Tag Archive | "real estate"

Ecuador Beach Bargain

There are some wonderful Ecuador real estate beach bargains in Bahia now.


Renovated “Hemisferios” condos.

In the 1990s, when Merri and I first visited Bahia on Ecuador’s coast, we found it to be one of Ecuador’s nicest small cities and real estate was at give away prices.

There had been a serious earthquake near Bahia in the mid 1990s and this had pushed prices down.

This update of Bahia’s property market by reader suggests that two years after the latest earthquake near Bahia similar real estate pricing conditions exist now.

CRISIS = OPPORTUNITY by Josef Paulstein

There is a Rothschild quote saying “I buy real estate when there is blood in the street”.

I just returned to Bahia on the coast of Ecuador 2 years after the April 2016 earthquake to look at some of my properties and see what is going on in the real estate market.

Friends had send me pictures just after the quake and they did not look good at all.

Having spent a week touring the whole area and talking to a lot of people including mayoral candidates for next year’s local elections I find the situation quite different from what I imagined.

The government has provided relief money for improvements in a new sewage system; new water treatment facility and water system.

The new mercado central (central market) is being finished and is about to re-open.

Most of older buildings had suffered significant non structural damage. Many are being renovated.  Some are already finished like “Ocean Bay Towers” (for me the best building on the whole coast).


Ocean Bay Towers.


Condo for sale in Ocean Bay Towers

The newer buildings that were built with after a stronger anti-seismic code was in place held up better and only suffered cosmetic damages.

Bahia is returning to a normal life.   The government has now tightened the anti-seismic building codes even more.

If there is another big earthquake nearby there is likely to be even less damage.

Here are some important points about Bahia’s real estate market today.

#1:  The smart money is back in Bahia.  There have been at least two recent deals, construction companies buying entire buildings like “Agua Marina”, for renovation. The company is already selling apartments.


Agua Marina under renovation.

More deals are underway for “Spondylus” and “Nautilus” buildings; in these cases owners took the insurance money and sold a deep discount the whole building or the apartments. These builders are selling and catering mainly to wealthy Quiteanos who  love to come to Bahia because it is the trendy thing to do when you live in Quito and are affluent.


Spondylus under renovation.

Real estate companies from Santo Domingo and Quito have been touring Bahia in the last week looking for deals.

#2:  New buildings are now being built on the Malecon and sales will start soon.

#3:  There have not been any finished condo or apartment sales in the last 18 months, so there are no comparables.

#4:  The inventory of finished, ready to occupy, good quality apartments are limited.  I have counted only 15 in total only. There are  quite a few in “Ocean Bay Towers” available as some of the expats left during reconstruction and put their property on the market.

#5:  There are only five new, never occupied condos, on the market. 15 more will to come on the market within 8 to 12 months.

#6: Prices : Before the earthquake new apartments on the malecon were selling around $175 a square foot.


Condos at El Faro.

New, never occupied apartments in new buildings are being offered in this price range.  Developers believe that the market will turn around and are waiting because they can afford to.

My feeling is that some owners of nice apartments are willing to sell around $110 per square foot,  less than what they paid five years ago.  These prices are close to construction or replacement costs.

I have seen real estate markets in many countries, like Spain for example, turn around when prices had been below construction costs.

My suggestion to owners is, if you can afford to wait, then wait for the turn around that I believe will start within a few months when the people from Quito will re-enter their favorite market.   None of the Ecuadorian owners in “Ocean Bay Towers” or in “El Faro” have put their apartments for sale.  I think these owners know best where the market is heading.

My suggestion for buyers : NOW is the time to come to Bahia and make some low ball offers to owners, who need the money or just want to get rid of their property.

This window of opportunity will close as soon as Quiteanos flood back and I feel that for their next vacation in December 2018 as we have already seen quite a few transactions involving locals from the capital.

For more information on Bahia real estate for sale, Josef Paulstein can be reached at morya44@yahoo.com


Seven P Secrets of Self Publishing

When you write, you can work anywhere. 


Here I am working poolside in the winter, at our Florida farm.

gary scott

Here I am with our hound Ma, working during the summer at our North Carolina farm.

Learn how to earn everywhere, while living anywhere you choose.  I have been able to earn by writing in Hong Kong, England, the Isle of Man, Dominican Republic and Ecuador to name a few of the place I have lived.  Everywhere I have been… too numerous to share here, I have been able to work.

All I need is my laptop.

That’s all you need too… a laptop to be free!

Before computers, a pencil and pad did the job.

Freedom is just one benefit you can gain from writing.

Another benefit is income.   Writing has brought me both our farms, free and clear… plus a lot more.

Another good example of earning potential is my friend Hugh Howey.   He was working for $10 an hour in a book store when he self published his novel Wool, typing in a storage room during his lunch breaks.

Soon he was earning over $100,000 a month on Amazon.com.  This helped secure a six-figure book deal from Simon & Schuster, and an option for film by Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Alien.

That’s what he’s doing now.

Hugh Howey

Sometimes Hugh and I get together at my  farm and play chess (he beats me badly).

Writers like High are great inspirations.

A couple of years ago Hugh  left Florida, and moved to South Africa.  He had a sailing catamaran built for him and now can sail the world while he continues to write.

Hugh explained it like this: And that’s the miracle of working as a writer: I can do it from anywhere and everywhere. The past few years, I’ve done a lot of writing from airplanes and airports while on business trips abroad.  SAND was entirely written overseas while traveling through seven different countries; I think it’s a better story because of those inspirations.  In upcoming years, I may be writing near your home port.

Hugh’s a super star writer and his success could not happen to a more deserving and talented person.  He pours enormous energy into being worthy of his readership.  But you do not have to be a million dollar a year earner or a traveler to benefit from writing.

