Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2019. 6:35 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Are you planning to join the thousands of expatriates and retirees who have bought property in Belize? If you have your heart or mind set on property in the Placencia Peninsula, here’s what you need to know before you buy.
Yes, Foreigners Can Own Property in Belize
Belize has made it easy for foreigners to move to Belize and buy property here. You don’t need any special waivers or permissions to own land, a residence or investment properties in Belize. Foreigners receive fee simple title just like the locals and you own the property forever and ever. You can hold title in a USA company, personal name, a trust, a Belize entity or an offshore entity.
You May Qualify for Tax Breaks
Before you buy, you may wish to find out if you qualify for the Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) incentive program. If you’re 45 or older and have a steady income, you may be able to qualify for special tax and investment incentives. The government of Belize established the program to attract economically stable retirees and expatriates to the country.
Buying in Belize Is Easy
Buying property in Belize has many advantages to buying property in other countries. First, English is the official language. Conducting business is easy for buyers and investors from the U.S., Canada, the U.K and other English-speaking countries. Second, as a former British Colony, Belize’s laws are based on English law. This makes it easy to understand the legal system. Closings usually take 30 to 45 days and can be handled via Fedex and bank wires so the buyer does not need to be in Belize for the closing.
Legal and Real Estate Professionals Are Key
Despite the relative ease of buying property here, it’s a good idea to get professional help. You may not think you need a lawyer for a straightforward transaction, but it is always smart to have a legal expert’s advice when you’re buying property.
You should also hire a real estate agent to represent your interests. A local realtor who’s knowledgeable about real estate in Placencia can guide you to the right properties, help you prepare your financial documents and negotiate the sale for you.
Financing Is Key
When you buy property in Belize as a foreigner, the right financing source will be critical. While mortgage financing is available in Belize, the interest rates are high and the terms are highly restricted. Most foreigners who buy property in Belize either pay cash or borrow funds from an equity line of credit back home. Occasionally a seller of a property will provide owner financing over 3 years. This is a great avenue to pursue. US banks currently will not lend in Belize. Before you make a decision, consult with your legal and real estate advisers.
Taxes are low
Property taxes are extremely low in Belize. A beach home or condo may have $50 a year in taxes! Also there are not capital gains or inheritance taxes here. Your investment can grow a lot quicker here especially if you re-invest.
When you buy a property the buyer has to pay an 8% Stamp duty (Title Transfer Fee) to the government. The buyer here also pays the closings costs that vary from less than 1% to 2% (depending on the firm).
Choose the Best Real Estate Agency in Placencia
If you’ve decided that owning real estate in Placencia is the right move for you, your next step should be to contact Belize’s premier real estate agency. Boris Mannsfeld & Associates represents the best properties and the most promising investments in Placencia. They possess a combined of 50+ years of real estate experience amongst their team. Contact them today to learn more.
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