Rent or Buy in Cuenca?

For most of us, deciding to become an expat in Cuenca is an easy choice.  Great prices, nice people, and year round good weather are all things that are hard to resist.  But moving to Cuenca, Ecuador is only the first of many decisions you will face on the way to establishing your new home abroad.  In this article we will discuss one of the most important decisions you will have to make when you arrive in Cuenca:  Rent . . . or Buy?

The real estate market in Cuenca, Ecuador is very different from real estate markets in the United States or Europe.  You must make sure you have a solid game plan in place so you navigate these new waters safely.

Both the rental and for-sale markets have advantages and disadvantages to you as a new arrival.  Let’s consider some of the Pros and Cons:

Buying in Cuenca

Pros of Buying

Investment: When you purchase a property in Cuenca, you are investing your money in a real asset that is far less susceptible to the fluctuations of world financial and currency markets than other investments like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or cash.

Improving your home: Another advantage of buying property is that you have the freedom to make modifications to your home as you like without needing to ask permission from a landlord.  These modifications can often add value to a home and as the owner, you will benefit from an increase in the property value of your home.

Easier Fulfillment of Visa Requirements: Buying real estate in Cuenca can make it easier for you to fulfill residency visa requirements.  If you are sure Cuenca is right for you, having a property can make the paperwork process go a bit faster.

Cons of Buying

Not liquid: Once you purchase a home, the money you spent will be more difficult to move if you change your mind.  While owning property in Cuenca is a fairly safe and stable investment, you no longer have the flexibility of liquid assets.

Harder to Move: If you decided to move down the line you may need to sell the property, which can slow your movements.  In Cuenca, the home sales process often takes months, even in the best possible scenarios.  You can help your future cause by taking the time to carefully evaluate the property you are buying and its future resale value

Renting in Cuenca

Cons of Renting

More frequent moving: If you choose to rent for the short term you must prepare for the possibility of moving a few times.  You might rent a house for a few months and then decide that a condo is more to your liking.  Or, you may try out several different neighborhoods before discovering the one you like best.  You will want to use each experience to learn more about your ideal living situation in Cuenca.

Not an Investment: When you rent, the money you spend does not create equity for you.  Rent to own arrangements are a foreign concept here and are almost never used.  As a result, some expats feel that they should buy as soon as possible.  Just remember that it takes time settle in and it is worth the time and money to make sure you know what and where you are buying.

Pros of Renting

Small Financial Commitment: Rental rates in Cuenca are very reasonable compared to most places in the US.  As a rule, you can rent a place here for 25% – 50% of what you would pay for an equivalent rental in urban US markets.

Adjust to Life in Cuenca: For most of us, Cuenca is quite a bit different from where we spent most of our lives.  By renting a house, condo, or apartment you give yourself time to get familiar with Cuenca and the local culture before making a large financial commitment.  If this is your first attempt at living outside of your home country it is helpful to have a low risk way to get a feel for how you like living overseas.

Learn the City: Not all neighborhoods in Cuenca are created equal, and your perspective matters too.  Renting will give you the chance to explore the city and choose which areas you like the best.  If you later decide to buy property, you can narrow your search to your favorite neighborhoods.

For those who do not plan to purchase property in Cuenca, you can take advantage of great rental rates that will allow you to be comfortable and in most cases increase your standard of living.

Even for those who are planning to buy real estate in Cuenca, we feel that renting for 3 -12 months before you choose your permanent home is a smart way to go.  The knowledge that you gain in the months that you choose to rent will offset the minor costs that you incur while renting a property in Cuenca.  You will have the chance to experience regular daily life in Cuenca and get used to your new surroundings.  You can take the time to explore the various neighborhoods, so that when you decide to buy you can be confident that you have chosen a location that will suit you for a long time.

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17 Responses to Rent or Buy in Cuenca?

  1. Ray Crawford says:

    This is an old thread but I hope you still respond. I have the same problem as Bill and Carmen. My wife and I will be visiting Cuenca this summer with the intent of checking out the rental market. We have two well behaved and well trained large dogs and from previous comments it looks like we may have a problem (which is good to know in advance). I will be in contact with you. Thanks.


    • CCstaff says:


      It can be a challenge to find owner that will allow pets especially large dogs. There are some however and if you are willing to look at unfurnished houses, you will have better success. Owners will often allow pets in properties that have a small yard.

