After we decided on the house we wanted we had to get our attorney involved. We started out with one attorney and ended up with another! A friend who is an attorney practicing in Guayaquil started the process for us but soon we both discovered that his office being in Guayaquil and our property being in San Clemente was not going to work. We talked to several folks living in San Clemente and discovered that all either knew about or had used Flori Zanbrano as their attorney. We contacted her Portoiviejo office, and were very surprised to discover that almost everyone on her staff spoke excellent English. That was an added bonus for us. She gave me an overview of the process and then turned me over to her assistant Emily. We were asked to put a deposit of $100 into Flori’s account with Banco Pichincha and our file was in process. This was May 7 when we first spoke and gave our deposit. Our closing took place on June 29 so I think even with one issue that held things up for over two weeks Flori’s team did a great job.
One of the first things Emily requested was that we get her all the information we had on the property as well as copies of our ID and passports. Having most of this information already in our computer made it very easy to email all of this information to her the same day. The sellers son, Lenin, speaks pretty good English so we have communicated by email as well as cell phone. The seller supplied all the information necessary. And we were in process. Emily came back very shortly after our first conversation with a closing cost breakdown along with Flori’s fee. The real closing costs were about $90 higher and I am sure this was due to the issue we had with the municipality. In Manabi Provincia the municipality sends out an architect or engineer to measure the property, compare it with the deed and issue a report called “Reporte de Inspeccion”. There happened to be a 10 sq meter difference between the inspectors numbers and the numbers on the deed. After several phone calls and emails my friend Pat from San Jaciento called me to tell me a story about the seller purchasing this 10 sq meters from the neighbors directly behind our property way back in the 90’s. The deal was done before Ecuador went to the dollar that is how long ago. But no purchase agreement nor updates of the deeds for either property was completed. After I told Flori about this she and one of her assistants went to the municipality to discuss this with the architect. After a few more conversation Flori informed me that the architect was looking for a tip to process the paperwork and that her office does not do that. As soon as he knew that nothing was forthcoming he changed his mind giving her the report.
We were not going to attend the closing because we were trying to pack and move from our home in Playas. We gave a Power of Attorney to Flori to handle the closing on our behalf. The closing was scheduled for 10:00 am on Friday, June 29 and went off as planned. Everything went smoothly and we moved on Saturday, June 30.
We had found a truck and driver, Luis Valencia Velez in Playas who was an excellent source to move us. He informed our friend Miguel Angel Munoz that the police required a document “Guia de Translado de Bienes Muebles o Mercaderia” which includes an inventory of the items being transported. This protects the driver from having the police stop him, proving that the goods are being transported by the authority of the owners, not stolen.
We arrived in San Clemente having been driven here by Eric from Playas about 1 1/2 hours ahead of our truck. We were met by the owner of the house and two of her nieces that spoke great English. She gave us a quick tour of the house, turned over the keys and we went to have lunch at Viviana’s because we wanted to be back when the truck arrived. On our walk back to the house Luis called to say he was in Clemente and on his way to the house. As there are really no street numbers and no one knows the street addresses we met him on the main road and guided him to the house. We had David the neighbor and one of the young men living near us move our belongings into the house.
Home at last, well only for one night the next day we moved out to the rental across the street to have the renovations completed. Again, I must say that the closing process was not nearly as bad as I had expected, Flori and her staff made it seem easy and effortless. Having a good attorney to work with you makes a great difference in having a good experience or a harrowing one. And having the contractor, Pat, show up the same day telling us she got us a rental across the street and she can start work on our house tomorrow, Ain’t it all grand?