If you’ve been seriously thinking about retiring to somewhere more tropical, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard someone mention Belize. The Caribbean nation’s tourism sector has been booming over the last decade, and that burgeoning market has seen a surprising number of tourists decide to stick around Belize permanently. Fortunately, the market in Belize is far from reaching the saturation point — but that doesn’t mean that you can just buy any random property and hope for the best. This is the expert advice you need to know before you make a purchase.
Resort condos and vacation villas offer the most obvious appeal for retirees, but that’s just scratching the surface of the options available to you. More than 400 islands are sprinkled around the Belize Barrier Reef — the second of its kind in the world — and that includes both developed settlements like Ambergris Caye and islands that are otherwise unsettled. That amount of freedom has made island properties a popular choice for celebrities like Francis Ford Coppola, Leonard DiCaprio, and Bill Gates. But you might be surprised to find how affordable islands in the Caribbean really are.
But you’ll find just as much diversity when you venture further inland. The fishing town of Hopkins Village is unique as the cultural capital of Belize — and it’s particularly well-recognized for being the home of the Afro-Caribbean Garifuna people. The coastal village of Placencia meanwhile, sits on a peninsula that’s 16 miles long but only a half-mile wide. Venture even further into the interior and you’ll find San Ignacio Town — the official gateway to the wild and adventure-rich Cayo District.
Consider Investment Opportunities
The retirement opportunities in Belize are rich, but you shouldn’t neglect the investment opportunities available to you as well. Belize maintains tropical weather with highs in the mid-80s all year long, and even the green season is pleasant for the most part. That means that if you’re looking for a seasonal home in Belize, you can still rent it out without having to worry about missing out on your window of opportunity in paradise.
And the fact is that the investment opportunities extend well beyond simple residential properties. Many investors are finding success by sinking money into cheap land and waiting for government investment in infrastructure — and private investment into real estate — to catch up. Others are recognizing that commercial properties and dedicated investment properties offer a good turnaround with little in the way of risk. That’s doubly true if you can find someone on the ground who knows what they’re talking about. And if you can find an agency like Vista Real Estate, you’ll have someone by your side who can even oversee rental management and property maintenance for you.
Look Into Your Options
The Belize government is eager to bring in new residents, and they’re offering some very enticing incentives to people from abroad. Not only has Belize widely been recognized as a tax shelter, but the country also provides something known as the Qualified Retirement Program that can promise an additional level of financial incentives. It makes the process smoother for expatriates by waiving customs costs on household goods and ensuring you don’t have to pay taxes on income earned outside of the country.
That’s in addition to some financial advantages that come from buying property in Belize even without the QRP. You don’t have to worry about paying capital gains taxes when you own property in Belize, and Belize is one of the few countries where foreigners can own the property outright instead of simply having a long-term lease on your real estate. That means you don’t have to worry about headaches when it comes to dealing with the inheritance of your Belize property. In fact, Belize combines a stable economy with a generous rate of return, so you can do a lot more with a lot less and still have the time of your life.
Find Qualified Assistance
The smartest thing you can do when looking to buy real estate is to get to know someone local. Vista Real Estate can fill that role capably for anyone looking to buy a home in Belize. Their main office may be in Belize City — at the traditional capital of the country — but they have agents throughout Belize. That means that whether you’re looking for an island getaway, a snug condo in the culturally rich town of Dangriga, or a treehouse among the wild Cayo District, they have someone who can provide you with an insider’s look at the ins and outs of the local market.
There is no singular one-size-fits-all solution to real estate, but firms like Vista Real Estate create a standard that allows both agents and customers to thrive. You can be assured that you’ll have the assistance of a passionate and informed local agent that has all the modern resources they need to provide you with the best service possible.
Header Image – Aerial of Belize City, image courtesy Duarte Dellarol.