Belize Real Estate Purchasing Process

Belize Real Estate Purchasing Process

If you are looking to buy Belize real estate, your first question will likely be “what is the process to buy real estate in Belize?” This post will help answer that question and provide clarity on the subject and how the process of buying Belize real estate.

Belize is British Common Law which means that a foreigner has the exact same ownership rights as a Belizean citizen. Belize is the only country in Central America that allows foreigners freehold property ownership. When you buy a property in Belize, you own the real estate outright with a fee-simple title. The big draw to owning property in Belize is the fact that foreigners can buy property freely and have the reassurance that their property asset is protected, which is why so many Americans & Canadians are buying up property in Belize.

Another draw to owning property in Belize is the low taxation, especially property taxes. For example; properties at Secret Beach have $75 to $90 per year property taxes (paid annually in April). Properties in Mahogany Bay have $108 per year in property taxes (also paid annually in April). 

 

What is the Process to Buy Belize Real Estate?

 

Overall the real estate buying process in Belize is fairly easy and straightforward. The process does vary from property to property and transaction to transaction as different property types have different closing processes. But the general process is as follows;

 

Step 1: The first step is for the buyer to submit an offer to the seller. This can be a basic agreement of sale, once the buyer has signed the agreement is brought to the seller for approval. All signing and documentation can be done remotely. The majority of transactions are done using DocuSign or e-Signature

 

Step 2: Upon acceptance by the seller, a Belize closing company will process the transaction. The closing company will provide all the titles and ensure the transaction is indeed binding and executed. Once satisfactory title research is completed, a recordable Agreement for Sale or original title transfer instrument will then be drawn up based on the particulars of the original purchase offer.

 

Step 3: Either an agreed-upon down payment or the full purchase price will be due for the deposit. This is considered the closing date and will be specified in the purchase offer or Agreement for Sale. As soon as the deposit is paid and received the buyer will have full enjoyment and use of the property. 

 

Step 4: Once the balance of the property is paid in full, the transfer documents will then be executed and delivered to the purchaser for review. 

 

Step 5: If the buyer wants to keep the property ownership in an IBC the share capital will then be transferred in full to the purchaser. If the buyer wants to have the property title in their own name, the executed documents will subsequently be processed at the Lands Registry (which can take up to 3 months) and an original title or certified copy of an Agreement for Sale will then be presented to the new owner in due course.

 

If you are looking at buying Belize real estate or want more information on the property purchasing process, contact us at Remax Belize!

 

Owning Belize Property in an IBC

IBC Owning Belize Real Estate

If you are looking at owning or investing in Belize Real Estate you likely already know the benefits of investing in off-shore markets like Belize. What you may not already know or be aware of is that setting up an International Business Company (IBC) to own your property or buying a property that is already owned in an IBC Belize provides an array of benefits and is advisable when purchasing or owning a property in Belize. One of the many functions of an IBC is the ability to own and maintain real estate in Belize is one of them. 

Belize is one of the best low-tax jurisdictions in the region. Belize is also one of the best countries in Central America & The Caribbean and a preferred jurisdiction for setting up an offshore company. The most common type of offshore corporation when buying real estate in Belize is an IBC.

An IBC is an “International Business Company” and functions much like an LLC in the US but operates in an off-shore market or foreign country. The International Business Companies Act 1990 of Belize created a special category of a company known as an International Business Company (IBC). When you buy a Belize property that is in an IBC there is no stamp or transfer tax. Having IBCs is one of the tax optimization laws Belize has in place for off-shore investment. You own the IBC and the IBC owns the property with fee simple title. 

If a property is not held in an IBC, there is an 8% stamp/transfer tax when you buy or sell the property as a foreigner or non-resident and a 5% if you are a resident or Belizean (or Belizean corporate entity). When the property is in an IBC, you don’t pay the stamp or transfer tax, you have an added layer of asset protection (if someone sues you in the US, they can’t touch your Belize asset), and you have improved liquidity when you sell the property and remove liability. 

It is very common for people to purchase an off-shore investment property or real estate using an IBC (International Business Company). Most clients we work with at RE/MAX Belize want to own the property through a corporate entity. There are various reasons and benefits for owning a property in a corporate entity like an IBC, but one primary factor is having no stamp or transfer tax when buying Belize property. When a property is purchased without an IBC from a foreigner there is an 8% stamp transfer tax. When you buy a Belize property with an IBC there is no stamp or transfer tax.

