Thursday, May 8, 2014

News from International Living

WHEREBallenita, Ecuador. This quiet beach village was the premier vacation getaway on this stretch of coast for decades. Then visitors moved on to newer, shinier destinations. But in the last couple of years, local and foreign buyers are starting to realize how much their real estate dollar will buy in Ballenita.

It’s got a wide, sandy beach that’s mostly sheltered and good for swimming. Low bluffs fringe the beach. The village feels small-scale and local rather than touristy, with basic grocery stores and rustic beachside restaurants. It’s low-cost, too. Lunch specials start at $3 and a 22-ounce pilsner beer will set you back $1.50. And you’re only 10 minutes from a modern supermarket, mall and movie theater and 20 minutes from the heart of Salinas.

WHY: Ballenita is already great value, with some of the lowest per square foot property prices in the area. More expats are buying here for that reason. We’re also starting to see small new residential communities aimed at well-heeled locals and foreign buyers around town. A new bus terminal for the entire province opened in Ballenita in 2013. That will bring more tourists to Ballenita. But the big news is the municipal plans for a new boardwalk. The plan calls for upgrading the existing boardwalk, extending it and adding commercial areas. Once done, it will change the look of the village, creating a nice amenity for both visitors and locals.

WHO: Ballenita isn’t for everyone. It will suit if you’re looking for a quiet beach village that’s well-connected to bigger towns and an international airport (a 2-hour drive). It will also fit the bill for anyone on a tight budget that doesn’t want to give up on their dream of living near the beach.

WHAT: There are currently two houses for sale that are good value. One is a rustic house that needs a significant remodel. It’s concrete block construction and five blocks from the beach. It’s priced at $39,500. The other is a three-bed two-bath house with a separate two-bed one-bath apartment. It’s got a large back yard with enough space for a pool. It needs some updating but could become a nice tropical villa with a rental apartment. The asking price, $60,000, is negotiable.

This is a typical "postcard" that I would find in my email inbox on a weekly basis, this one is Ballenita, I searched some pictures to add.

This could very well be the block construction for $39k, or this...

"Significant remodel needed"? 

These two, are probably more like the  $60k the postcard spoke of. If real estate was like in the States, and we could qualify for a home loan, the mortgage on $60k is less than $400 per month. 

Here's one more house picture, pretty cute, just needs some landscaping.

And of course a map, to let you know where Ballenita is on the coast. Sounds like its more humid down there, but I'm sure we will check it out firsthand. 

This is how we got hooked on this crazy idea, I'd check my email over coffee in the morning, then look up pictures to see what the places really looked like. I'd search blogs, and learn some tidbits, share with Mike and we'd dream and scheme...and well it could have ended there, but we crave new adventures, (and it keeps our clutter down if we move every 10 years!) If y'all think about it, you've probably done some things that were "crazy", some may have worked out, some maybe not but it's the stepping out that's the risky part, So... hold on, it may be a bumpy ride, but at least you know you're alive. Stay tuned

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