  2. We are a couple in the mid 60’s planing in moving to Cuenca by middle/end of 2012. If we found place we will feel confortable we want a one or longer lease. We need a very nice 2 or 3 bedroom with a separate laundry area in a high rise condo/apartment. The difficult part I have found is that most very nice condos/apartments do not want pets. I have 3 adult and very well behave cats that are consider as our kits and they will move with us, that is why I need a separate laundry area and we do not mind paying for pet deposit. Also we need the kitchen with mayor appliances, furniture we will ship some and purchase some once we move there.
    Is this search an impossible on?
    Appreciate any comments you can share.

    • CCstaff says:

      Hi Carm,

      Your search is not impossible, but you may need to plan a longer window to find a quality place that will take pets. Unfortunately you are correct that many of the nicer buildings in Cuenca have housing association rules that are swinging toward pet bans for renters in the buildings (owners often have separate rules.) Reach out 2 or three months before your set arrival date and we will see what we can do.

      CC Staff

  3. Pingback: Picking A Neighborhood That Will Be Good For Resale Value « Can You Be Sure….

  4. Cesar Velasco says:


    Weeks ago, I signed up for you weekly newsletter. So far, I haven’t received an update. Is there something I can do different to be able to get to an updated listing of what’s available in Cuenca? I plan to move in a few months and am interested in finding out which site has the best listing of what’s available. Knowing this makes it easier to choose whos services to use before I get there. Below is the website I have for you, however the listing never changes whenever I check. Can you send me a link that has the most current available listings? Thank you in advance.


    • CCstaff says:

      Dear Cesar,

      I will be happy to check on the available of the units that meet your requirements. Please let me know when you have your plane tickets and know your exact date of arrival. At that point I will be able to help you the best.


  5. Caesar says:

    I’m leaving for Cuenca in July or September, at the latest. I’m looking for an unfurnished, two bedroom condo to rent for 12 months. Is it possible for you to send me a list of what may be available around this frame. Thank you in advance for you prompt reply. czr

  6. Gayle B says:

    I am interested in moving to Ecuador, but would like to meet someone once i arrive to help me learn my way around. I will want to rent a place 1st then come back and prepare to relocate. Is there someone who could assist me?

  7. Robin Johnstone says:

    I’m thinking of relocating to Cuenca, and will probably rent at first. I have an internet-dependent business that I run from my home office. “High-speed internet” is a term that can mean almost anything — from “barely faster than dial-up” to 50 mb/sec. What’s the range of download speeds available in Cuenca, and is it possible to know beforehand how fast an internet connection will be before I rent. Also, what’s the range of costs for internet service?

    • CCstaff says:

      True… there is a substantial range that needs to be considered when it comes to internet speeds. I might not have the absolute most recent numbers right off hand but I have seen advertised speeds ranging from about 250 kb to 3000 kb. The price range would be something like $18 – $90 but those numbers are not exact as there are multiple companies with different plans and prices. These plans also seem to be changing every couple of months. I am currently paying $35 for 1100 kb/sec. A year and a half ago this same speed from ETAPA cost over $100.

      Hope that helped.

  8. Graham says:

    Do you handle rental properties in areas outside of Cuenca – outside of the city proper, or perhaps in a smaller town near by? In general, would one expect that these properties would be lower in costs for like amenities? Is the internet generally available in areas outside of a larger city as Cuenca? And one more – are rental properties available on a lease term, other than month-to-month? Thanks.

    • CCstaff says:

      Dear Graham,

      Our service area for rental properties in Cuenca is within 20 mins of the city. Properties in the country tend to be quite different from those in town and therefore it is hard to compare prices on a comparable place in the city. I.E. There are not many large haciendas in Centro.

      Internet can now reach most of our service area.

      We generally work with longer lease terms of 12, 6, and sometimes 3 months.

  9. Gary Vail says:

    Interesting information.. I’m planning to visit Cuenca in August. Do you have some suggestions for a reasonable rental for 3 months?


  10. Gary Gaither says:

    Excellent advise! We followed a similar plan, focusing on exploring potential neighborhoods and looked at dozens of properties. Michael and you were very helpful and so were your websites. Muchas Gracias. Gary

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