 

Advantages of Owning Belize Property in an IBC

Owning property in an IBC offers more than just tax optimization. There are a number of reasons and benefits associated with owning a property in Belize through an IBC. Some of the advantages of owning a property in an IBC and why we at RE/MAX Belize suggest buying property in an IBC include;
  1. Tax optimization as you don’t have to pay stamp or transfer tax.
  2. Asset protection as it protects your Belize asset.
  3. Improved liquidity when buying or selling a property. 
  4. Faster transfer of ownership.
  5. Keep the owner’s ambiguity and privacy.

When a property is owned through an IBC, you still own it outright with full foreign ownership. You own the IBC and the IBC owns the property with a simple title. Today Belize is one of the largest leading centers for international banking in the world. 

The IBC laws were created and enacted to permit asset protection and tax minimization planning at competitive rates. Some of the attributes of an IBC are:

  • IBCs have an exemption from all forms of local taxation including Stamp Duty.
  • Speedy and simple registration. Also faster transfer of property.
  • Only one shareholder and one director are required.
    • Limited filing requirements (certificate of incorporation, memorandum, and articles of association).
    • No exchange control.
    • Low registration fee for new corporations.
    • Low continuation fee.

There are a number of reasons why we suggest clients buy a property in an IBC or form an IBC upon closing. It is one of the many great tools and advantages of buying Belize real estate. It is also an incentive for foreign real estate investment. 

 

Countries That Have IBCs

The list of off-shore countries and jurisdictions that use and practice IBCs is pretty long. They are a common corporate entity in any low-tax jurisdiction. The countries that have IBC laws and you could see owning a Belize property include:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Anguilla
  • Barbados
  • Bahamas
  • Belize
  • Brunei
  • British Virgin Islands (BVI)
  • Cook Islands
  • Comoros
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Gambia
  • Mauritius
  • Marshall Islands
  • Montserrat
  • Nauru
  • Saint Lucia
  • Samoa
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Vincent
  • The Grenadines
  • Seychelles
  • Vanuatu.

An IBC is an offshore company that is usually formed as a tax-neutral entity meaning that it is not taxable in the country where it was established or the jurisdiction of incorporation. 

 

The Differences Between an LLC and IBC

An LLC & IBC in many regards performs the same function. This leads many people to ask “why wouldn’t I just use an LLC?”

So, what is the difference between a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and an International Business Company (IBC) in Belize? Well, both an LLC & IBC are quite similar to each other, they however have differences when it comes to ownership and management regulations.

The main difference between the two is that an IBC in Belize can be owned by a board of directors and have shareholder ownership. By contrast, an LLC in Belize, much like a combination between an LLC (limited liability company) and a partnership, does not include shareholders but members, and managers are in charge of the company control. An LLC will still have tax obligations if the owner of the LLC is a resident in their jurisdiction. This makes an IBC far more desirable than an LLC for owning property in Belize. 

 

An International Business Company (IBC) is essentially a private company (similar to an LLC) that is established in compliance with the laws of jurisdictions and used as an off-shore corporate entity for doing business overseas and in an off-shore market. An IBC can be used for a multitude of reasons, one of which is purchasing and owning real estate.

An IBC in Belize is established under the Belize International Business Companies Act. That being said, it is very common for a Belize property to be held in an IBC that is not in Belize. Belize is widely renowned for its growing financial offshore system and among the most advanced and user-friendly IBC laws in the world.

An IBC allows a foreign or offshore investor to engage in a diversity of activities with regard to asset protection, opening bank accounts, purchasing real estate, and many other international commercial transactions.

 

An IBC or owning Belize property in an IBC is a great tool if you are wanting a way to amass wealth in the short term and the long term. Owning property and utilizing an IBC also prepares for the future and sets up a way to preserve wealth and prepare for retirement abroad. If you have questions about IBCs and owning property in an IBC contact us at RE/MAX Belize. We can help answer your questions and ensure you have everything set up for your off-shore investment. 

 

Belize Tourism Rebounds in 2022

The latest statistics for Belize tourism from the BTB (Belize Tourism Board) provide a clear indication that Belize tourism is moving fast on its path to recovery after the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. According to their latest number and figures, tourism in 2022 shows that Belize is nearly at pre-COVID numbers and overnight tourist arrivals to Belize totaled almost 300,000 (January to August), the largest number of overnight visitors recorded since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022.

Overall, Belize’s tourism in 2022 is at 81% of peak tourism in 2018 & 2019. Which is up 281% (nearly 3x) from 2020 and up 185% (nearly double) than 2021 tourism. This shows that Belize’s tourism is at pre-COVID numbers.