The good news is… you do not need a huge success to have a rich and fulfilled lifestyle.  Self Publishing can bring you a life that most people only dream of, as a journeyman writer, instead of a super star.

May I hastily add that the path to stardom begins as a journeyman… so the journeyman’s path brings success without stardom… but can also lead to stardom.

What most success stories like Hugh’s rarely explain is the many hours of writing that was devoted before their self published book sales soared.   Hugh, like most writers were journeymen first.  Stardom came later.

Here are sevens secrets that can help you become a journeyman writer. 

The secrets are a writer’s armory of tools that allows almost anyone to create successful publications for income, freedom and fulfillment.

Take Merri’s and my publishing business as an example.  

Merri and I are not writing stars.  We are journeymen who have for more than 40 years, year in and year out, earned solid income writing and self publishing dozens of publications about multiple subjects.

Some years that income has been more than solid… over a million dollars.  Yet in terms of stardom, we are hardly known.

In a moment you’ll see why that’s fine for us and probably will be for you too.

First some history.

Merri became involved in self publishing over 40 years ago… first helping a veterinarian publish a book on a very specific market… animal acupuncture. Then she showed a needle point artist how to sell more books to an even more specific audience… “needle point enthusiasts”  about her needle point work to an audience larger than the population of the city she lived in.  This led Merri to eventually become Executive Editor of an award winning magazine in Florida.

My story allowed Merri and me to work and live from Hong Kong to London to Europe to Eastern Europe, then the Caribbean and then Ecuador… making millions in the process of following our adventures… having fun… while helping a large readership adapt to a rapidly changing world.

That’s what self publishing can bring, profit, adventure and fulfillment, a great feeling of worth and wonder.

Self Publishing has created exactly the lifestyle we desire allowing us to span the world and work with meaning and purpose.

Self Publishing has become a new business art form. 

The seven secrets can help you start your own self publishing business now.

Everything in publishing is new and exciting and changing.  Publishing is being recreated by the wonderful power of destructive technology.

Everything is new… except the seven secrets. 

Change in the publishing industry is disturbing many.   We love this evolution due to these seven secrets we call the 7Ps.  The 7 Ps are so fundamental to writing and publishing that new technology enhances rather than reduces their power.

The First P is Passion.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it AND create income with self publishing.  This can be your direct ticket to the kind of fulfillment you’ve always wanted.

Whether you want to travel the world or live as a recluse, work 12 hours a day or not work much at all,  you can set your schedule to succeed, if you’re willing to learn these seven secrets.

You can start part-time with any dream, passion, and budget.  Once you’ve created a product, you’ll enjoy the “multiple effect” of producing profits over and over again.

So the question is… What do you love to do?

What’s Your Passion:  An example is that thirty years ago, a client of Merri’s had a passion to help people who were in pain?  He published a series of pamphlets explaining various chiropractic disorders in very simple terms.  For example: “What Is Whiplash?”

The pamphlets contained solid information, but were simple 5″ x 7″ brochures with drawings and explanations. He sold them with a rack to chiropractors, who put them in their offices for patients to read.  These little self-published items sold year in and year out for decades.

There are thousands of ideas of this sort that can lead to big business.  It’s just a matter of defining and then acting on your passion.

Although I can work when I please and go where I wish, for me the most important reason for being a publisher is the satisfaction it brings. 

I love the projects I take on, so work doesn’t feel like, well… work.

What do you love?  If you love golf, then you can write and sell publications about golf.  Love travel, fishing, dogs, dolls, or art?  Write and sell publications in these fields.

Are you concerned about crime, war, poverty or environmental issues?  You can publish information products that help reduce these concerns.

Would you like to help the world be a more spiritual place?  Publish a newsletter, write a book (or hire someone to write it for you), record a tape… publish something that enlightens people.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it and earn income by publishing for ereaders, print on demand, CDs, lists, bound books, or any format you choose.

Be immersed in your passion and get paid well for it. 

This is why stardom is not the main goal for most writers and self publishers.  Extra income, more freedom and fulfillment are usually more than enough enough.

The seven Ps are:

#1: Passion

#2: Problem

#3: Person

#4: Profitably Priced Product

#5: Prospecting Pathway

#6: Promise

#7: Presentation

The first time I exposed others to the secrets in Self Publishing was in a weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.  We offered the camp for $1,500. 80 delegates enrolled.  People from all walks of life attended—chiropractors, businessmen, investors, doctors, realtors, inventors, airline pilots, engineers, and housewives.

Merri and I were so overwhelmed by the response, we decided to make it available to a larger audience.  We created a written course based on our current self publishing activity called “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.”  Then we recorded the weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.

Thousands have used the course as it has evolved over the decades.

You can receive both the written course and the recorded weekend seminar, in an MP3 file, in a special “Live Well and Free Anywhere” program I am making available to you.  The normal fee is $299 for the written course and $299 for the recorded workshop.   I’ll send you both the course and the recorded workshop and my course “International Business Made EZ (also $299) all for $299.  You save $598.

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within 60 days for a full refund .

These courses are not theoretical.  They describe, step-by-step, how Merri and I built a million-dollar international business and how we are running this self publishing business right now.   We use the 7Ps today just as we did four decades ago to create a strong annual income.

This correspondence course is for those who would like their own international self publishing micro business for fun and profit. If you want fun, freedom, extra income and fulfillment with your own full or part time writing or want to build your existing business, by writing to sell you can profit from this course.  The course can help who want their own business or who want to have a business together or a family business.  This is the perfect course for those who can no longer find employment, who are looking for ways to earn abroad and who wish to retire and supplement their income.

Whether you are retired, an investor, chiropractor, doctor, dentist, professional or already own your own business, this offers another way to make money, to turn your passion into profit. We guarantee that we have shared all we know to help you start and run your own international business.  Enjoy and live a life of following your Passion to Profit… through writing.

