|Real Estate Information|
How To Find Your Dream Home In Belize
Shopping for property in Belize is not as simple an undertaking as you might initially expect!
Firstly, estate agents as we know them are non existent! Real estate brokers that do exist are likely to be unlicensed, unregulated and certainly not trained or insured.
Secondly, the majority (and I mean the majority) of property for sale is not advertised!
But with property prices remaining affordable, the quality of property available attractive, the climate beautiful, the people welcoming, the quality of life incredible and the opportunities in Belize plentiful, more and more people need to know HOW they can go about procuring themselves their dream home in Belize.
This article should cover the tips, tricks and important points for your consideration, and go some way to helping you locate and purchase your ideal piece of Belizean real estate!
Part One: House Hunting.
As mentioned, many properties that are for sale often go totally unadvertised.
Sure, there are the occasional adverts in the San Pedro Sun or in the Belize City newspapers and some estate agents exist who keep up to date listings - either available upon request of via their internet sites - but seriously, the majority of properties that are for sale are not advertised - and I'm talking at least three quarters.
The only way to find out what's really available is to travel to Belize and spend time there among the local people and the expats.
You see, properties that are for sale are generally put up by their owners and they often choose to skip the middle man - the real estate broker. Therefore, with no brokers and no signs, the only way you'll learn about what's on the market is to get to know the local people and expats in the particular areas that you're interested in, and via word of mouth you'll begin to hear about what's really available.
As soon as word gets out that you're in the market, chances are you'll be inundated and have more properties and deals to choose from that you can cope with! Be prepared and don't agree to the very first opportunity presented to you!
Part Two: Real Estate Brokers.
Because anyone in Belize can be a real estate broker the quality you come across will vary immensely!
So please be careful - to become an estate agent there is no license needed, no insurance necessary, no experience or training required: therefore what you will find on the whole are expats, hoteliers, shop owners and taxi drivers as estate agents on the side.
Yes there ARE some professional agents who are honest and knowledgeable and whose agency businesses are legitimate, but there are also those out to make a quick killing selling anything and everything to unsuspecting tourists.
Listen to the experiences of others and if someone is recommended to you by a trusted adviser then all the better.
If you do purchase via an agent, commissions in Belize are typically 7% on residential property, and about 10% on land deals - chargeable to the vendor: and in some cases you as the purchaser may be charged for viewing property if it is remote and requires travel expense outlay. Make sure you're aware of any such charges that you may be liable for from the outset.
Part Three: Property Prices.
Despite a steady 20 year appreciation in real estate prices in Belize, property remains attractively priced - especially when comparing prices for similar real estate on sale in America or Western Europe.
There are still bargains plentifully available in this beautiful Central American country. But it isn't so much what you know as who you know when it comes to getting the best deal for your money.
There is a commonly held sentiment among the expat community in Belize - something along the lines of "the second house you buy or rent is twice as large as the first and costs half as much" - so don't part with any money until you are totally sure you know what you're doing!
Be prepared to spend time in Belize and be prepared to invest time in getting to know and making friends with the local people, any influential lawyers and business people and also the local expat community. It is through these people that you will find the best real estate at the best prices.
Another point worth considering is that Belize is a country where there are two prices - the local price and the foreigner price. Yes, from an expat's point of view this is unfair. But from a local's point of view the 'rich' foreigner who gets paid far more for his work in his country than a Belizean in Belize for the same work can simply afford to pay the higher price.
A way around this is to ask a Belizean friend to ask the price and do negotiating for you! Simple!
And yes, negotiation is key - property prices vary massively from region to region and city to city and vendor to vendor. There isn't really a set valuation structure on which someone can base the price of a property or piece of land.
This means that it is hard to say exactly how much real estate is worth and how much property prices have actually risen over the last few years. It is harder still to say what a property investor in Belize could expect year on year in terms of the appreciation of any real estate asset. So much so that the saying "you almost always make your money when you buy, not when you sell" goes doubly in Belize.
As a very general guide to property prices they are highest in Belize City, on Ambergris Caye and in Placencia, and lowest in the remotest most rural areas.
House prices go from USD 15,000 for a basic traditional home in a small undeveloped village to USD 500,000 and upwards for luxury beach front villas in San Pedro say.