 

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) states that it remains committed to improving Belize tourism stating that – “Together, we will aggressively and effectively promote Belize as the leading tourism destination and achieve full recovery of the industry for the benefit of both Belizeans and visitors.”

With the steady growth in tourism through the first 8-months of the year, the outlook remains positive as Belize’s tourism industry rebounds strongly. Coming into high season, Belize is seeing almost all international flights returning and flight routes have been reestablished.

Belize was one of the best-kept secrets in the Caribbean & Central America. Now the word is out, and Belize has emerged as a ‘must-see’ destination. Belize has something for everyone and is undoubtedly a unique and unforgettable getaway. From the lush jungles and rainforests on the mainland to the tropical Caribbean beaches on the Cayes (islands). Belize is the perfect place to explore or relax near the beach. With the resurgence of tourism, Belize also offers the perfect opportunity for people looking for a cash-flow vacation rental property. People come to Belize for the beaches but often stay for the people and culture.

Though Belize is a small country, it felt a huge impact in the wake of the global pandemic. With so much of the economy dependent on tourism, we are excited to see that Belize tourism has rebounded in 2022 and continues to grow into the next year (2023). Belize’s borders are open, and we are thrilled to welcome travelers back. As COVID restrictions have gone away, Belize tourism is trending upward, and there is no better time than now to start planning your Belize vacation. With tourism coming back the opportunities for Belize real estate investments are abundant. For more information on Belize travel and Belize real estate opportunities contact RE/MAX Belize!

 

 

How to Get to Belize Secret Beach

Belize Secret Beach

As soon as you arrive in Belize and set foot in San Pedro Town or the island of Ambergris Caye, you are going to immediately hear about “Secret Beach” and how you must check out the once-hidden gem of Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize and the #1 tourist destination. When you arrive at the tropical island paradise you will likely be told by everyone (hotel staff, bartenders, taxi drivers, locals, and tourists) that Belize Secret Beach is a “must-visit” and you will soon wonder what everyone is talking about…

You might first ask yourself, “can it be a secret if everyone is talking about it?” Or, “how do I get to Secret Beach?” in this post we highlight what makes Secret Beach so popular and how you get to the popular Belize beach.

 

Many who visit Ambergris Caye have Secret Beach near the top of their list of places to visit and experience when in Belize. Who can blame them? Secret Beach is one of the most stunning and picturesque areas in all of Belize. The sand beaches, turquoise blue water, calm Caribbean sea, and the fact there is no seagrass or sargassum draw thousands of tourists to the West Coast of Ambergris Caye and Secret Beach every year.

The west side of Ambergris Caye does not have the reef (which is on the East Coast of the island) but there are crystal clear waters with stunning sandy beaches on the West Coast with calm shallow waters. While on the West Coats and at Secret Beach you can walk a fair distance before the water depth even hits your waist. Once you experience Secret Beach you will see how truly stunning and remarkable it really is and why it was so hard to keep a ‘secret’. It is also important to note that the sunsets on Ambergris Caye are breathtaking and nowhere has more beautiful sunsets than Secret Beach and the West Coats.

 

Secret Beach is often called the “worst-kept secret” in Belize. This is obvious the moment you arrive and as you drive up and over to the West Coat. Secret Beach is a beach that is located on Ambergris Caye. Although Secret Beach is no longer a true secret, it is still a beach that is far enough from San Pedro and the hustle of downtown that you will be able to escape and enjoy the laidback beach atmosphere and relax by the ocean. Secret Beach is located just north of downtown San Pedro Town and then over to the West Coast of Ambergris Caye. The beach’s remote location combined with the calm Caribbean sea makes it one of the best beaches in Belize.

Up until recently, Secret Beach was more challenging to get to as visitors would require a boat. When the road infrastructure to the West Coats was put in in 2014, the popular beach destination became more accessible and the area really took off. The road to Secret Beach is roughly 2 or 3 miles long when you turn West after Grand Caribe, the road to Secret Beach stretches from the East side of Ambergris Caye over to the West Coast. When the road was put in back in 2014 it allowed, for the first time, access to the west coast (or the leeward side) of Ambergris Caye for the first time.

 

How to Get to Belize Secret Beach

Secret Beach is on the west side of Ambergris Caye. The vast majority of development (hotels, resorts, bars, restaurants, businesses, etc.) is on the reef side (East side) of the island. Secret Beach is however on the West Side. Luckily, Ambergris Caye is a long and narrow island and the widest point of Ambergris Caye is 3 miles.

