Buying a Property in Belize
Belize is a popular retirement destination for foreign nationals coming from the United States and the United Kingdom mostly because it is the only English-speaking Central American country with strong ties to the UK, and simply because of the country’s spectacular beauty and good weather conditions.
In general, Belize has no restrictions on foreign nationals buying a property in the country. Foreigners do not even need to ask permission from the government or acquire any form of license to proceed with a purchase agreement, thus making the process quite straightforward and uncomplicated. The only exception is the purchase of islands, which require the approval of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Immigration.
Process of Buying a Property
A 10% security deposit is required from the buyer to buy a property in Belize. Once it is paid, transferring the property into the foreign national’s name will be processed. The remaining balance must then be paid either with pre-arranged mortgage readily-available funds.
The registration of the Belizean property takes about four to twelve weeks and must be processed at the Government Lands Department. Property buyers are also required to pay a stamp duty on any real estate they purchase. It is equivalent to 5% of the property’s price over and above the equivalent of US$10,000. Expats must also pay relevant fees when registering a new title deed for a property.
Popular Real Estate Locations
Belize is overflowing with breath taking neighbourhoods where expats can find the right property that’ll fit their needs and budget. As with any destination abroad, there are always several places that stand out.
Some of the most popular real-estate locations in Belize are:
- Orchid Bay
- San Ignacio
- Belize City
- San Pedro
The costs of properties also differ based on their location and land area but expats can refer to the prices below for an idea:
- Luxury beach front house - €70 to €150 per square foot
- Villa - €18,000 to €20,000
- One-bedroom condo unit (Belize City) - €115,000 to €460,000
- Two-bedroom condo unit with ocean view (city-centre) - €200 to €300 per square foot
Caution Against Scams
Like with any popular destinations abroad, Belize is not free from real estate scams. Most brokers in Belize are North Americans who either took over or bought the agency from a local.
Always ask for a license or Identification when dealing with a real estate agent and make sure that the ‘Title Search’ is conducted only at the Government Land Registry. Title search done via attorney has fee but it should not be more than €250.
It is highly recommended that foreign nationals seek the professional help of a good and reputable lawyer as well as a real estate agent to help them with the property purchasing process, ensuring that it has a clean and clear title, free from liens and encumbrances before finalising any payments.
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