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Top 5 Misconceptions on Buying Real Estate in Belize

Posted by Chris Williams on Jun 1, 2019, 7:25:00 AM

Belize is rapidly becoming a top destination for North American investors who are looking to purchase vacation homes and for retirees who are choosing to live out their golden years in a tropical destination. There’s no doubt that Belize presents a smart and rewarding investment opportunity for those who want to buy in early, especially as its status as an up and coming travel destination continues to rise in the ranks.

Robb Report, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, and others have recently named Belize as a top Caribbean destination for 2019, and for good reason. English is the country’s official language, it’s only a 2-hour flight from major U.S. cities, very close to Mexico, and US Dollars are accepted everywhere because Belizean currency is pegged to the USD. Belize is also one of the few safe, tropical destinations that has preserved its gorgeous environment, unique wildlife, and exotic culture.

On the real estate side, Belize offers several attractive benefits to home buyers. All real estate contracts are in English, there are low property taxes, and no estate or capital gains taxes. Additionally, assets are protected by British Common Law, and the country allows 100 percent foreign ownership of properties and businesses.

If you’re considering investing in Belize real estate, there are some essential things to know, especially as there are a few misconceptions on the home buying process and how it differs from buying property in the U.S.

Top 5 Misconceptions on Buying Property in Belize

1. All home listings are aggregated on an MLS-like service.

When you’re in the market to buy a home in the States, it’s pretty quick and simple to get a list of homes in your desired area and budget by using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This a public database which shows you all the homes for sale, how long they’ve been on the market, its asking price, what homes have sold for, and more.

Unfortunately, no such service exists in Belize. Obtaining a list of homes that meet your buying needs, even if you’re working with a local realtor, is not as easy. It takes time, research, and networking to find the potential homes you may be interested in buying.

2. There is financing available to purchase a home.

Obtaining a loan or mortgage to purchase a home in Belize is tricky and not readily available. Because the majority of Belize real estate transactions take place with US dollars, local financing is not applicable in most cases, as domestic borrowing is only permitted in Belize dollars.

If purchasing real estate with all cash is not an option for you, you may be able to borrow through a Belizean offshore banking institution. Interest rates tend to be around 12 percent, but most offshore banks do require a high degree of collateralization.

The good news is that Belize property owners usually agree to property financing at a negotiable rate, which is more favorable than what the local banks would offer, and in about the same range of what the offshore banks provide.

3. It’s difficult for foreigners to own property in Belize.

Compared to other countries, it’s actually quite easy to own a home or property in Belize. Foreigners have the same rights as Belizean citizens when it comes to property ownership. This includes a fee simple title, meaning that you would own your property without any restrictions or conditions.

Previously, Belize had an Alien Landholding Act which regulated foreigner land holding and laid out specific conditions which must be met. However, that act was abolished in 2001, so there are currently no restrictions for foreigners buying and owning real estate here.

4. Homeowners can obtain title insurance.

When purchasing real estate in North America, buyers typically work with a title insurance company that identifies any existing defects in the property title that need to be corrected by the seller before the buyer purchases the property.

In Belize, the only way to research a title is by using a local real estate lawyer or realtor to determine that the title is good, clear, and equitable. Title insurance is available to buyers after the initial research is conducted. However, it's not always necessary, primarily if you were already issued a title opinion through a Belize attorney.

5. Belize real estate is cheap.

Real estate prices in Belize vary throughout the country, but one thing’s for sure – home prices are not nearly as cheap as they were 10 years ago. Not surprisingly, as Belize has gained in popularity as a tourist destination, its home prices have increased as well.

There are many beachfront homes or homes that close to the water, and/or located in nice communities that are built to North American standards with the modern finishes that expats and vacation homeowners are used to back home. With these high-end amenities comes a higher price tag. Therefore, saying that real estate in Belize in cheap, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Why buy real estate at Orchid Bay, Belize?

Located in northern Belize and developed by Legacy Global Development, Orchid Bay is a gated, master-planned community situated on a 114-acre site in the Bay of Chetumal. It combines North American comforts with a spectacular Caribbean setting. The development was influenced by innovations in community design that reveal small-town accessibility, connectivity, and convenience — all with respect to the natural environment. The master plan calls for a series of canals and basins for easy navigation around the community, first world infrastructure, and 10 percent green space set aside.

Buyers have many types of homes to choose from as the community is comprised of Beachfront Condominiums, Casitas, Waterway Villas, Bungalows, and home sites and lots where Orchid Bay home buyers can build their own custom home. On-site amenities include the Tradewinds Beach Club and Restaurant, as well as a grocery store and medical clinic, both of which will are projected to open in the future. Orchid Bay offers many activities and tours for its residents, all with easy access to the best of Belize.

Orchid Bay also provides buyers with an optional financing plan called the Paradise Payment Program. Terms include an affordable down payment and monthly payments as low as $999. This program makes owning a home in Belize highly accessible and practical.

To learn more about the Orchid Bay, Belize, call (877) 959-9646 or email hello@legacyglobaldevelopment.com.

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