To get to Secret Beach from San Pedro, you will probably want to rent a golf cart and start driving north. At approximately 4.5 miles north of downtown San Pedro (past Truck Stop, Grande Caribe & Coco Beach) there will be a fork in the road with a big left turn. It is hard to miss as you will see all the signs for the bars, restaurants, and beach clubs that are at Secret Beach. When you reach this junction, you will take a left (if you pass Matachica you have gone too far). When you take the left turn to Secret Beach, you will follow the road for 2 or 3 miles, passing small businesses and tourists along the way. You will then be greeted by the famous Secret Beach letters at Pirates Bar and finally, see the West Coats and know what everyone is talking about. And why the beauty of Secret Beach was so hard to keep ‘secret’.

 

You can see a map pointing out Secret Beach below;

Belize Secret Beach Location

 

Google Maps Drive to Secret Beach

 

Secret Beach is not only a popular tourist destination, but it is also one of the best areas for investment. The lots of land near Secret Beach start at $35,000 and you are able to finance land near Secret Beach with 20% down. If you are looking to buy, own or invest in real estate near Secret Beach, contact us at RE/MAX Belize.

 

Is it Easy for a Foreigner to Own Property in Belize?

Owning Property in Belize as a Foreigner

Belize used to be the best-kept secret in the Caribbean & Central America. Over recent years, Belize has become increasingly popular as a tropical paradise and the ideal destination for tourism, diving, fishing, retirement, and investment. Buying a property in Belize might mean a smart investment, a dream vacation property, or the opportunity to start over as an ex-pat (retirement or transition). The big draw to owning property in Belize is the fact that foreigners can buy property freely in Belize. Every year, more and more Americans and Canadians are buying property in Belize. Foreigners are buying property in Belize for numerous benefits. This is why investors and ex-pats are starting to look at Belize real estate and doing research on owning property in Belize. With the tax incentives and desirable climate, people are asking how they can have a home or investment in paradise.

The Belize government does an amazing job of incentivizing tourism as well as foreign investment. Real estate and property ownership are major investment drivers in Belize. One of the major draws to Belize is the fact Belize has full foreign ownership and foreigners have the exact same property ownership rights as locals. When you buy a property (land) in Belize, you own it outright with a fee-simple title. Property ownership in Belize is very similar to the US or Canada, this is largely due to Belize practicing British Common Law. When buying property in Belize as a foreigner it is exceedingly and almost unbelievably easy to buy property in Belize. Especially when compared to other markets like; Mexico, Costa Rica, St Thomas, Panama, Honduras, etc. Belize is one of the most pro-foreign direct investment countries in the Caribbean & Central America region. One of the largest investment drivers is in Belize Real Estate & Property in Belize.

Belize offers a range of investment incentives that promote the foreign ownership of property. In Belize, when buying property as a foreigner, you have the same rights as a Belizean citizen to property ownership.  If you are doing research on buying property in Belize and/or other Caribbean destinations you might find reference to an “alien landholding license” or the Alien Landholding Act, it is important to note that the Alien Landholding Act was abolished in 2001. Since its abolishment in 2001, foreigners buying property in Belize have equal property ownership rights as residents or citizens of Belize. This makes it very easy for foreigners to own property in Belize. If you’ve done research on other countries and jurisdictions in the region, and compared the destinations, you know that full foreign ownership is quite rare in much of the Caribbean & Central America, and rarer still in emerging markets like Belize.

Belize is one of the easiest and most amenable countries for foreigners looking to buy real estate. Belize recognizes the rights of non-nationals, and the ownership rights for foreigners (non-nationals) are exactly the same as locals (nationals). Unlike in many other countries in Central America, in Belize non-nationals can buy a property outright rather than have to settle for a long-term lease with the national government or have layered trusts. With Belize’s British ties, the ownership rights are very similar to that in the UK, USA, & Canada. 

Another advantage of buying property in Belize is that you do not need to physically be in Belize to make an offer on a property, or to complete a closing. Most real estate transactions in Belize are done remotely and the buyer does not have to physically be in Belize to purchase property in Belize. This makes buying real estate in Belize as a foreigner especially easy and appealing. Knowing that you can do the entire transaction process from the comfort of your own home. 