Any agent or vendor you speak to is likely to talk up the potential returns on an investment in property or land in Belize - this is only natural! But what you need to consider is that: -
a) the economy of this country is linked to the US economy and
b) the time it takes to sell a property in Belize can be very long and drawn out (I'm talking years not weeks or months) - which is something you must bear in mind when considering purchasing a property you may one day want/need to re-sell
This shouldn't necessarily put you off - after all you can still buy far more for your dollar, pound or euro in Belize than you can in the US, UK, Mediterranean region or Western Europe - but it is important to have a realistic overview of the property market in any country you are considering investing in or relocating to. That way you enter with your eyes wide open...it's always better to be a savvy buyer!
Part Four: Foreign Ownership.
The Belize authorities are open to foreign investment and actually welcome it which means they impose very few restrictions when it comes to foreign ownership of immovable property in their country.
In Belize it is even possible for non-nationals to freely purchase prime beachfront property. There used to be a license requirement for a foreigner to buy land over 10 acres or 1/2 an acre in a major town or city but this requirement has been revoked.
The only rules and restrictions are: -
Foreign purchase of any island has to have Government approval via the Ministry of Natural Resources.
In certain protected coastal and caye areas purchase of land and property by non-locals has to be approved by the local village council.
Part Five: Legal and Financial Considerations.
I always suggest people seek qualified legal advice when it comes to such a large and far reaching undertaking as purchasing real estate!
Belize is no exception!
In fact, in Belize lawyers are usually considered to be trusted, well-connected, pillars of the community with real power! And their fees are usually in the region of 2% of the purchase price...this should cover title searches and the drawing up of transfer documents.
In terms of affording your real estate dream - the onus is going to be on you! It is extremely difficult for non-residents to get mortgages from banks in Belize therefore most purchasers are in the position to pay in cash for their purchase or they have finance from a non-Belizean financial source.
However, some new developments are springing up with mortgages attached by the developer - property developers are usually the first to be aware of a potentially untapped market.
Basically terms currently are available to purchasers of such properties are: -
The developer retains the title to the property until the purchaser has paid in full for the property. The purchaser makes a 10% down payment with the remainder being paid back over 10 years at 10% simple interest per annum. Terms will of course vary from this to say 50% down up front and the remainder payable over three to five years at 12 -15% interest.
Be aware however that the best prices will be for cash deals.
You'll need to factor in an additional 12 - 15% on top of the purchase price for fees and costs.
You have the land title transfer fee which is also known as "stamp tax." This is 5% compulsory for every purchaser regardless of nationality, with an extra 5% payable by non Belizean nationals - making 10% in total.
This is apparently being increased to 12% in the near future.
If you have become a Belizean resident via the Retired Persons Incentive Program you are exempt from the second 5% stamp tax for non-citizens.
Then you should have your lawyer's fee which will be around 2% of the purchase price.
Finally you'll have property taxes which actually vary from area to area based on the type of land or property purchased. Generally expect to have to pay around 1% annually of the value of the undeveloped land...but speak to your lawyer for more exact figures pertinent to the property or land you are interested in purchasing.
Rhiannon Williamson is an experienced publisher who has produced articles for leading travel and tourism guides and financial magazines. Her specialist knowledge about both travel and finance gives her site Shelter Offshore the unique ability to literally cover every single aspect of moving & living abroad - including the often less discussed offshore tax advantages that can be available when leaving our homeland. Check out her website to find out how you can escape from the rat race, relocate overseas, and profit from your move!
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Vacation Homes Are Becoming A Reality For More Homeowners
Whether it's a lakefront cottage or a log cabin in the woods, a vacation home often seems to be a dream that only the wealthy can afford. But these days, you don't have to be a millionaire to own one.
Virtual Agent? Online Real Estate
When preparing to sell a house, you should always consider the options of selling a home privately or listing with a real estate agent. Of course, the most cost effective option would be to sell your home privately, but what about the number of Home Buyers in the market who are not willing to consider a private sale listing?I am a firm believer that people should be able to sell a home privately but, like a lot of people, was not the kind of person who would be comfortable buying from a Private Home Seller.
