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Topic Title: Buying property in El Salvador - any advice or assistance is appreciated
Topic Summary: Looking to buy an oceanfront home or lot in the next year - Edit. We did it and have been owners for 5 years,
Created On: 04/28/2017 09:39 AM
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 04/28/2017 09:39 AM
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nsbkook

Posts: 699
Joined Forum: 12/07/2011

Hi folks,

Edit:

We did it and have been owners for 5 years. see latest post for details or you can view it here: https://airbnb.com/h/casaendless

My wife and I are looking to buy an oceanfront property in El Salvador. Have any of you done this recently?

I could use some recommendations or even referrals to property, El Salvadoran lawyers to handle the transaction, overview of the process, any helpful information.

I've been there six times in the last year so we're pretty familiar with the areas, what we like and don't like etc.

What we aren't familiar with is the process, and as a gringo I don't want to get taken advantage of.

We've also been to the other Central American countries and are pretty set on El Salvador. So please keep that in mind.

thanks folks!

Edited: 03/02/2024 at 09:45 AM by nsbkook
 04/28/2017 11:07 AM
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Sector9surf

Posts: 1959
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I was under the impression you had to be a native to own land there. There was a thread on the forum from awhile back but I can't seem to find it.

 04/28/2017 11:53 AM
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nsbkook

Posts: 699
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Originally posted by: Sector9surf

I was under the impression you had to be a native to own land there. There was a thread on the forum from awhile back but I can't seem to find it.



Thanks, but you may be thinking of Costa Rica. That's not the case for El Salvador.
 04/28/2017 11:54 AM
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CERTON

Posts: 1821
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talk to George at Mizata he's from the states and knows all the ins and outs first hand bruddah



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 04/28/2017 12:48 PM
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Sector9surf

Posts: 1959
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Originally posted by: nsbkook
Originally posted by: Sector9surf I was under the impression you had to be a native to own land there. There was a thread on the forum from awhile back but I can't seem to find it.

 

Thanks, but you may be thinking of Costa Rica. That's not the case for El Salvador.

 

Okay, I found the related thread. It's a risk of nationalization which you might encounter as a foreign investor. You also are limited to how much land you can buy if you're buying rural land. All of which probably don't apply to you but still valid conc erns. Search international investment in the not thread for more info. If you're interested in that topic. 

 04/28/2017 05:21 PM
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MR

Posts: 110
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My neighbors own a surf camp there that I believe they're now trying to sell. I could ask them some specific questions for you if you want to pm them to me.

 04/28/2017 05:51 PM
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Flow

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Don't. At least until you have talked to at least two people who have already done it. I did it in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and had to luck out to exit with most of my money recovered.  El Salvador is much more sketchy. There is a huge difference in buying to live there full time and buying to make trips there. The problem is what happens when you aren't there. And believe me, things will happen.



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 04/28/2017 08:33 PM
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dropsolo

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Originally posted by: Flow

Don't. At least until you have talked to at least two people who have already done it. I did it in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and had to luck out to exit with most of my money recovered.  El Salvador is much more sketchy. There is a huge difference in buying to live there full time and buying to make trips there. The problem is what happens when you aren't there. And believe me, things will happen.



I wanted to mirror this message. We own down that way and have an actual live in that "watches" over the property. Before getting this guy, we lawyered up on him and got contracts In place saying that he can't steal it out from under us. just buy American!



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 04/30/2017 08:38 AM
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nsbkook

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Originally posted by: CERTON

talk to George at Mizata he's from the states and knows all the ins and outs first hand bruddah



Since you initially recommended Mizata I've been there six times in the last year and we've discussed this at length. We've looked at numerous properties within a stone's throw of George.

Just trying to get other perspectives and educate myself as much as possible.
 04/30/2017 08:39 AM
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nsbkook

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Originally posted by: Flow

Don't. At least until you have talked to at least two people who have already done it. I did it in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and had to luck out to exit with most of my money recovered.  El Salvador is much more sketchy. There is a huge difference in buying to live there full time and buying to make trips there. The problem is what happens when you aren't there. And believe me, things will happen.


My wife and I both work remotely, so we would be there practically full time for all intents and purposes.

We're aware that their are inherent risks associated with this type of land ownership - we're prepared for that.



Edited: 04/30/2017 at 08:45 AM by nsbkook
 04/30/2017 08:43 AM
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nsbkook

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Originally posted by: dropsolo

Originally posted by: Flow


I wanted to mirror this message. We own down that way and have an actual live in that "watches" over the property. Before getting this guy, we lawyered up on him and got contracts In place saying that he can't steal it out from under us. just buy American!


How would the caretaker steal it out from under you? What prompted that concern? Would be curious to know the specifics of what you put in place to vet your live-in caretaker.

My wife is an attorney - we certainly intend to lawyer up!

 05/01/2017 09:52 AM
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artz

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 I have two old friends that have lived in Central America for more then 25 years. Rich has lived in Costa Rica is married to local owned some businessa hotle surf camps and an organic Farm. His advice was to move down there rent long term and see how you like it. The Other Friend has been buying and selling property in both Nicaragua and El Savidor. He also gave me the same advice. take some time find out how you like living there. before making a major commitment.  Laws down there are not like here.  Some people have lost their nest egg when they discover that they really do not like living outdide the USA.  I plane to rent see how it is to live down there then look to buy.  

