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Helping You Find Your Place in Paradise

For this edition of we asked Brian Yearwood of Yearwood Properties, located in Placencia, Stann Creek District, Belize to give us a few tips for buying property in Belize.

Brian sent us the following: "When buying real estate in Belize, we recommend you work with knowledgeable realtors or lawyers to ensure your investment is save. Below I have listed some information that is useful for anybody looking for a 'Place in Paradise'".

Purchasing: When purchasing land in Belize, be sure you are always talking about ‘Titled land’. Title to land can be held in 3 different forms:

  • Under the old system, which is a hold over from the British Colonial period, land can be transferred by a deed of conveyance which is not recommendable because some of the earlier records of transfers are obscure.
  • Land can be held under a transfer certificate of title whereby there are 2 copies of the title; 1 being held at the land registry and 1 being held by the owner. Title cannot be transferred without the owners copy being produced and if this is lost a new one has to be issued, a process that can be time consuming.
  • Since 1977 the Registered Land Act issues properties with a parcel number issued rather than using the laborious Metes and Bounds descriptions used in the previous 2 systems. Under this system, the owner of the property is issued a land certificate and the Belize Government guarantees the title. The Registered Land Act system has standard forms
    for Power of Attorney, Charges and Liens, and Transfers. Land in Belize is being put into this system area by area until ultimately it will include the whole country.

Title to property can readily be checked by an attorney at the property Registry Office in Belmopan.

When being shown a recorded plan of a property, always look for a box on the plan labelled Registration, within this box there should be an Entry Number and a Registration Number. If the plan has been approved by the G.O.B. (Government of Belize), there will be a number beside of both Reg. Entry, example Entry No. 2258 Reg. No. 3.

Land is often purchased on terms under an Agreement for Sale (Contract for Deed) whereby the seller maintains title to the property until it has been paid for. When you have paid for your property in full and take title, closing costs will be approximately 12%, which is comprised of 10% government stamp duty. Lawyers charges for conveying the property and representing you will run approximately 2%.

Prices: Property values in Belize both on the mainland and on Ambergris Caye which, in the case of beach frontage, is sold on the bases of a linear foot of beach front with prices around US $1,000 -$1,900 depending on location. Similarly, agricultural land on the mainland can be from US $300 - $2,000 per acre according to potential usage.

Annual Land Tax: Outside of the city is 1% of the market value of the undeveloped land. City property tax is generally 3-8%. There is no capital gains tax.

Building Cost: US$35-$105 per square foot depending on the location, elevation of house, and whether wood or concrete. Costs are less on the mainland. Hardwood building material costs about US$1000 per thousand board feet.

Buying Real Estate can be exciting and rewarding. Belize is truly a fabulous paradise!



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