warned. Just be happy with your place and move on to the next thing.
If you are willing to wait to find the right place at the right price, we’re here and ready to work with you. No hard feelings either way. We’re renting now because we’re aware we live in a 3rd world country where prices SHOULD BE MUCH LESS than in the US or Canada. We also know we’ve learned a lot in the last 9 months that has changed our thinking rather drastically. Important things that we didn’t know when we got here and when we thought we might be in a hurry to buy. We’re desire to buy smart, or at least smarter than we would have. Life education is priceless! Get some : )
Now its time for some fun!