Buying Real Estate in Belize
The real estate market in Belize continues to be hot as more and more European and North American residents decide to invest. Whether you’re buying a property as an investment or as a place to live, it’s important to have an overview of how to buy real estate in Belize. The first thing to know is that buying real estate in Belize is very similar to buying real estate in North America.
Where to Begin
When you start the process of buying property in Belize, the first step is to begin searching current property listings. Places to find those listings include local realtor websites and bank foreclosure listings. Registered realtor names are available via the website for the Association of Real Estate Brokers in Belize. Another way to search is to explore the country and talk to the locals. Not all properties are listed by realtors.
The next step is to decide exactly what you’re looking for within your budget. Belize has a wide range of real estate options, so it’s important to know what you want. If you want something burrowed in a rural hilly area, then the Cayo District might be a good choice. If your dream is to have something near the beach, then consider Placencia or Ambergris Caye. If absorbing local culture is your goal, then places like the Corozal District might be the perfect fit.
Seal the Deal
Once you’ve located a property that fits your needs and budget, it’s time to make a purchase offer. The realtor you’re working with will write up an Offer to Purchase form, which includes the property’s legal description, a purchase price, plus the details for the buyer and seller. You will then add your signature to make it official.
If your offer to purchase is accepted, then you can move onto the next step of providing a deposit. If your offer isn’t initially accepted, then you will have to negotiate based on the seller’s counter-offer. Once you have a signed-around agreement, you can then put down a goodwill deposit.
From here, you should generally hire a real estate lawyer to conduct a title search on the property. This can save you a lot of stress as it discovers whether the property has any liens, unpaid taxes or the like. A lawyer fee is usually between one and three percent of the sale price.
After the title search is finished and confirmed, then your lawyer will write up a more detailed version of the purchase offer, which is called a purchase agreement. After this is accepted and signed, it’s time to fully pay the purchase price. This can either happen via a bank loan or through wiring cash.
Once the property is paid for, then you can pay the five percent stamp duty fee to the Belize government to put the property title in your name. This fee is based on an evaluation and not necessarily the purchase price. Finally, you can then get the title transferred and it should take around 30 to 60 days.
You now own a piece of Belize real estate!
Written by: Larry Waight