 05/01/2017 11:29 AM
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Sector9surf

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Originally posted by: artz  I have two old friends that have lived in Central America for more then 25 years. Rich has lived in Costa Rica is married to local owned some businessa hotle surf camps and an organic Farm. His advice was to move down there rent long term and see how you like it. The Other Friend has been buying and selling property in both Nicaragua and El Savidor. He also gave me the same advice. take some time find out how you like living there. before making a major commitment.  Laws down there are not like here.  Some people have lost their nest egg when they discover that they really do not like living outdide the USA.  I plane to rent see how it is to live down there then look to buy.  

 

What does he have to say about owning vacation property just for short stays? Having someone manage/ rent it while you're away?

Just some impractical mathematics:

Oceanfront property, $10k... $50k for an oceanfront resort?? Rent for $100/night and hire at the local minimum wage, $10-20/day and a place to sleep?  Seems like it would pay for itself. Buy an inexpensive vehicle to keep on the property...Then next trip you go on is just about free versus the $100/ night you'd pay to the next guy to stay at his resort...



Edited: 05/01/2017 at 11:44 AM by Sector9surf
 05/01/2017 07:19 PM
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nicacondo

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We (3 guys) have owned property and a condo in Nicaragua since 2002 and 2008.  We felt safe buying inside a gated development which helps out in many ways.  First of all, raw land can be disputed, especially in countries where they have had civil wars.  2 or 3 families can claim a deed to 1 property so who knows which one has the right to sell it to you.  Also a gated community prevents squatters from showing up and claiming your place.  Second, the gated community provides all the infrastructure - roads, water, power, garbage, security, cell tower, internet, etc. You do pay a premium for all this but to us its worth it.  We have seen significant increases in property value as the development has matured.   We rent the condo and it does very well.  It covers all its own bills so it costs us zero to maintain it.  It also covers the properrty taxes and HOA fees for the lot.  We keep our stuff locked up in a closet so its safe and ready when we show up.   

We have a friend who bought raw land near Popoyo and he has not had the same experience.  The land has not really appreciated all that much and getting all the stuff necessary to build has been challenging.  There is no security so he has to have someone there 24/7 to watch it.   Not really a great rental property as its a bit of challenge to get to quality surf breaks.  Yes it's much cheaper up front but I think the long term costs will eventutally even things out. 

I guess it all depends on your master plan - moving there vs visiting.  I agree with renting first to see if you really like it full time.  Additionally you can meet other full time residents and figure out where you want to be and how much to pay.   We went down about 4 times before we bought anything.  We had considered Costa Rica previously but felt the prices had already gotten out of hand.   Nicaragua was just starting to build its tourism base so the prices were still very cheap.  Another thing we liked was that Nicaragua has the offshore winds most of the year!  I've been to El Sal three times many years ago and I felt it was still a little sketchy.  Just my opinion.  

 05/02/2017 05:51 AM
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artz

Posts: 580
Joined Forum: 10/30/2014

where do you find an Ocean front property for 10 K? or even 50K Renting is not as easy as it looks there are thousands of Owners with that same game plan rent when I'm not there pay a property manager to look out for things while I'm gone.  It can work but in most cases it is still going to cost you. Most of Central America has hada hit on Real Estate. since the 2008 recession. they price are now on the rise. The other good thing about renting and looking around is you can find the real bargins. most of the ads you see on the internet for real Estae are over priced marketed to North Americans.  Buying a Condo or in a Gated community is good idea. Also make sure the managment compy has an excellent track record.  Go into any deal with eyes wide open.

 

 05/02/2017 01:24 PM
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nicacondo

Posts: 142
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I just remembered that Bernie Crouch from Mad Dog Surf Shop in Daytona Beach Shores has owned property in El Salvador for many years.  He goes down there pretty frequently.  Maybe stop by or give him a call and see what he says? I think the best plan is spend some extended time down there and talk to expats you meet and get their take on things.  Best of luck!   

 05/05/2017 03:39 AM
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hsilio

Posts: 211
Joined Forum: 09/15/2003

Neat topic. I wish you much enjoyment on your move.
As many here have said; the most prudent manner to do this is to rent a year or two. Puts you out of anywhere from 12k on up for the rental expenses, but it offers you a local's perspective for caveats and such and puts you in proximity for an ear on the ground for opportunities and the true market value of property.
Even a property that is for sale and you're interested in, it might be better to rent it for a 6-12 month lease and decide if it works before your invested up to your neck to find out you could've done better.
Good luck!
 03/02/2024 09:43 AM
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nsbkook

Posts: 699
Joined Forum: 12/07/2011

We ended up buying a 3BR 4bath with a pool right on the beach five minutes away from Mizata. Pretty much upgraded everything from top to bottom. New bathrooms, AC units, New Kitchen, Completely refurbed the pool and added a waterfall, horse corral, new septic etc.

Have been there about 5 years now and love the tranquility, fantastic weather and great surf. Most days it's only me on the entire beach as far as you can see. I've been airbnbing it during the times I'm not there. If any of you would like to book a stay please let me know and we can work out a bro deal! Thanks for all your insights.

Here's the place: https://airbnb.com/h/casaendless
 03/02/2024 09:54 AM
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johnnyboy

Posts: 25177
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http://airbnb.com/h/casaendless
Made the link easier.


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 03/02/2024 02:04 PM
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nsbkook

Posts: 699
Joined Forum: 12/07/2011

thanks!
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