At RE/MAX Belize, we work with people from all over the world that are looking to buy and invest off-shore. Buying and owning property in Belize is very easy. If you are looking at buying or investing in Belize, contact the team at RE/MAX Belize. We are very familiar with ownership structures and how to own property in Belize as a foreigner. 

 

Things to Know When Buying Land in Belize

Buying Land in Belize

Belize is known for its amazing landscapes; from lush jungles to pristine beaches and vibrant reefs. Belize is home to some of the best diving, snorkeling, and fishing in the world. Belize is picturesque and diverse, the country of Belize has lots of beautiful characteristics that draw in tourists from around the world. Beyond the beauty, Belize is also a popular investment destination, especially for foreign investors looking to secure land in the emerging destination.

One of the major draws to owning land in Belize is the incredibly low property tax rates. The taxation and ownership structure makes owning land in Belize very inexpensive with little to no costs of ownership or carrying costs. Belize has a lot to love (for investment, beauty, and lifestyle), and even though the country is growing and emerging as a top destination in the region, there are still opportunities to purchase land (to develop or land bank).

The affordability and low cost of ownership draw many investors, expats, and retirees to purchase land in Belize. Whether you are looking in Belize for an investment property or to develop a personal home (for vacation or full-time residence) there is an abundance of opportunities and benefits when buying land in Belize. Nevertheless, before indulging in purchasing land here, you should educate yourself a little more about Belize and learn about the important details of buying land in Belize. 

First, you may ask yourself, do I need to be a citizen to be able to purchase land in Belize? The answer to that is no. You do not need to be a citizen to be able to own land in Belize with it having full foreign ownership (foreigners have the same ownership as locals) and when you buy land in Belize, you own it outright with a fee simple land title. Other countries in Central America & the Caribbean require permanent residency or citizenship to purchase land and especially for investment purposes. This is not the case in Belize.

In Belize, a foreigner has the exact same ownership rights as a local. A person does not require citizenship or residency to own property in Belize. The ownership rights and structure are the major draws of owning land in Belize. As long as you have the capital or funds for the property, you are able to purchase land in Belize. You also have full control of the property and unless there are restrictive covenants in place, you are able to build what you want when you want. then you can go right ahead and purchase land and build on it.

Not only does Belize have strong property ownership rights that allow for full foreign ownership, but the country also does not recognize squatting rights and is also one of the only pro-landlord countries in the region. These factors further protect your off-shore investment. 

 

Is it Easy for a Foreigner to Buy Land in Belize?

Yes. It is exceedingly and almost unbelievably easy to buy land in Belize. Especially when compared to other markets like; Mexico, Costa Rica, St Thomas, Panama, Honduras, etc. Belize is one of the most pro-foreign direct investment countries. Belize also incentivizes investment and foreign ownership of land. In Belize, when buying land a foreigner has the same rights as a Belizean citizen to property ownership.  

If you are doing research on buying land in Belize and/or other Caribbean destinations you might find reference to an “alien landholding license” or the Alien Landholding Act, please note that the Act was abolished in 2001. Since then, when buying land in Belize foreigners have equal property ownership rights.  If you’ve done research on other jurisdictions, and comparable destinations in the region, you know that full foreign ownership is quite rare in much of the Caribbean & Central America, and rarer still in emerging markets like Belize.

 

How Do I Buy Land in Belize?

It is very easy to buy land in Belize! The first step, when buying land in Belize, is to submit an offer to the seller. To write an offer or agreement to purchase land, your Belize real estate agent your full name and address. The offer form is legally binding to both parties (the buyer & the seller) and includes a due diligence period for the buyer.

Once the offer and/or agreement are accepted by the seller and the buyer, the agreement will go to a Closing Company which will do all the due diligence, title search, and transfer of property. It is common for land transactions and land purchases to be done through a corporation (IBC or Chapter 250) for tax advantages. 

Once a satisfactory title search is completed (i.e., the seller actually owns the Belize property in question), and all due diligence is performed, the property is transferred to the purchaser. if the property is in an IBC (International Business Company) the purchaser will receive the shares of the corporation that owns the property (which makes for a much faster closing), if the property is not in a corporation, a Transfer will be requested and the property transaction will go through the Belize Lands Department.

Be careful when a realtor or seller says they can do their own closings. It is always recommended to use a Closing Company. At RE/MAX Belize, we use Capital Corporate Services

When buying land in Belize, the payment amount (either down payment or full purchase price) will be received by an Escrow Agent at the time specified (Closing Date) on the Agreement of Sale. The Belize property transfer documents (for the land) are then executed and delivered to the buyer.

