Belize Real Estate

Belize is a small country, located in Central America. The official language is English, but Spanish and Kriol are also spoken by the Belize population. Belize economy is small, primarily based on merchandising and agriculture. Tourism is another important sector of the country’s economy. If you are interested in buying a house in Belize, there are certain things you should know.

Buying Real Estate in Belize

If you are a foreigner and want to buy a house in Belize, you must know that a foreigner will probably be offered a higher price, compared to that offered to a Belizean. If you are considered a “rich foreigner”, the price will be considerably higher than what you expected. That’s not fair, but that’s the way it goes – in most cases. What can you do about this? Well, you can get a Belizean friend to check out the local prices. The owner of the property you’re interested in will set the price (for a Belizean), and after that, he will not raise the price, even if he finds out that a real buyer is a foreigner.

Real estate market in Belize is quite inefficient and small. There are several real estate agencies, but most owners choose to sell their houses on their own. That is why it is difficult to buy property if you only use a real estate agency (and this is why it is so difficult to find out more about the real prices of Belize houses.) However, many sellers actually depend on foreign buyers, because not many people in Belize are financially capable of buying real estate.

For foreigners, mortgage financing is almost unavailable. Another important thing is that selling a house in Belize may take years. If you buy a house in Belize, and decide to sell it some day, you will have to be prepared to wait for a buyer for months, even years.

Ownership Restrictions for Foreigners

In this country, foreigners can buy beachfront real estate, in the same way as nationals. However, there are several limitations.

Ten years ago, a foreigner needed an alien license. You could get this from the government, in case you wanted to buy more than 10 acres (in any location), and for 1/2 acre properties located within city limits and several restricted locations. However, this law was repealed in 2001.

If you want to buy any island, you will need an approval from the Natural Resources Ministry (regardless of the size of an island).

In Belize, land is categorized as Undeclared and Declared (where there is a legitimate title). Sellers must have one of the three title types: Deed of Conveyance, Transfer Certificate, or a Land Certificate, to be able to sell the property. Belize has no capital gains tax, but there are several taxes and fees that must be paid before and after getting the ownership

Two main entities offer listings of professional brokers:  the Belize National Association of Realtors  and the Association of Real Estate Brokers of Belize.