Here is a special offer. 

We provide two emailed courses  “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell and be a Self Publisher” and “International Business Made EZ”.

We include the “Self Fulfilled Writing and Self Publishing Course” because there are two reasons to write, when you have something to say or when you have something to sell.  In this day and age many of us want to do both, make a statement that makes the world a better place and earn something extra in the process. 

Whatever your passion, however you do business, chances are you’ll be writing either to create a product or to sell a product. 

You save more than $598 because you also receive a recorded webinar conducted by our webmaster David Cross (at no extra cost).

David-cross-images tags:"2012-4-20"

David Cross

David has been our webmaster since our website began in the 1990s.  He is Merri’s and my business partner. We could not run our business as we do without him.

Learn the tactics we use in our web business that condenses 27 years of practical experience about search engine optimization, and writing for search engines.

For the last 27 years David has worked with companies large and small – IBM, Agora Publishing, AstraZeneca and many small business owners.  He has worked in 22 countries, and lived in six of them.

David’s clients span the globe and represent companies and charities both large and small.  From corporate giants to small, one-woman businesses and everything from finance, healthcare, publishing, technology, real estate, veterinarians, alternative health centers and everything in between.

David is an essential part of our web based business.

Myles Norin, CEO of Agora, Inc.  wrote:  “I have found David’s knowledge and experience unmatched in the industry.  Without David’s expertise and guidance for the past 7 years, we would not be nearly as successful as we are.”

As Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Inc. in Baltimore, MD, he worked closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers and – over a 7-year period – helped to propel Agora’s online revenues from around $20 million to well over $300 million.

David’s webinar will help you gain benefits in your micro business that large internet marketing companies use.  In this practical recorded workshop you will learn valuable skills to help your micro business.

There has never been a time when the opportunity for small businesses abroad has been so outstanding.  Expand your borders now!  Increase your economic security freedom, independence and success.

If you are not fully satisfied that this offers you enormous value simply email us for a full refund within 60 days.  You can keep all three courses as our thanks for giving our courses a try.

You also receive a report  “How to use Relaxed Concentration to Brainstorm Business Ideas” and a recorded workshop “How to Become and Remain Rich With Relaxed Concentration” at no additional cost.

Plus you get more in the program.


You receive regular writing and self publishing updates for a year.  Businesses usually need to evolve.  Merri and I continue to publish and have our independent businesses.  Some basics have remained for decades, but new strategies occur all the time throughout the year.  We’ll be sending along updates that share our most recent experiences as we learn and continue to grow our international micro business from Smalltown USA.

My special offer to you in this “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”, is that you receive:

  • “International Business Made EZ” course
  • “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell” course
  • Video Workshop by our webmaster David Cross,
  • The entire weekend “Writer’s Camp” in MP3,
  • MP3 Workshop “How to Gain Added Success With Relaxed Concentration”
  • Any updates to any of the courses, workshops, reports or recordings for a year.

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within the first three months for a full refund . 

Order “Self Fulfilled – How to Publish to Sell” and a quarter of update lessons $79.   Click Here.

Order “Self Fulfilled – How to Publish to Sell” and a full year of update lessons $299.  Click Here.      

See success stories from Self Publishers and a few who have attended the “Writer’s Camp” that you will receive on MP3.



Distortions Create Real Estate Opportunity

The big distortions in three forces create an opportunity.   There is a growing population who want affordable living. There has been a huge drift to living on or near the coast pushing up coastal real estate prices.  Costs of living on the coast due to tax, insurance and interest have been rising.

This thinking led Merri and me to move inland seven years ago and buy increasing amounts of real estate in Central Florida.

A recent Wall Street Journal article “Mortgage-Rate Rise Hits Coastal Property Markets Hardest”(1)  confirms this strategy.

The report says: “Disparity in monthly payment increases reflects a deep divide between the nation’s priciest and least expensive areas.  Pricey real-estate markets on coasts are bearing the brunt of the recent rise in mortgage rates and are likely to feel more pain as rates climb, housing economists say.”

The article tells how an analysis by the National Association of Realtors found that home buyers in coastal areas are seeing impacts of the rate jump.

The article says: “It’s sort of a double whammy,” said Danielle Hale, NAR’s managing director of research.  “At a time when apartment rents are climbing quickly, home prices and mortgage rates also are going up, making it tougher to get into the housing market”, she said.

The report Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere has an entire chapter on two special inland real estate opportunities that are cashing in on this trend.

See more about the report below.


(1)  www.wsj.com: Mortgage rate rise hits coastal property markets hardest

75% Ecuador Capital Gains Tax

Our friend and Ecuador attorney, Dr. Andres Cordova, sent this note about the new Ecuador Capital Gains Tax.

On December 30, 2016 a new capital gains law came into effect in Ecuador.

This law, which has been widely opposed by all commerce, industry and construction chambers; by top economists and analysts and by many people across the board, establishes a whopping 75% fixed rate on the “Extraordinary Gains” of real estate transactions.

The tax is to be paid upon the transfer of any type of real estate, whether urban or not.  As said, the law establishes a tax of 75% upon the “Extraordinary Gains” in real estate sales.  The “Ordinary Gains” will not be taxed.

To calculate the Ordinary Gains you need to create a basis that starts with the purchase price (as established on the deed).  Then all improvements that have a material effect in the sales price and which can be duly supported are added.  Improvements that exceed 30% of the municipal assessment must be reported to the Municipality (so the assessment can be increased) and if any improvements contribution tax has already been paid, this should be added in as part of the basis. Deduct the basis from the sales price and multiply this basis by the Adjustment Factor which is one percent above the Passive Referential Rate for deposits of 361 days and over, issued by the Central Bank of Ecuador.  Such rate is at 7.53% right now.

