There are no laws against foreigners buying a property in Ecuador. The housing market is a buyers' market, meaning you will have plenty of options to buy an apartment or house.
Depending on your housing wishes, house prices start at $50,000 USD in South Quito and the suburbs, like near Mitad del Mundo, and go up to $500,000 for a very nice, large house. If you are looking for a very luxury property, you also find houses of above one million. Prices of apartments, mainly located in the city, start at $30,000 USD.
On Facebook you find groups sharing apartments and houses that are for sale, some examples:
Other website to find houses for sale
Most newspapers, like El Comercio and El Telegrafo, have a housing section on Saturdays. These newspapers are sold on the streets by people walking around in neighborhoods or selling from their shop.
In Ecuador, it is very common to place a large sign on your house or apartment when it is for rent. Therefore, a good way to search for a home in a neighborhood of your interest is driving around and calling the phone number mentioned on the sign.
If interested in a house or apartment, make sure you negotiate the price, since the renter will start with a higher price than he or she desires. If your Spanish is not very well developed yet, make sure somebody who does speak Spanish to accompany you.
Although not common among Ecuadorians, it might be good to hire an estate agency, since you do not know the culture and rules yet (preferably an agent speaking English, if you do not have a good grasp of Spanish).
Some expats have specialized in real estate for other expats. Although this may be a good solution for language and cultural barriers, the fee may be higher. Generally, the commission of an estate agent lies between 5% and 8%, partly depending on the area you are looking for a property. In exchange, the estate agent will assist you in the search for suitable properties and will guide you in the process afterwards.
If you have found the ideal house, it is time to make an offer. Normally, no professionals are involved in this process, but you can hire an estate agent. In most cases, the buyer and seller will make several (counter) offers before they come to an agreement.
It is possible to first sign a pre-sale agreement with which you buy time to arrange the full payment. If one of the parties breaks the agreement – for example of the seller sells the property before the agreed date – that person will be fined. When the buyer is able to pay the full amount, the final sale is arranged. Make sure all contracts are notarized, or they will not be valid.
They payment is frequently done by a special check, after which the property officially changes owners.
Many people get a loan from one or multiple banks to be able to buy a house. It is also possible to apply for a loan at a governmental institution called BIESS (part of IESS), which generally has a lower interest. Interests from Ecuadorian banks are generally in between 8% and 12%.