• Gabriela León

Buying real estate on the coast of Ecuador: A property with a deed vs. community-owned land

In general, land regulation in Ecuador is handled by the municipalities of each city, and when you buy land, you obtain a certified deed from the Municipality. However, in Ecuador there are also different land regulations when the property is part of an indigenous community. In this post we will clarify the general guidelines for each one.

What is a community-owned land on the southern coast of Ecuador?

Starting in 2008, many communities around the country, including on the southern coast, have been recognized as indigenous communities because of their ancestral roots. The coastal communities in Ecuador have a vast history linked to ancient civilizations like the Valdivia, the Manteño or the Salangomé, and their cultural heritage has been recognized in many ways.

One way to acknowledge their ancestral heritage is to protect the community use of their lands. The land in these communities, by constitutional mandate, cannot be divided, separated, or sold. Nevertheless, because indigenous communities in the southern coast of Ecuador do “sell” their lands, they have implemented their own system in which they sell the use of their land, in most of the cases, indefinitely. By selling the use of the land and not the ownership itself, the communities guarantee that their land would not be divided. You will find this system takes place in places like Ayampe, Montañita, or Salango.

Thus, when you purchase land from a community on the coast of Ecuador, there is a specific process to follow that corresponds to each particular community. Most often you get an indefinite contract of use of the land or the possession of the land. This entitles you to use the land in whatever form you would like, within the limits of the community.

These regulations can range from construction rules to procedures on selling the use of lands. The details about these regulations will be outlined in the following post. For now, it is important for you to know that community-owned land has different regulations than land registered in the municipality of the city.

One of the main differences between community-owned land and a land with a deed purchased from the Municipality, is the type of visa you can get. Only land with a deed purchased from the Municipality allows you to apply for different governmental processes, like applying for a residence visa (read more about this here).

If you need more information about this or would like to hire us to guide you through the process of obtaining community-owned land, contact us! Gabriela@JuridicaLeon.com

Also, subscribe to our blog, we will be posting more information about the processes and regulations of community-owned lands on the southern coast of Ecuador.

Now, what is the difference for land with a deed on the southern coast of Ecuador?

It is also possible that the land you wish to purchase is registered at the local municipality. Each municipality has a Land Registry Department in which you can check the history of the land and verify the owners. And, most importantly, this land will have a Notary Office Certificate, otherwise known as a deed.

Before you buy property, it is important to verify its ownership history at the municipality. This process is called a certificado de solvencia, which precedes the process of buying the land. This certificate certificado de solvencia, will prove the legitimacy of the sellers, show that the land has no legal impediments, and that it is ready to be sold.

The process for obtaining real estate with a deed includes paying fees at the municipality, signing a purchase agreement at a notary office, and paying taxes. The main benefits to all of this are the following: the process for selling the land is straightforward (compared to community-owned land), the investment makes you eligible to obtain a residence visa (read more here), the land can be used as capital for a company or start up, and it can be used for obtaining a loan from an Ecuadorian bank.

If you need further information about this process or would like to hire our services to help you with the process of obtaining real estate with a deed or community-owned land on the southern coast of Ecuador, contact us! Gabriela@JuridicaLeon.com
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