This means that the Ordinary Gains above the basis that will not be taxed in the transfer of real estate will be those of up to 8.53% per year.

For those dedicated to the development business, all due construction costs can be deducted.

The 75% tax on “extraordinary gains” will not be paid in case of donations, inheritance, raffles or state sponsored sales or auctions.

One more break is that the “extraordinary gains” up to 24 minimum wages (currently $366), or $8,784 at this time, are not subject to the 75% tax.  All profit above the basis, the 8.53% per annum and the $8,784 is subject to 75% tax.

The payment of this tax must be made before the deed is issued.

It is important to note that the new capital gains tax law applies to the second transfer of properties from the time of its issuance.  All next transfers of properties acquired before the law came in effect will pay under the old system, which establishes a tax of 10% of the capital gains, and which goes down each year until the 20th year where it pays zero.

For urban land with no construction, the new law will enter effect on December 31, 2021 in case no previous sales have been made.  So the second sale rule will not apply after this date.

Finally, those who willingly update the Municipal assessment will pay property taxes with the previous assessment for 2 years.

I believe this law is absurd, uncalled for and eminently negative.  Pretty much every single candidate to the Presidency of Ecuador, except the  candidate of the “Incumbent Party” Lenin Moreno, the former Vice President under Correa, has expressed that they will act to take down this law if they become elected.

Some analysts believe, as I do, that President Correa presented this absurd law to our National Assembly, now that we have Presidential elections a month and a half away, for political reasons.

He had been championing the law as a great tool to stifle speculation with land. He says big money is soaking up properties, at times with the benefit of insider information, and that this law will allow for more affordable properties across the board, including for developer’s themselves.

Of course, these explanations make no sense.  They are political demagoguery at its worst or an utter failure to understand the dynamics of free economics and enterprise.

With the presentation and approval of this law Correa, who is on his way out, but wants to have his former Vice-President elected, perhaps wants:

–       To try and generate a distraction via heated debate from the ever-increasing alarms of corruption that have been plaguing his regime and are costing the incumbent party points in the polls.

–       To send a wink to the many less well off, who have become disenfranchised with his Government, trying to play some sort of Robin Hood.

–       To leave a lasting message that he is truly a very left socialist (a la 60s and 70s).

These types of absurd laws hinder investment, hurt sellers and buyers too, limit development and most always don’t stand the test of time.  I believe this law will be greatly moderated or thrown to the trash altogether.

While many real estate transactions will pay zero capital gains tax in the future (when under the former law they must have had to pay) it is rather insufferable, to put it some way, that the government would seek to put a 75% tax on Extraordinary Gains, which are one of the factors that actually drive entrepreneurship, savings, risk taking and the economy in general.

Notwithstanding this new capital gains tax law, which in all likelihood will be greatly changed or thrown out in the future, Ecuador remains one of the best places to buy real estate.  We have excellent values in real estate and in truly remarkable locations.  The economic crisis we are going through has created a buyer’s market where exceptional opportunities can be had by those who seek them.

If you have any questions as to how this new law may affect you (whether you have a property on Ecuador or plan to buy one as a home and or investment) go ahead, send me an email to acordova@gcabogados.com

Dr. Andres Cordova

Ecuador Opportunity

There is new Ecuador real estate opportunity.

After many years of real estate appreciation, Ecuador property prices began to slow.  There are numbers of reasons why there has been a slowdown including added tax, a slowing of numbers of new expats and an abundant supply of residential properties.  This slowdown means that bargains are beginning to appear.

If you visit and look at real estate, be sure to choose an attorney you trust.  Be sure to select an Ecuador attorney who is qualified to provide a US title insurance policy on property you buy.

I recommend our friend and coastal real estate attorney of more than a decade, Floridalva Zambrano.  Flori has helped us in dozens of buy and sell transactions and we have been happy every time.

Her law firm, Zambrano and Associates, was established in 2000, and provides legal advice in real estate, immigration, corporation, and civil law.


Zambrano & Associates.

Flori specializes in Corporate law and has over sixteen years of experience in real estate and immigration.  She is fully bilingual (English-Spanish), and has knowledge of German.  Flori spent several years studying at an American university so she understands the North American culture well.

For the past seven years, Flori has been one of a few Ecuador attorneys authorized by First American Title Insurance Company to do title searches and to provide this title Company with her legal opinion on properties for which owners or buyers wanted to obtain title insurance.

You can learn full details about Flori’s firm here.


Capaes – Ecuador Beach Property

Our friend and Ecuador attorney, Dr. Andres Cordova, sent this advertisement for an Ecuador beach property for sale.


ecuador beach

Enjoy the spectacular ocean breeze, the soothing sound of waves lapping against the shore and stunning sunsets.

Enjoy this and more in the comfort of your new home in Capaes.

ecuador beach

Walk down the beach and feel the soft sand under your feet.  Make plans with your newfound friends and have a great time.

Located just minutes from Salinas and multiple complimentary attractions, Capaes is a gated community that offers security and privacy, beach access and private communal pool.

ecuador beach

This property is selling at a very special price.  To learn more please contact: KIMBERLY KAGAN

Live Wherever You Choose – Earn Around the World by Writing to Sell

Would you like to live on a beach… and work from home reaching clients all over the world?


Anchor of Value

Our secret investing weapon has been a personal anchor of value.

See how that anchor helped me buy this manor house in the Cotswold.

gary-scott-in Gloucestershire

This huge, old manor house, built over a century,beginning in the 1700s… had wonderful views and our next door neighbor was Princess Anne at Gatcomb Park.  Buying it was a pretty big step for a middle class American from Rockwood Oregon, but I was able to do so due to my anchor of value.

