Belize is a great place for travellers as well as property investment, with no capital gains tax to pay on any profits you make, and property prices increasing year on year. If you're interested in buying a piece of land or a property in this beautiful country, there are some hoops you'll need to jump through, as well as some regulations and costs that you should be aware of. But, overall, the process is reassuringly simple.
Here are the main aspects of buying real estate in Belize that you'll want to consider.
What is the cost of property in Belize?
Property prices vary in Belize. You'll notice that modern apartment developments can cost the same as something similar in the States, whereas buying up plots of land can yield a bargain. Property on the waterfront and in areas that are popular with tourists will usually make for the best investment and are likely to rent out quickly if you decide to go that route.
How can I find a property in Belize?
When you're looking for property, it's easy to be swept up in the excitement of a prospective new home or investment. But be sure to check the credentials of your real estate agent. They are probably legit, but it's better to be safe than sorry, because - like everywhere - there are scammers operating.
The best ways to search for your dream property are:
- Check with reputable real estate agents about properties they currently have available.
- Use online property sites.
- Ask around - word of mouth can be a great way to learn about properties that are on the market.
Although you don't need to be in Belize to close on a property, it's recommended that you view it at least once before proceeding with the purchase.
What are the legal considerations of buying property in Belize?
There's plenty of great news about buying property in Belize, and these are some of the reasons why Belize property is so popular with ex-pats.
- As a foreigner, you'll have the same rights to own property as a native Belizean.
- Purchasing property doesn't require any complicated additional steps - it's just as easy as buying property in the States.
- The documentation will all be in English because that's Belize's primary language.
- The land tax is only 1-1.5% of the property's value, a bargain compared to many other countries.
However, you should make sure, before you complete the purchase of any property, that you:
- Budget for the Government Land Transfer Tax of 5% to 8% of the property's value.
- Check that the person selling the property is the legal owner - otherwise, this can cause big problems down the line.
- Check the regulations on the development of any land you intend to purchase because Belize has very strict environmental laws.
- Pay for a property title check, to make sure there aren't any legal disputes attached to it. This shouldn't cost any more than USD$250.
- If you're purchasing a condo, it will be subject to strata titling principles. This gives each unit a freehold title, which is purchased along with the condo.
- Although it will cost extra dollars, do use an accredited attorney and real estate agent to process your transaction, as they will be able to check all the documentation is legally watertight.
How long does it take to purchase property in Belize?
Once you've found your property and have instructed an attorney and real estate agent, the purchasing process shouldn't take too long. Usually, 30 to 90 days is a good ballpark estimate.
And then - the job is done - welcome to property ownership in Belize!