Accommodation in Ecuador: scams you should look out for


Committing to renting or buying accommodation when you’re new to or have not moved to Ecuador just yet is always a stressful endeavour. Would you like to help us in putting together a handbook of what to look out for when house hunting in Ecuador?

What are the most common scams in Ecuador?

What are the red flags to look out for when scanning through adverts?

Is there a list of registered or accredited landlords or real estate agencies in Ecuador?

What authorities should be sought should one come across an accommodation scam?

Please share your experience,


Bhavna, while my response is truly being offered respectfully, from the perspective of a truly global industry professional of 35-years, I won't hold my breath that it will see the light of day.

If I honestly can point to one thing that is causing the most angst and issues in renting or buying real estate abroad, inclusive of Ecuador, it is comments/questions like the theme of this thread. This is not aimed at you, Bhavna, but it is a broader market observation, with implications far afield from Ecuador. We make statements and frame questions in such a way that we suggest to the uninformed market audience that every real estate deal abroad is fraught with hidden dangers, bad legal implications and a cesspool of negative intrigue. You know what? It is true ... sometimes. But guess what? It is also true in the USA, Canada, the UK and countless of allegedly "safer" First World" nations.

By framing comments and questions in an alarmist. not always ideally objective and informed fashion, we unintentionally and needlessly create an environment of fear. That very environment of fear then drives emotional-based decisions from would-be renters or buyers, rather than a rational, objective, calm and reasoned approach. Why is this an issue?

The answer as to why it is an issue is that the fear driven response is to gravitate to what seems friendly, recognizable, pleasant and, yes, even charming. The true industry hucksters know this. They know how to buy you a beer. Make you feel welcome. Have you believing you just earned a best friend for life ... lowering your fear levels ... eliminating your uncertainties ... obscuring the need for true fact-finding, because your new best friend has got you covered. That's when they move in for the financial kill and sell you a condo that is 30% over market price, or get you a "deal" on a condo rental for $1,200 per month, which should have rented for $750-$800 per month, as in one recent instance that was brought to my attention. Selling sunshine, to those in pure fear flight, is always easier than selling them another stormy day. Everyone wants the truth ... but oh those lies ... they are so much prettier, pleasant and easier to digest in a fear driven stomach.

What this industry needs is more objectivity on the part of would-be buyers and true full disclosure by those that profess to being industry professionals. Radical thoughts, I am sure.

If it sounds to good to be true, it is. Why not get an Airbnb for a month and look around.

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