Recently as part of our 50th year anniversary I was interviewed on an investment webinar and the moderator asked me this question:

There are a lot of real estate investors who have been successful buying, selling and holding real estate in their own backyards.  A few have been successful investing in 2-3 markets in the USA.

But it is rare to find a successful real estate investor who has been investing in real estate all over the world.

And even more rare to find a real estate investor who has been successfully investing all over the world for FIFTY (50) years!

You are that guy!  What’s the secret?

My secret to freedom has been to use an anchor of value that I developed to invest in American residential real estate.  Though I created this anchor in the 1960s it has helped me invest in real estate, stocks, bonds and business around the world to this day.

The philosophy behind this strategy and tactics can be used to create your own anchor for investing in shares, bonds, currencies or commodities  as well as real estate.

Let’s look at value first.  The anchor helps me understand that I am investing for profit, not to be right. 

Based on the “profit rather than pride” principle  there are two (and only two) reasons why we invest in real estate.   To rent for income or to resell the property for more than we had invested.

Based on this reasoning, there are three ways to spot value in residential property.

#1: The first way to spot value is based on how much NET income can the property generate after taxes, insurance, maintenance and management costs.

#2: The second method is based on relative comparables.  Calculate how much similar properties in the area are selling for.  Also find out how much similar properties in other areas are selling for.

#3: The third method is to calculate how much a property would cost to replace with new construction.

What is the anchor?

We can build an understanding of residential value by understanding the monthly mortgage payment or rent a buyer or renter can pay.  In the USA, for example, the typical bank limit on monthly mortgage payments is about 28 percent of your gross monthly income.  Banks generally will let a borrower devote up to 28 percent of their household income in a mortgage payment and expenses (including taxes, insurance and HOA dues).

If there are many families in an area who earn an average of $4,000 a month, then this will be a good market for rentals at $1,000 a month.

This simple formula provides a basis from which all dependable value can be measured.   This is the science of the valuation.

Using this approach, years ago, Merri and I have been able to spot dozens of contrasts, distortions & trends in real estate value, everywhere.

An added factor to add into the mix is appeal.  You could call appeal the art of the valuation.

Sometimes an investment can be a really good value, but a hard sell.  The best investments are underpinned by appealing good value products and services.

Investing in what you know (and  enjoy) helps you understand appeal and makes it easier to mesh the art and the science of valuation.

For example, Merri’s and my background have a lot in common.  Merri’s formative years were in Georgia and mine in Oregon.  There were many differences between these states.  Yet as baby boomers we have much in common.  We saw the same shows on TV, Howdy Doody, the Cisco Kid, Ed Sullivan, Gunsmoke. Roy Rogers, etc.  We read the same books in school such as the Bridge over San Luis Rey, the Red Badge of Courage.  We saw the same movies, heard the same radio , listened to the same Golden Oldies, read the same news, the same magazines, so it is not surprising that our tastes are pretty much the same.

The fact we are NOT special gives us the ability to understand appeal.  There are 60 million baby boomers who have that same background.  This gives us confidence that if we like a house, others will like it as well.  This gives us good judgement (from an investing point of view) when it comes to appeal.

Our strategy is to buy houses that appeal to us which have a reasonable potential to return a decent income (and likely appreciate) based on rent in the $1000 a month range.

For example, we recently looked at a nice house just offered and with access to a wonderful lake, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, in very good shape with an asking price of $169,000.  The house fit the $1,000 profile and because it had a very nice guest cottage as well, meant we could likely charge $1,200 a month rent.  Merri and I looked the place over and felt just fine offering $140,000, knowing we could go up to $145,000.

How did we come to such a price?

The math worked like this.  The house will rent for $1,200 a month.  The rental market is strong and at this price it will rent quickly.  That creates an income of  $14,400 a year.  Our target ratio of price to rent is 10%.  We want a 10% cash flow, so $14,400 a year rent justifies a $14,400 price.

First, the area where we are buying is in a bit of a bubble.  Prices have started to rise beyond a reasonable expectation of return.  We did not think the house would rent for $1,300 or $1,400 a month so we were not willing to rise to the $169,000 price.

We did not get that house.  In fact this was the fifth house in a row on which we were outbid.  Because faith is vital to successful investing, we need to stick to our strategy, and our strategy is based around that 10% cash flow.  That percentage is sufficient to give us a reasonable return on our investment.

Just because everyone else is paying too much for houses, does not mean we should make this error as well.

Anchors of value help us remain logical so we don’t invest in trends that are turning into bubbles.  Anchors of value help us avoid giving back profits because we stayed in a trend for too long.

For example, my real estate anchor of value first created in Portland, Oregon in the 1960s helped me successfully understand good real estate trends in Hong Kong, Fiji and London, then the Isle of Man, Naples, Dominican Republic and Ecuador and eventually led Merri and me to invest in Smalltown USA in Mount Dora, Florida.

Real estate has always been in our blood.  I do not know why but by the age 21, I had already built a $2,000 windfall into seven duplexes and a house  on 14th Ave (mortgaged then to the hilt) in the small town of Gresham, Oregon.  I could have continued to buy, sell and rent real estate in Oregon but the wanderlust bug bit me and when I was offered a job to sell mutual funds in Hong Kong, I began to travel throughout Asia.

Owning those duplexes and that house left me with an anchor of value.  I understood rents (at that time the 1960s) from $125 in Smalltown USA to $250 a month in cities.

When I arrived in Hong Kong in 1968 real estate rentals were about the same as in downtown Portland.

Fear had created good value in Hong Kong.  In 1968 there were communist riots and bombs being set off in the streets.  The first day I arrived a motorcycle policeman had his leg blown off by a terrorist bomb.  The Chinese army was massed on the border and there were continual talks about an invasion. Hong Kong businessmen were fleeing.  Real estate was literally being given away.

