Although similar to the United States in the way real estate is owned, taxed and transacted in Belize, there are important differences that you need to know prior to purchasing real estate in Belize.
Anyone can sell Real Estate in Belize Unlike the United States, licensing is not required to list and sell real estate in Belize. It is important that you are comfortable with whom you choose to work with on a personal and professional level. Choose someone who knows the market and has years of real estate experience under their belt. Ask if they have been or are currently licensed elsewhere. Generally speaking, if someone has been a successful licensed agent in the US or Canada for years, they will be competent to handle your transaction in Belize.
Foreigners can own property just like Belizean citizens – Your property rights in Belize are protected through the traditions of English Common Law. Ownership is “Fee Simple Title” and is governed by British Common Law rather than Napoleonic Civil Law. As a foreigner, there are no restrictions on land ownership in Belize. Your right to own real property and the protection afforded you is the same as any Belize citizen.
No Title Insurance – Title Insurance is not commonly available in Belize although the government is creating a title insurance process and database. The Constitution of Belize protects the right to private property. Disputes relating to the unreliable ownership history and property boundaries do occur occasionally and it can take up to six months to obtain your certificate of title following your real estate closing. As in any market, dealing with qualified real estate professionals and thoroughly researching the title is highly recommended.
No Capital Gains and Low Tax Rate on Rental Income – There are many compelling reasons to consider buying property in Belize. One advantage that can’t be overstated is “No Capital Gains Tax”. While you may still be liable for taxes back home, you will not pay a cent for your realized gain in Belize. Additionally, the tax rate on rental income is only 1.75% of your gross rents collected.
Property Taxes are Low in Belize – Property taxes in Belize are only a fraction of what North Americans are used to paying in the US and Canada. As an example, current property taxes in Belize on a $290,000 home or condo would typically be under $1000.00 for the year. This lower cost of real estate ownership is just another reason why Belize has become such a popular destination for for foreign property ownership and investment.
Belize Property Insurance is Affordable and covers “all perils”. Whereas property insurance policies in North America have many exclusions and exceptions, Belize property insurance is straight forward and simple and covers just about anything that can happen to your property. “Fire & All Perils” insurance, as it is commonly referred to, is generally less expensive than North American insurance products costing as little as 1% of the insured value for a concrete dwelling or up to 2.5% for a partial wood structure per year.