The Closing Company will finalize the documents and funds are released from escrow to the seller. If the property is not held in a corporation (IBC or Chapter 250) the executed documents will be processed at the Belize Lands Registry and an original title or certified copy of the Agreement of Sale will be presented to the purchaser. Overall, real estate and land transactions in Belize are far less complicated than in other countries. It also helps to have all documentation in English with full ownership (fee-simple title). 

 

Can Land in Belize be Owned by a Corporation or Company?

Yes. It is actually very common and advisable. Many of the Belize land purchases that RE/MAX Belize has done have been with a company or corporation. It is very common for people purchasing an off-shore investment to want to own the property in an IBC (International Business Company) or a Chapter 250 company.

Most clients we work with want to own the property through a corporate entity. There are various reasons and a number of benefits for owning a property and/or land in a corporate entity (off-shore or domestic), but one primary factor is having little to no stamp or transfer tax when buying the land. 

 

What is an IBC and Why Should I Use One When Buying Property in Belize?

An IBC is an “International Business Company” and functions much like an LLC in the US but operates in a foreign country. There is no stamp or transfer tax when a property is in an IBC. It is one of the tax optimization laws Belize has in place for off-shore investment.
 
If a property is not held in an IBC, there is an 8% stamp/transfer tax when you buy or sell the property as a foreigner or non-resident and a 5% if you are a resident or Belizean (or Belizean corporate entity). When the property is in an IBC, you don’t pay the stamp or transfer tax, you have an added layer of asset protection (if someone sues you in the US, they can’t touch your Belize asset), and you have improved liquidity when you sell the property and remove liability. You own the IBC and the IBC owns the property with fee simple title. 
 
Some of the advantages of owning a property in an IBC are;
  1. Tax optimization as you don’t have to pay stamp or transfer tax.
  2. Asset protection
  3. Improved liquidity
  4. Faster transfer of ownership
  5. Keep owner’s privacy and ambiguity

You own the IBC and the IBC owns the property with a simple title. The International Business Companies Act 1990 of Belize created a special category of a company known as an International Business Company (IBC). Today Belize is one of the largest leading centers for international banking in the world. 

The IBC laws were created and enacted to permit asset protection and tax minimization planning at competitive rates. Some of the attributes of an IBC are:

  • IBCs have an exemption from all forms of local taxation including Stamp Duty.
  • Speedy and simple registration. Also faster transfer of property.
  • Only one shareholder and one director are required.
    • Limited filing requirements (certificate of incorporation, memorandum, and articles of association).
    • No exchange control.
    • Low registration fee for new corporations.
    • Low continuation fee.

The list of off-shore countries and jurisdictions that use and practice IBCs is pretty long: Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Brunei, British Virgin Islands or BVI, Cook Islands, Comoros, Dominica, Grenada, Gambia, Mauritius, Marshall Islands, Montserrat, Nauru, Saint Lucia, Samoa, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, Seychelles, and Vanuatu. An IBC is an offshore company that is usually formed as a tax-neutral company meaning that it is not taxable in the country of incorporation.

We suggest to all of our clients that they purchase land in an IBC or have the property put in an IBC. If you would like more information on IBCs, have any questions about IBCs in Belize, and the benefits of owning property in an IBC please contact us at RE/MAX Belize. 

 

Do I Need to Be in Belize to Buy Land?

No, you do not have to physically be in Belize to buy land in Belize. Most of the real estate and land transactions we do at RE/MAX Belize are done remotely using drone footage (video and pictures), title searches, etc. We also use DocuSign so buyers can sign the agreements from the comfort of their homes. 

Many Belize real estate transactions (land and homes) are completed when one or both of the parties (the purchaser or the seller) are outside of Belize. The real estate transaction documents are sent to the absent party or parties via DocuSign and email. The original documents (land and corporate) are sent via FedEx. Purchase offers can be submitted through DocuSign or other e-signature platforms, which is legally binding in Belize. 

The majority of the clients we work with at RE/MAX Belize are in the US or Canada. We are very familiar with the transaction process and everything can be done remotely without physically being in Belize. 

 

Do I Require Title Insurance When Buying Land in Belize?

The short answer is, No. Purchasers do not require Title Insurance when buying land or property in Belize. If you have a reputable Belize real estate professional, that is using a Closing Company or Real Estate Attorney for the land transaction then title insurance is not necessary. That said, title insurance is available in Belize, from reputable sources. In fact, Belize is the only Central American country that has ‘A+’ American title companies offering to insure to guarantee the title. This is due to the ownership rights in Belize. Belize Land Certificates or clear Deeds of Conveyance are guaranteed by the Government of Belize and are as secure titles as any Commonwealth, European, or North American country (including the US & Canada).