Life went on.  We all figured out the fastest route to the British and American war ships in the harbor for a quick exit in case the Chinese decided to invade.  We watched out for boxes in the street that could be bombs.  Then we just got busy with life, working and earning so we could pay our rent.

I rented a huge apartment on Shouson Hill Road overlooking the ocean and the village of Aberdeen.  The owner wanted to sell this block of apartments but I had no money or experience then.  He was so desperate that he made a deal.  Instead of paying him $250 a month rent I invested $250 into mutual funds for him.

Then in 1970 the company I worked for sent me to London to spend a year at its headquarters developing a European sales training program.  I rented a nice house near Golders Green tube station on Finchley Road.  The rent was the equivalent of $250 a month.

In 1971 I was moved to work in San Francisco and I purchased a home in Petaluma, California.


I bought this house in Petaluma California for $33,000 and assumed a 5% GI mortgage. Payments were about $175 a month.

In 1972 I returned and worked in Hong Kong for another four years.

The early 1970s was a time of serious inflation.  During that time I watched the prices and rents of real estate at the duplexes in Gresham, the house in Petaluma, and especially in Hong Kong rise… a lot!

In 1976, when I moved from Hong Kong back to London and noticed that London real estate was priced about the same as it had been in 1970.  This puzzled me. Why had London property prices remained flat despite inflation?

On investigation, I learned that there had been a huge real estate crash in 1970 continued to distort and dampen real estate prices six years later despite the rampant global inflation.  The British pound had also collapsed dropping 35% versus the U.S. dollar from 2.4 dollars per pound to a new all time low of 1.52 dollars per pound and at one point hit a low of one dollar per pound.  To my way of thinking, London houses, which I thought were already very cheap by world standards, just became 35% cheaper.


The house in Bedford Park.

I could not resist and began property shopping and eventually bought a five bedroom house in Bedford Park in West London. I made a 10,000 pound down payment and took a 25,000 pound loan to meet the 35,000 pound asking price.

First, I was right. London property had been under priced.  I was able to sell the house four years later for 115,000 Pounds.  I made a profit of 80,000 pounds.  But the currency change helped enormously too.  The pound had risen to over 2.2 dollars per pound.  My 80,000 pound profit was now worth $215,000.

I was willing to make this  purchase because I could rely on a mental anchor of value… a residential property that a working person could rent in the $250 a month range.  I was investing in what I knew and was comfortable with.

Manx real estate came next.  In the 1980s I had an offshore corporate formation business and noticed that Isle of Man overseas companies were as good as Jersey and Guernsey structures, but cost less than half.  This led me to believe that the Isle of Man would increase in popularity as a financial center.  While visiting, Merri and I discovered that a long depression had forced over 2,000 properties onto the Island real estate market (population was only 60,000).  We began taking real estate buying tours to the Isle of Man because rents and house prices were so low.  Some delegates purchased remodeled beach front condos for $12,000.

Then while conducting a seminar in Florida, we saw that real estate in Naples, Florida was much less expensive than on the East Coast of Florida.  Rents in Miami  and Ft. Lauderdale seemed really high to us, but Naples prices were much lower.  Merri had been living in Naples for some time and found a wonderful old large house just off the beach.  We bought it for a song (compared to the price we sold it for!)

Naples prices skyrocketed while we were living there and in 1995 we visited Ecuador.  Merri and I saw Ecuadorian beach front lots that would cost two million dollars in Naples that were selling for $5,000.   We saw we could buy a house on Ecuador’s beach for a price that we understood and were comfortable with.

Cotacachi hotel El Meson de las Flores

A hotel we purchased in Ecuador.

By 2009 Ecuador prices has skyrocketed and Florida real estate faltered.  We began selling out our Ecuador real estate and buying again in Florida.

In Florida we saw great rental value.  We also wanted to live closer to our children and grandchildren.  We knew that studies had shown that 80% of adults 45 and older believe it is important to live near their children and grandchildren.  Those 60 million people, just like us, were thinking differently about where they would buy and/or rent a home.

We selected Mt. Dora as a small town to buy rental real estate for numerous reasons, but the first feature was its proximity to our daughter and grandson.

I can look back through this 50 year travel and real estate adventure and see that my decisions and investments have all been linked to that original anchor of value.

We live in a turbulent world and can expect rapid change, hidden agendas, huge shifts in communication.  When we are caught in the currents of such rapid shifts, our anchors of value can help us remain steady and secure.


What the Big Banks are Hiding

Seek good value for anything you buy-stocks, bonds, or real estate.  When seeking value, be especially careful about assumptions regarding the price of real estate.  Big banks have been manipulating prices, but we can use simple principles to make sure we do not overpay.

Since 2009 Merri and I have been building an inventory of real estate in Mount Dora.  Our goal was to develop consistent rental income and this has been good, but prices have not risen as fast as we expected, in part due to real estate involvement by big banks.

Wikivia Parkway

From the homepage of the Wikivia Parkway (1), a road map to wealth.

A reader sent this note: Hi Gary, I was just wondering what your opinion is on the current state of the real estate market is in Florida. Do you think now is a good time to buy a house or do you think the markets could correct substantially next year. Another words, is this a good value market right now or should I wait for a correction? I am a little fearful at this time of a possible global crisis because of high worldwide debt, QE, overvalued stock market, etc.  Any insight/ perspective would be greatly appreciated.  Sincerely,

My reply:   This is a location sensitive question and I am not qualified to answer much, other than where we have been buying rental property around Mount Dora in Central Florida.

