If you are intending to live in Ecuador for a short period you have three options; a long term stay in a hotel or apart-hotel, renting a house or apartment and a homestay.
All three have their advantages. In a hotel and homestay you don’t have to worry about paying utility bills or cleaning. A hotel is usually more expensive, although you may be able to negotiate a weekly rate. Some people stay in hostels where you have less privacy but access to a kitchen, a laundry and a TV. An apart-hotel is a good option for business people who want a bit more space than room 213 and, although it is a fairly new concept in Ecuador, there are some options in Quito and Guayaquil.
Renting works out cheaper over a few months and gives you more personal space and comfort but you’ve got to find the right place and commit to signing a contract, thus exposing you to another area of Ecuadorian bureaucracy. There are some agencies which can help you with this.
Finally in a homestay you give up some of your privacy but you get a better insight into the Ecuadorian life and people and can enjoy good hospitality and feel a bit more loved.
Below you can find a list of some different accommodation options and agencies.
1. How can I buy property if I am a foreigner?
2. Where is good to live?
3. Is it a good investment?
4. What taxes do I need to pay?
5. What permissions do I need?
6. Can I use an agent? Who?
7. Who can help me move?
1. It is possible to buy property if you’re not Ecuadorian. The only exception is that you cannot buy land on the coastline immediately in front of the sea. You can apply for a specific visa (9-I if you’re retired, 9-II if you are still working) You don’t have to buy the property to get the visa.
2. If you’re moving from a more developed country you’re going to have to get used to a change in lifestyle. Quito and Guayaquil, the largest cities, have malls, large supermarkets and good hospitals and schools but also more crime, pollution and congestion. There are several smaller but more relaxed towns in the highlands. I like Cuenca, Ibarra and Loja.
3. Property prices are fairly stable. They’re not sky-rocketing but rising steadily. As Ecuador uses the US dollar we can hope that the currency isn’t going to crash. Land costs are very cheap so if you can improve the property yourself you can save a lot of money.
4. It’s necessary to pay a property tax to the local council (municipio) each year. It’s not much.
NOTE that there is a 5% tax on money you transfer out of Ecuador.
6. There are many property agents in Ecuador and ones who focus specifically on the international market. Click here for a list.
7. Several companies such as International Sea and Air Shipping and the Allied International Moving Network specialise in international moves. There are lots of online forums and it seems that with most companies there is a range of experiences. Rather than try and find a 100% trustworthy company, it seems the best thing to do is to read up on all the errors people have made and avoid them.