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Brent Carlson was once in the home construction business in the U.S., but that was before he moved to Ecuador and met his wife, Elsa. At first, they bought a plot of beachside land for $80,000 that was big enough for two homes; one for them and one to sell. After that success, though, they decided to go into the construction business and have now been building condominiums along Ecuador’s coastline for a few years. The Carlsons believe Ecuador has a beautiful future, not only for locals but expats who want to come and share the dream. For more on this continue reading the following article from International Living.

The moment I arrived in Ecuador I knew my decision to abandon my old life in the U.S. was the right one. With the shrinking economy and very little chance of scratching out a living in the home building business, it was time for change.

But Ecuador gave me more than I ever could have imagined. Within months, I had met my soul mate.

Elsa was my perfect match. After one year together we were engaged, and soon after we got married. We both love the beach and after some exploring and talking with locals we found an area between Bahia and Canoa. It’s home to some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline I’ve ever seen.

For years I’d been looking for some affordable ocean front where I could build my dream home. I searched and searched, but I could never find anything within budget. I thought it was too late, and that the dream would never happen.

That was before I came to Ecuador.

Elsa and I bought our first piece of property in 2009, right next to the ocean. The tract of land we bought was more than enough to build two homes on—one for us and one to sell—and it came in at $80,000.

As it turned out, that was the start.

Since then, I’ve been building condominiums all along the coast. Right now, we’re on project number three. We never thought we would end up in the condominium construction business but sometimes, you just fall into a niche and you go with it.

My wife Elsa, who spent her whole life in Quito and always wanted to live by the beach, is the real driving force behind our business. She has the ambition and skills to make it all come together.

This country just has so much going for it. One is the wonderful weather, particularly on the coast. It has real seasons but summer doesn’t get too hot, and it comes minus the humidity you find in other countries around the region. But although the weather changes from season to season, it never gets the kind of cold seen in North America.

Then there’s the low cost of living, the friendly locals, the great food…and getting permanent residency is straight forward.

Ecuador is the new “Land of Opportunity,” and it seems like life just gets better by the day.

But it’s not like this lifestyle is only for a select few. Everyone is welcome here. I would encourage you to come for a visit. Discover for yourself just how beautiful it is here 60 miles south of the equator where the living is good even on a budget.

This article was republished with permission from International Living.