I have heard that other areas have seen incredible prices rises. I have not seen this so much where we are.  One reason is that big banks continue to hold a very large number of foreclosures that they are slowly releasing.  This stockpiled inventory keeps prices somewhat stable if there is not much activity.  In areas where there is demand, it creates a housing crisis, a bubble in prices just as we saw in 2007.  Prices rise faster and higher than income.  Many reach a stage where they cannot afford a home.

Don’t count too much on bubbles like this continuing.  Our last inspection of property in this area in August 2015 found almost no inventory available in the price range we seek.  We are just back in Florida and we’ll be looking for more property to buy right away.

How can it be that prices remain low and yet there is nothing for sale?  According to the National Association of Realtors, only a small percentage of the homes that were foreclosed on during the downturn have made their way to the market.  Big banks hold a large inventory.   The reason the banks want to own these properties is that they have booked inflated real estate value.  They keep underwater properties rather than sell them and book a loss. This is why some markets have very little inventory.

Here are some of the tips I gave the reader on how to find good real estate value.

First, I suggested he find an area where he wanted to be.   Make this an enjoyable process!  Merri and I chose Lake County first due to its proximity and attractiveness to grandchildren. In addition, we loved the area with wonderful weather, a rural feel, over 1,000 named lakes and plenty of distance from the coast, floods, hurricanes, no state tax, asset protecting homesteads, etc.

Second, look at the big picture.  There are also some macro economics involved in our Mount Dora choice.  Friends close to the Mount Dora city council explained that the population of Mount Dora is expected to double in the next ten years.  We also saw that the Wekivia Parkway expansion project, kept rolling right along through the 2009 recession.  This is a co-op project between  the Florida Department of Transportation, the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) and the Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise.  The Wekiva Parkway (SR 429) would connect to SR 417, completing the beltway around Central Florida, running near Disney World and all its competition while helping to protect the natural resources surrounding the Wekiva River.  This is an estimated $1.6 billion project that just kept on spending during the recession.

“Someone behind those big bucks knows something about the future or they would not keep spending”, was our thought.

Third, use income and yield to gain a clear understanding of value in the real estate market you choose.  We do not base our valuations on recent selling prices.  We base our valuations on the rent that can be earned.  We know who we like as renters and what rent they can afford to pay without stress.  We won’t be drawn into overpaying for houses where rent cannot support a reasonable return.

Look for bargains:  The state of the market is not as important as knowing the market.  There are always real estate bargains whatever the market’s state may be.  This is possible because real estate is not as fungible as equities or precious metals.  A share or an ounce of gold is the same anywhere.  An individual seller’s motives of equities or precious metals does not alter the price.

Every real estate parcel differs and the seller’s motives matter a lot.  We look for property with easily fixed problems where the seller is in a hurry to sell.  In these cases we can buy below current valuations and profitably improve the value of the property.

It is a simple formula.  Study the market carefully where you want to be.  That is what we did.  Clarify what you want and why.  Look at your time horizon.  If you buy well and have a long enough time horizon, a temporary dip  in the market won’t matter.  If properties are selling quickly, then this might not be a good time to buy.  Also keep in mind that real estate is expensive to buy and sell.  This is why we do not like the idea of trying to flip properties.

Big business always seeks advantage in markets so we as individuals have to beware.  The big banks may be once again distorting real estate prices, but using the simple principles above we can be sure that prices we pay for anything offer value.


(1) http://wekivaparkway.com/

Galapagos Beach Property Raw Land for Sale

This is a paid advertisement for a Galapagos beach raw land for sale.

galapagos beach property

Galapagos beach raw land for sale. Click on images to enlarge.

Do you want to buy 816.36 square meters (8,735 square feet)  of beautiful, undeveloped beachfront raw land on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos and be fully compliant with Ecuadorean ownership regulations?

This is raw land. There is no building on the site at present.

My company is a registered Ecuadorean company and is for sale.  The company owns the land and is compliant with all local ownership regulations. Buying the company is an elegant, turnkey way of owning this prime property on the water near the center of town.

The land sits within the local municipality and in the near future should be accessible by boardwalk to the main street.

galapagos beach property

Attached is an Informe de Remedicion documenting the dimensions as well as two maps doing the same.

Documentation is held by my law firm in Quito, Paz Horowitz Abogados, and can be shared with potential buyers.  Please contact me first if you have serious interest at galapbeachfront@gmail.com

The property was sold by “La Sociedad Nacional de Galápagos C.A.” to “Companía RIDRUEJO S.A.”, on October 5th 1988 and registered with public deed No. 296.

The property was sold by “Compañía RIDRUJO S.A.” to “Shizen Del Ecuador S.A.” on June 22nd 2005, and registered with public deed No. 119.

The property is identified as Lot No. 04, block 54, sector Torre de las Iguanas, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristobal.

The property has no liens, which certifies its validity to be sold.

Line of Fabric Certificate, containing the status of the property on the following:

i. Construction separation area is certified for 3 meters on its boundaries.

ii. The zoning of the property is described with the Code: VTB2252

iii. The maximum height for construction is of 5.70 meters.

iv. The maximum floors of the construction is of 2 floors.

v. The percentage of the property that can be used for construction is of

vi. The percentage of usage of the construction is of 134.01%

vii. Services available:

a. Drinking water (NO)
b. Sewage System (NO)
c. Electric (NO)
d. Telephone (YES)
e. Pavement (NO)
f. Curbs (NO)
g. Sidewalk (NO)

galapagos map

galapagos map

galapagos informe de remedicion

Email for more information to galapbeachfront@gmail.com

We DO NOT investigate properties when they are advertised so be sure to complete your due diligence. Always use an independent Ecuador attorney who represents you (not the seller) when you buy real estate in Ecuador. We also recommend that you rent, become familiar with Ecuador before you buy.

Ocean View Lots, 22,000 Sq. Ft. $169K – Gorgeous Land! Across the street from the beach.

