Is it safe to buy property in Belize?
Belize is becoming an increasingly popular destination for retirees and investors from the United States and Canada.
The warm climate, English-speaking populace and local currency anchored to the American dollar combine to help make it an attractive destination. However, considering the reputation of some other countries in the area, prospective investors and retirees may have questions on the safety of buying property in Belize.
The good news is that Belize is very different from some of its neighbors in several ways. Unlike Costa Rica or Mexico, for example, Belize has English as its main language. That means that any documents involved in a real estate transaction will all be in English, which eliminates the need for buyers to go through translators and depend on them to provide accurate advice.
The property-buying process in Belize is also quite similar to how it works in Canada and the United States. After a price is negotiated, a standard title search is conducted to facilitate the transaction. Paperwork and funding can generally be remotely handled through email, Fedex and online banking , which reduces the need to be physically present in Belize to go through the buying process.
Further, foreigners are not limited in how they buy, rent or sell real estate in Belize. Property taxes are quite low and are usually less than $100 annually on a home. Belize also does not impose capital gains tax or inheritance tax.
The steps to a safe real estate transaction in Belize are as follows:
- Hire a professional, experienced and proven real estate firm
- Have a purchase agreement written up with terms for the transfer
- Order a title search through a real estate closing firm or lawyer
- Make an Earnest money and closing cost payment through a lawyer’s escrow account or a real estate agent’s escrow account
- Complete the closing documents with the attorney or closing company and have all parties sign and provide notarized copies of all passports
- Wire balance of funds to the escrow account including the 8% stamp duty ( transfer tax)
- The attorney or closing company closes the transaction at the government’s Lands Department in Belmopan. Receipts and proof of transfer is provided to all parties.
- Welcome to Belize!
Sellers in Belize pay the property taxes and real estate commissions, while the buyer pays all the other fees, which includes closing costs , stamp duty, registration, real estate expense and any other applicable charges (all costs total 1% or less and the additional stamp duty is 8% of the price).
It is important for those interested in moving to Belize to obtain expert advice during the purchase process. Boris Mannsfeld & Associates specializes in helping clients who want to move to Belize make the right choice in buying real property.
Boris Mannsfeld & Associates is a premier real estate company that focuses primarily on the area of Placencia in Belize, which is one of the best areas in Belize to live, retire or invest in real estate.