Costs of Living
• Restaurants are inexpensive at $10 to $15 per person for a
full dinner in a good restaurant. Lunches are around $2 to $3
and up to $6 in fine restaurants.
• Labor is very cheap. Almost all middle-income families have
a maid, and many have a gardener who is often the maid’s
husband. Maids get $10 to $12 per day and gardeners $10 to
$15. Some servant families live in maid’s quarters or a small
house on the grounds for $250/month. Others prefer to come
daily or a few days per week.
• Medical insurance is inexpensive. Doctor visits and dental
visits are about $20 each, most often done by English-speaking
and American university-trained doctors. Many expatriates don’t
purchase medical insurance, preferring to pay as they go.
• Cars are expensive versus U.S. standards, but gas is just
$1.48 a gallon. Only new cars can be imported into Ecuador.
• Prescriptions are generally not required to get prescription
drugs at the pharmacy.
• Cell phones ($20), Internet ($35), cable ($25) and dish TV
are everywhere. American programs are very popular. CNN
and BBC are available.
• Property taxes on a large house are about $25/month.
• Propane gas—a large cylinder is $3.
• Electricity averages $30/month.
month or have bought modern two to three bedroom apartments
in the $50,000 to $75,000 range in one of the seven-story high
rise buildings in the American sector. Furnished apartments are a
good compromise while looking for a home to buy or lease.
Our investigations led us to Cuenca Real Estate ( www.cuenca-realestate.com) and Monica and Kathy, who showed us dozens of
homes for sale. Housing in Cuenca is considerably less expensive
compared to our standards. Of course, the farther out you go
from the heart of the city, the more you get for the dollar.
Unlike in the U.S., it is not easy to get facts and real estate
information, but persistence pays off. Business transactions are
very casual for things such as applying for residency, buying
property, or leasing an apartment. We would highly recommend
hiring a lawyer who speaks English for each of these transactions.
We found a good lawyer who has the patience of Job.
When buying a home, there is no such thing as an inspection,
as we are accustomed to in the U.S. People sell as is. Be very careful. It’s a good idea to hire an architect or structural engineer to
examine the house and give recommendations.
By the way, Ecuador uses the U.S. Dollar, so there are no
currency fluctuation problems, as is the case with the Euro and
Our New Home
On our last weekend, we found a home that was much grander
than we had been looking for. With five bedrooms and eight
baths, it rests high on a mountainside in the Challuabamba valley.
The house has a massive social area, an indoor 40-foot-long
swimming pool, a sauna, a steam room and an outdoor tennis
court. All of this came for an amazing $250,000. |