Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gringo Beware!!

Grab this related post Widget!
You strike up a conversation with a cabbie in a city you’re visiting on the way from the airport. He mentions he knows of a great investment property you really should take a look at-------------.

On the way to your car the bag boy at the grocery store mentions he got a hot stock tip he wants to tell you about------------.

You’re getting your nails done and the manicurist whispers that her boyfriend is starting a business that’s a total home run---------------.

In your daily life, would you act on any of these scenarios? “Act” is defined here as actually following up and putting your hard-earned money in play. I’m thinking the answer is a resounding, unqualified N-O-O-O-O!!!!!

Well, guess what? On a frighteningly regular basis, people just like you are doing the equivalent of that right here in Cuenca. They’ve read all the Internet hype---they get off the plane excited to arrive in The Promised Land---they’re desperate to be in The Promised Land---they’ve got money burning a hole in their pocket---they down a big drink of “The Kool Aid” at a Gringo Night, hook up with a Cuencano who speaks good English, and the next thing you know within days they’ve rented or bought a place and are giddily on their way back to Estados Unidos.

Paradise, here we come!!!

Except, oops, those damned details. It turns out that being bilingual is the only marketable skill the Cuencano had. Real estate license—uh, no, but I have a business card. Does that count?

I know gringos “renting” apartments who have no lease. Why? Because their “representative” doesn’t have a clue about anything beyond showing apartments and collecting a commission. I know gringos who supposedly “own” properties but can’t get a deed. Why? Read the previous “why,” except substitute “condo/home” for “apartment.”

Enough is enough. I really don’t blame the Cuencanos who could easily be labeled as “predatory” for taking advantage of knucklehead gringos. This is a poor country, and if you have a marketable skill, like speaking good English, I say,” Work it, baby. You earned it.” Mastering a foreign language is difficult. I know-------.

Nope, I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of my US compatriots for being, well-----knuckleheads. At home you’re not gonna put maybe $100,000+ on the “good advice” of your taxi driver/bag boy/ nail chick. Why in the hell are you going to get on a plane, lose your mind, and behave like an idiot in Cuenca-friggin’-Ecuador? You can do that a lot cheaper in Vegas. Trust me---I lived there.

So, my unsolicited, uncompensated (keeping the “un”-thing going---- unfortunately) advice is this---BEWARE. There are more and more unqualified, unlicensed (wow--“un” is again alive!) individuals here who want to separate you from your money. Not by picking your pocket. Not by snatching your purse. No, by being your “friend.”

I knew someone once who lived in Germany. She was magnetically attracted to anyone who spoke English. He could have been a serial killer but, hey---he spoke English when everyone else was speaking, uh---something else.

Amigos, that’s not enough. Be smart. Be safe. Be conservative.

There truly are qualified individuals in Cuenca who can help you every step of the way on your journey. Take the initiative to find and use them.

You’ve worked hard for a long time to earn that money. Treat it, and yourself, with the respect you both deserve.


Sapa Ynca said...

Once again Ed..a wonderful post! The problem is truly "clear" land titles in Ecuador are tough to find. I bought my land from family. Here a court ordered "division of property" verified title just to be sure. But i have family members there who have "bought" property just to find out later that they did not own it and the "seller" was no where to be found! Definitely....buyer beware!

Karen Kimbler said...

Gee, I love this, took the words right out of my mouth. I just wish we could get IL to say the same, and every other "Land of Milk and Honey" website out there. We are leasing our house, have a signed contact and it was like 4 pages long! Its very scary to see how so many are flinging money around, in a desperate attempt to strike it rich.. uh... they are about 4 yrs too late.

Jewberg said...

Karen, What is the connection between IL and Ecuador? Do they get a commission on Americans investing in Ecuador? We are subscribers and are suspicious of how they push and advocate Ecuador more than any other country. Although we've been VERY interested in Ecuador pre-IL. Do you know anything about the conference that is being held there now? 2/2011. We'll be visiting Peru and Ecuador this fall. Would love straight words from people who have walked in the shoes of someone who has moved to South America. Thanks.

Susan said...

I am so glad I found your site!!!
I did 3 years of research on relocating and I DID decide on Gualaceo. The reasons were many.
However being a single white female (not to mention 60 yrs of age)had a bit of a rough time this past trip. My hotel was great, but a few shady looking visitors gave me the "creeps" and wow voila I was a shut in for an entire day.
Taxi drivers took me to a restraunt I did NOT request. I do speak some Spanish and I explained to the young sullen guy that this is not the right one I asked for____restraunt he said yes yes this is it. Jerk, I just got out ate, then back to the hotel.
I know my builder, broker and my Lawyer...Somehow they do not have the time or interest to guide me thru the process of locating people other than the meet and greet "Gringo night".
So, you are a breath of fresh air.
Susan in Houston

Lulu said...

Dear Susan from Houston:
I seem to be in a similar situation. I am single, 59 yr. old and am looking for a retirement spot. I would be interested to know why you chose Gualaceo as I have been doing mega internet research and I have never heard mention of that town until now. I was thinking of Cuenca, Vilcabamba or Cotacachi as a possible place to retire. Any comment you have for me would be helpful. Thanks. I am visiting the country in May in order to assess my options. Please e-mail me.

collin-sick said...

Hey Ed, I'm a gringo currently living and working in Cuenca, and wanted to ask you a few questions...was wondering if I could email you directly ... don't see a "contact" link on your blog anywhere. (not too familiar with blogger)