If a title search is done properly before or after the agreement of sale is done, title insurance in Belize is not needed.

 

Land & Property Taxes in Belize

Belize property taxes are affordable and the cost of land/property taxes is next to nothing. The low taxation and cost of ownership are one of the driving reasons so many investors are looking at Belize and securing land in Belize. Most properties are taxed at 1% to 1.5% of their assessed value. What is even more appealing is that property or land assessments are usually 10-30% of the property’s actual resale or market value. For example, property taxes for land around Belize Secret Beach start at $75 per year. Property taxes in Mahogany Bay are $108 per year. Property taxes in Belize are paid annually in April. 

When you compare property taxes in Belize with other countries you will see why so many people are buying and investing in Belize real estate and Belize land. If you are looking at buying Belize land and/or buying Belize property be sure to contact us at RE/MAX Belize. We are the Belize real estate & Ambergris Caye real estate experts. 

 

Can I Finance Land in Belize?

Financing in Belize is more difficult than in domestic markets. We do not have the same standard mortgages and bank financing people are used to in the USA or Canada. Most real estate transactions in Belize are cash sales. There are however real estate opportunities in Belize with seller or vendor financing. It is also important to note that it is far more common to find land opportunities with financing than it is to find a home or condo with financing.

There are three ways for purchasers to receive financing for Belize real estate:

  1. Local Belize Financing: Local banks in Belize do offer to finance land and/or property, though it is not easy (especially for foreigners). It is also important to note that the interest rates with Belize banks and terms for financing are usually higher than what people are used to at home. Local banks in Belize usually have much higher interest rates in the range of 10-18% interest with fixed terms of only 12 months. When you get financing from a local bank in Belize, the loan is closed every year and renewed at the new rate. When borrowing or lending from a local Belizean bank, it will be in Belize dollars, and most real estate transactions in Belize are in US dollars. Because most of the Belize real estate transactions take place with U.S. dollars, local financing is challenging. Local banks in Belize will also often only lend money to Belize residents or citizens. 
  2. Offshore or Domestic Financing: If you are not a resident or citizen of Belize and are looking for financing, you can borrow U.S. dollars through an offshore bank. In Belize, Caye International Bank is one of the only off-shore banks in the country. Interest rates with international banks in Belize are still much higher than people are used to in their domestic markets and are around 12% to 18% and most offshore banks when lending to people who are not Belize residents or citizens require a high degree of collateralization with a high down payment (often 50%). Some people do acquire domestic financing in their home country through a line of credit or refinancing their home/mortgage.
  3. Owner, Seller, or Vendor Financing: This is the most common way foreigners acquire financing for land in Belize. It is also far more common for someone to find land with financing than it is with a home or condo. Belize property owners and/or developers usually agree to property financing at better rates than the local banks. It is also very easy to qualify, as it is a non-recourse loan. The rates through seller or vendor financing are often less than what is available at local banks and financial institutions. Around Secret Beach, you are able to secure property with 20% down. Within Mahogany Bay, you can secure canal-front land with 25% down. 

For more information on financing in Belize and Belize real estate opportunities with financing available, contact us at RE/MAX Belize

 

Things to Consider

When purchasing land in Belize, there are some prerequisites that you must follow, for example, a closing company will likely as for a picture of your passport bio page and a past utility bill (that matches the name and address on the Agreement of Sale). When buying land in Belize, there are some minor fees or taxes but nothing too overwhelming. Closing costs are generally $1,000 to $1,500 or 1% of the property/land purchase price. The fees and processes can be discussed with one of our agents here at RE/MAX Belize.

Another question many people tend to ask is, do I need to be in the country of Belize to buy land? With technology nowadays, there is only one simple answer to that and that would be “no”. Most of the purchasers we work with are not physically in Belize. The whole land purchasing process can be done remotely without physically being in Belize. You do not need to physically be in Belize to buy land or close on a property, our team can share all the details and property options over the phone, via Facetime, Zoom meeting, text, and/or email. Once we narrow down a few areas and land options, we will prepare a video showing the property and surrounding areas. Land purchases are much easier than larger homes, condos, and villas. Everything can be signed through DocuSign or e-Signature.