Avoiding A Bad Investment Is Easier Than You Might Think
Human nature being what it is, none of us can get serious about the idea of buying a house without experiencing at least a few small twinges of worry. What we fear, of course, is making a mistake.
Finding The Perfect Maui Home For Sale
If you are thinking of relocating to Maui, this articlewill hopefully guide you to making a positive decision whenthinking of buying a home there. Hopefully, by the end youwill be one step closer to finding a Maui home for sale,and being able to purchase it.
Houses For Sale By Owner - Negotiating Tips
Houses for sale by owner, also known as "FSBOs," are a unique case in real estate investment. Buying from an uninformed seller who thought he knew enough to handle everything by himself can be frustrating.
Selling Houses: The Basics of Design Psychology
I'm often asked about the basics of Design Psychology, which offers innovative interior and exterior design ideas for increasing profit and shortening market time. In reply, I begin by saying that Design Psychology's strategies go well beyond normal cleaning, painting, and repair.
Buying Real Estate Thats Not For Sale
Buying real estate can start with a look in the newspaper, a visit to a broker, or a search online. These are all good ways to find your next investment property.
A Singles Game of Real Estate
This discussion leans toward answering questions asked most often by our youthful men and women in there early twenties. They often begin to ask themselves the question, "Should I consider buying a home, condo/town-home or some other type of real estate that I can call my own?" Due to the fact that housing has up to this point always been provided for or lived in on a rented basis we tend to find that our newest contributing members of society find themselves at a loss for the most beneficial and advantageous way to enter this next phase of self-sufficiency.
How to Build Your Free House
What if you could "place an order" for the construction your Dream House (made either for your family, or for monthly rental income) and have it built for you in only a few months, or maybe weeks?!What if you could get other people to do all the work..
Real Estate Investment - One Simple Formula
I saw the ads in our small-town newspaper for years before I realized exactly what was going on. They were always the same: A house for sale with 5% down and payments of 1% of the purchase price.
3 Strategies For Buying Property With No Money Down
Everyone has heard a story or read about someone who bought a property without paying a single dime as a down payment. But how does this work?There are several "classic" methods commonly used to purchase real estate with no money down.
Buy to Let Property Investment
In recent years buy to let has been a popular way of investing in residential property. Stock markets are out of favour with many investors who have seen the values of their portfolios, endowment policies and pension funds shrink, whereas property has generally continued to rise in value.
Refinancing Your Home Loan? When Should You Refinance Your Home?
If you have a current mortgage and are unhappy with the interest rate or the amount of the monthly payments, it is possible to refinance your home and eliminate your problems. But before you call your lender, there are some questions that you should ask yourself in order to determine whether or not it's the right time for refinancing your mortgage loan.
Sell Your Home Without Paying Any Commissions
All of us know that real estate commissions can work out to quite a bit of money - anything from a few thousand dollars with discount brokers to 6% in commissions with full-service agents. That's a substantial sum of money to be paying for something you could very well do on your own.
Real Estate Investing In Belize
Any trip to Belize starts fantasies of owning a beach villa, or a jungle resort. There are a lot of North Americans in this English speaking, former English colony.
Jacksonville Real Estate Listings
With over 30,000 residents, Jacksonville in central Arkansas is a thriving city that offers many opportunities for both longtime residents and newcomers alike. About 20 miles from the state capital of Little Rock, the city is expanding in many ways.
Selling Houses with Curb Appeal and Design Psychology
Curb appeal is the most important challenge you'll face when selling your home. You must make home shoppers feel like getting out of their car to see what's behind the front door.
Renting Versus Buying A Home
Renters are often in a quandary as to whether it makes sense to continue renting or buy a home. Buying a home makes more sense, particularly when taking a long-term view.
How to Choose the Proper Entity for Your Business
First, let me state that I'm not an attorney and the rest of this article is just based on my experiences so I'd advise you to contact John Hyre at www.realestatetaxlaw.
How to Own a Dream Home in Spain
Every year hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors travel to Spain to delight in the fantastic weather, stunning natural landscapes, excellent entertainment options and superb Mediterranean beaches. Many of these people dream of one day owning their own property in Spain, in fact Spain is now one of the most desirable second home and retirement destinations in the world.
|home | site map|
|© 2006 TIGER MEDIA|