Paid Advertisement

Ocean View Lots, 22,000 Square Ft. $169K – Gorgeous Land! Across the street from the beach.

Asking Price:
$169,000 – $175,000 USD

This is a “first notice” announcement on an incredible offer for very large lots of pristine raw land in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador that sits across the street from the beach with a 180 degree panorama of the ocean. Literally, the whales can be seen off the coast from this piece of land.

Here is a great shot of a panorama of the land:

Also, some more photos:
IMG_2221-small IMG_2222-small

PLEASE NOTE: Only 4 of the 6 lots are still available. See image map below for availability. One lot is already beginning construction. It sits perfectly located on the ridge just across from the beach leaving the owners with amazing ocean views and a vertical advantage from the ocean. Directly across from the land is city zoned public beach access with both expat and local neighbors right by.


At 22,000 Square feet, these lots offer owners the option of building not only their own dream home but selling portions of the lot in the future or even developing it for rental space.

Whether looking to build a personal home, invest or develop, we can’t emphasize enough how much we like this offer. The property has already been cleared. We are a full construction and development agency so feel free to discuss construction options and ideas with us. For these lots specifically, we have pre-designed home models as well. Regardless of if you work with us, we can help you with answers surrounding requirements, costs, etc.

A little about Puerto Cayo:
Cayo offers a small town community sense of safety and lets you be about as busy as you choose to. We don’t even have traffic lights here in Cayo. We have a small local grocery store, an abundant fresh produce market and numerous restaurants. Cayo does have a 24/7 medical clinic for anything typical. All in all, anything you need is offered locally. If for some reason you find something specific you need that is not available, it’s a gorgeous and quick drive up the coast to Manta.

The community and people of Puerto Cayo are absolutely wonderful. It’s truly a community that has left us feeling welcomed since we moved here personally. Aside from also owning our own organic farm here, we are involved directly in community relations and helping to just brake ground on Cayo’s first animal rescue center.

As always, we are here to help with even your general issues or questions around Ecuador. Whether it’s for visa services, residency, investment or even travel related, we are happy to help and have dealt with it. We are a family operated business and if we don’t know the answer personally, we’ll help ensure you find the right place to get it.

You might even have caught our House Hunters episode.

Here are some shots to help you get a sense of Puerto Cayo and the community in general.

Cayo in general:

Shot off bluff above town:

Shot off bluff looking at town:

Fisihing boats on the beach in town:

Boardwalk in-town:

Shot of Flamingos off the beach:

We are so happy to have you join us as neighbors in the community and look forward to more great times to come.

Sean Kelly
PuertoCayo.com Family owned and operated Realty & Development
From the USA: (310) 584 – 7221
From within Ecuador: 0994-436-094



We DO NOT investigate properties when they are advertised so be sure to complete your due diligence. Always use an independent Ecuador attorney who represents you (not the seller) when you buy real estate in Ecuador. We also recommend that you rent, become familiar with Ecuador before you buy.

Ecuador Beachfront!! – 3K SqFt Furnished Villa Gated Community $305K

Paid Advertisement

Please note: We just had the only other beachfront villa in Delfin Villas go up for sale. This is a big deal.  Original developers live on-site in the community.

Delfin Villas is an intimate gated community of only seven luxury villas on the beach in walking distance to town.


Here are the floor by floor renderings:
* First floor: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3427932/PB%20casa%202.png
* Second Floor: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3427932/P2%20casa%202.png
* Third floor: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3427932/P3%20casa%202.png

You can see it on the map here:

The villa rents on a yearly basis at $1,800 per/month and on a vacation basis at the following:
$125 per/night
$750 per/week
$2,500 per/month

Here are also some general shots of ours which is next door to give you an idea.

Notes on Delfin Villas:
– Intimate Beachfront community of only seven homes
– All homes are brand-new and fully modern
– 180 degree ocean panorama view from all floors
– 360 degree rooftop views
– 2,400 sq. ft homes
– 40G electric water heaters
– Fully pressurized water system
– Tempered glass bathrooms
– walk-in closets
– Dual clam dish sinks and oversized tubs
– 4 full bathrooms
– Granite countertops
– Porcelain tiling
– Generator connection ready
– Pre-wired for digital cable and internet in all rooms
– Master bedroom walk-in closets
– City water connections
– Subterranean connections

The villa being furnished means it already includes:
It is currently being rented so contains all items necessary to serve as a daily home.
– AC units
– Appliances (gas stove, oven, fridge)
– Furniture
– Custom made beds
– Linens, towels
– washer/dryer
– DirectTV is installed and working
– Internet installed, working on all floors

Untitled-1 Untitled-3

This is an already incoming-producing property. It currently has vacation rentals booked until April and then in May, there is a one-year rental that is already booked. This could be considered beneficial if the villa is not intended to be your full time home.

Along with living in the community, we manage the HOA ($170 per/month) and provide property management for some of the homes. My wife and I have an organic farm here, work with the Puerto Cayo community and are proud to have just broken ground on the first animal rescue center here.

The original Delfin Villas website can be seen here:

Here are some images to give you a sense of cayo:

Shot off bluff above town:

Shot off bluff looking at town:

Fisihing boats on the beach in town:

Boardwalk in-town:

Shot of Flamingos off the beach: (taken right in front of the villas)

At this point, we’ve dealt with pretty much everything so feel free to bend the ear even around general questions about Ecuador.

Sean Kelly
PuertoCayo.com Family owned and operated Realty & Development
From the USA: (310) 584 – 7221
From within Ecuador: 0994-436-094



We DO NOT investigate properties when they are advertised so be sure to complete your due diligence. Always use an independent Ecuador attorney who represents you (not the seller) when you buy real estate in Ecuador. We also recommend that you rent, become familiar with Ecuador before you buy.