thinking of buying a house with a piece of land around it

Hello

I am Khaled Amr from Jerusalem currently living and working in Amman Jordan.
I have been thinking about retiring in Loja Ecuador.
I don't really want to completely retire though. I want to do something like raise sheep.
I am thinking of buying a house with a piece of land around it for this purpose.
Does anybody have advices regarding this subject?

Thanks

Khaled Amr

Depending on the amount of land, this could be a challenge (unless you are looking for something approaching a mansion, which are available).  A lot of the larger properties have rather simple structures (no electricity, etc.).  I moved to the Loja region about two years ago and was looking for something similar.  What I found was that there are plenty of reasonably priced farms/lands, but that most of the houses/structures on those properties would not generally satisfy "Western" tastes.  I ended up purchasing only a one hectare property. It was the largest I could find with satisfactory buildings and I plan to sell it and buy a larger tract of land in a few more years when I feel confident I can build here without having to deal with English speaking architects/project managers (who appear to drastically increase construction costs).

My recommendation is to take a look at the OLX website (https://loja.olx.com.ec/viviendas-locales-cat-16) to get an idea of what is available in the region.  Also, when looking for larger properties, you can search for hectáreas (https://loja.olx.com.ec/nf/search/hectareas).  That will at least give you some idea of what the buildings on larger properties are like.  It should be noted that many properties for sale aren't listed online.

As for sheep: in the towns around Loja city I haven't seen many, but know they are around up in higher/wetter areas of the province.  Not sure if this is local preference or whether this region of Loja is poorly suited to raising sheep (since I've never raised them myself, I can't tell).

Hello, I have been in Ecuador a little over two years and I would advise against the Loja area for a number of reasons. First is the fact that you are an outsider and the laws and judicial system are as corrupt as they come you will be offered little protection in any legal matters. Second the Loja province has lost a lot of luster with the ex-pat community especially those who have bought property and now they cannot GIVE it away, most noteworthy is Vilcabamba area whose real estate values have plummeted in recent years because of the disconnect between the locals and ex-pats. Thirdly the lands you find advertised online that are decent priced are leaders, they do not exist and they are meant to get you into the real estate office so they can peddle more expensive properties. I have had experience in the Loja province with both local and ex-pat brokers/agents. I would advise the Yunguilla Valley area. It is an hour or so out of Cuenca, the elevation and climate is the same and not near the issues of the Loja area. Most importantly is the lack of builders Who are incapable of quality construction and offer no warranty on the work they do. You will more than likely rue the day that you chose an Ecuadorian builder because after the ink is dry on the check they will no longer be in business and you have no recourse. Spend the little extra money and at the very least get an ex-pat or ex-pat company to supervise the construction to be sure everything is done correctly. If you are OK with pipes leaking in your walls and sewer lines stubbed out into your yard, take your chances. If you are OK with no neutral leg much less grounding in your power supply and system even though you paid for it, go ahead and get a local Ecuadorian builder, You will pay many times over the initial price to get everything fixed after the fact.  Do not do a time and materials contract for ANYTHING. Get a material list and YOU purchase the material. Make it clear that anything over 10% overage will come out of their labor and keep track of the material. Get a hard money bid on labor and unless there are change orders DO NOT pay them any more than agreed to. Give them draws on the labor once a month and keep at least 40% of the total labor in reserve until the project is done and inspected by a competent person. If they make a mistake DO NOT absorb the time and materials to fix it you take it out of the labor portion of the project. This is a big thing here and don't let anyone tell you different. Ecuadorian builders (for the most part) do not have a clue as to what westerners expect as far as construction and good enough is the premise they operate on. Hey it works today so it's good enough.  Just because the toilet flushes doesn't mean it goes to the septic tank.
  Good luck with your project.
Ed
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I have no advice for you about Loja, but I do have advice about raising sheep.

We raised sheep [in Texas] for over a decade which started as one sheep to serve as a 4 legged lawnmower. The one sheep wasn't enough to keep the brush down, plus she looked so lonely we got her a companion sheep. Soon we had many sheep and found ourselves in the sheep business. (but they did do a bangup job keeping the place mowed)

To raise livestock you really do need some backround in animal husbandry. Without it you will lose a lot of sheep. We also had to collect guard animals to keep a watch on the sheep as they are very vulnerable; two donkeys and a Great Pyrenees.

Domestic sheep absolutely have to be sheared, and this is a very delicate task best left to those with experience, not for amateurs.

The guard donkeys required farrier services from time to time to be sure that their hooves were in good condition. Lame livestock will soon become dead livestock.

We had to buy a pickup truck to transport the sheep when needed.

My $50 sheep lawnmower turned into a five acre 10 year project that required all kinds of transport, services, barns, fencing, hay and feed, and lambs on the bottle.

You may want to rethink the sheep project.

Khaled,

You need to go into Loja, or anywhere in the world, and explore for yourself. One person's experience, or even 10, does not necessarily define what your own experience might be. By way of full disclosure, I am global real estate investment consultant, with client interests in Ecuador, but not in Loja. I could refer you to serious and quality real estate people in the region, if you'd like.

In the meantime, you have received some good advice and some ... well ... complicated advice. It is true that the average rural home in the Loja region is not going to meet so called First World standards. To do so, you will pay more and for a large tract of land to raise cheap, combined with the more modern house, you will pay even more. However, all cost is relative ... so it is ok to ask the question, "More than where?" More than other points in Latin America, where the domestic currency is weak? Yes. More than in Europe? Likely not.

As for bait and switch real estate agents ... they are plentiful. That is why shopping for international real estate online is an absurd notion. Visit ... interview real estate professionals ... find the one that is best qualified and compatible with your needs. Don't accept over-generalization, but remain ever vigil.

Visit Loja ... explore for yourself. Make your own decisions. Enjoy the journey, just be cautious.

I have no opionon on where to live but do on livestock. You will likely lose money on raising livestock if you factor in the cost of land. Most ranchers make money due to the fact that they inherited the land. Sheep, or goats cattle horses are just a hobby and the smaller your hobby, the smaller the loss.

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