Key Questions to Ask Before Buying Real Estate in Belize
Many people have a lot of questions about buying real estate in Belize, but the good news is that the process is rather simple and transparent. Belize is a former British colony and its current legal system is based on British Common law.
There are no restrictions or limitations on foreign ownership of real estate, and buyers can obtain a freehold title to property in one of three ways:
Deed of Conveyance
This is the oldest form of title ownership in Belize, but is rarely used anymore. Most Deeds of Conveyance have now been converted to a Certificate of Title.
Transfer of Certificate of Title
This document attests to the physical title of a specific piece of land and is the securest form of land ownership but transferring a Certificate of Title can be a lengthy and expensive process.
A Land Certificate
A Land Certificate is an absolute title and is granted to real estate with no previous (private) owner such as land previously owned by the government. Belize is currently in the process of harmonizing all their property records in order to create a uniform system of land ownership.
Buying Real Estate
In Belize, title insurance is not mandatory when buying real estate, however, it is available. Closing costs in Belize are very low primarily because the country imposes no capital gains taxes. Once you’ve identified a property you want to buy, you will need to submit an Offer to Purchase letter.
For real estate purchased valued in excess of $10,000, the government imposes a 5% stamp tax based on the government’s evaluation of the property’s value, which must be paid at the time the title is transferred. It generally takes between 30-60 days for a title to be transferred.
The official currency in the Belize dollar (BZD), which is permanently pegged to the American dollar at 2:1 (two BZD equals 1 USD). In Belize, property can be purchased with either BZD or USD.
For real estate purchasers using other currencies, however, it is essential to understand that there will be fluctuations in the exchange rate as the Belize dollar is only pegged to the American dollar. Therefore, most foreign purchasers rely on U.S. dollar-denominated accounts to buy property in Belize.
If you’re interested in purchasing real estate in Belize, contact Orchid Bay. A master-planned, gated community in northern Belize located on the sunny shores of Chetumal Bay, Orchid Bay has homes, casitas, villas, condominiums, and undeveloped lots for sale at very attractive prices.