Here at RE/MAX Belize, we have worked with numerous clients and have done the entire property and land purchase process remotely. Once everything is signed and submitted to the Closing Company a copy of your passport and a utility bill (matching the names and addresses on the agreement) will be required. Again, this can all be submitted remotely. With a little bit of paperwork and some digital signing then you are ready to go.

Some people may also wonder if all land here in Belize is for sale, and the answer to that is most land can be bought but some cannot be bought in Belize. A large portion of the country is protected national park and marine reserve.

There is also Queen’s land-land within 66 ft of high tide that can not be purchased. The first 66 feet from the high tide is public property which anyone can use at any time. It is important to note that all beaches in Belize are public access and the first 66 feet from the water at high tide is public property. This is one of the many draws to Belize as a destination and investment. It is also something many owners are unaware of and can be a detractor from paying the high prices of beachfront property. 

Belize is an emerging market with plenty of room for development. When you buy land in Belize, you own the property outright with a fee-simple title and full foreign ownership. You also have the added benefit of low property taxes and low cost of ownership. Whether you are looking at buying land in Belize for personal use or investment, the country has nearly endless possibilities. 

Contact the team at RE/MAX Belize for more information on buying land in Belize and Belize real estate opportunities.

 

Reason To Invest In Belize

Reason To Invest In Belize

Belize is one of the top emerging destinations in the Caribbean & Central America.  The country has a mix of the mainland (Central America) and islands (Caribbean). Belize has a growing tourism sector which creates a great cash-flow investment, while also being in an appreciating market. Belize is like foreign investing on training wheels; everything is in English, we have full foreign ownership, practice British Common law, etc. Belize is also a tax haven with low corporate taxes and property taxes. There is also no capital gains tax or estate tax. Belize real estate is one of the main focuses when it comes to investment in the country. Below are some of the top reasons to invest in Belize;

You have 2 avenues when it comes to a real estate investment; property appreciation & yield/cash flow. That said, when you are looking at investing in an offshore market like Belize, there are 4 pillars a person should look for regarding real estate investment;
  1. Capital Protection: How safe is the investment? In Belize, there is full outright ownership. Belize is also pro-landlord and does not recognize squatting rights.
  2. Capital Growth: The appreciation of an asset. Belize is growing, and with growth comes increased demand. Belize is an appreciating market.
  3. Yield (Cash Flow): Can you produce passive income from the property? In Belize, you can rent out a home or condo with ease. You have passive real estate income from vacation rentals.
  4. Favorable Taxation: Belize is a tax haven with no capital gains or estate tax. Property taxes are also low and corporate taxes are 1.75% for international companies and 3% for domestic companies.

Luckily, when you invest in Belize, you are in a position to check all 4 boxes. You also have the added benefit of limited supply and scarcity in a market with growing demand when investing on an island like Ambergris Caye.

Belize Investment Opportunities

Since achieving its full independence in 1981, Belize has aimed to provide an enabling environment for investment and business growth (both domestic & foreign investment). Belize has had a lot of laws, programs, and incentives in place to promote private enterprises and attract investments in Belize from both local and foreign investors. Over the years, there have been a series of legislations that started in the early 1990s to allow for a range of incentives for those looking to invest in Belize. The conditions to qualify for the different investment incentives vary, as do the investment incentives themselves. Popular incentive programs and initiatives include; a tax holiday, import duty exemptions, the Qualified Retired Persons Program (QRP), investment residency, etc. Investors are also not limited to any singular incentive, they can use any of the investment programs in place or a combination of multiple.

The benefits of government programs do vary and are dependent upon the type of incentive awarded to the potential investor. Export-oriented activities, which lead to increased employment, and the development of local, technological infrastructure, are particularly favorable. Belize is a very pro-business country and is open to foreign direct investment. The government of Belize supports joint venture and partnership investments with local individuals and businesses, however, Belize also allows 100% foreign ownership of a property, business, or enterprise.

Belize is not closed off to those looking at investing or looking for employment in Belize. Importation of highly skilled personnel to complement the Belizean labor force is facilitated providing that appropriate training programs for nationals are established. Generally, the Belize government hopes to see one local Belizean employed and assigned to every skilled foreigner employed by the company.

 

Investment Incentives In Belize

Tourism is the largest economic driver and one of the best industries for investment. That said, there are a number of other investment initiatives and incentives in Belize.

Trade Agreements

The main exports from Belize are seafood, sugar, citrus products, bananas, and clothing, and its chief imports include machinery and transport equipment, food, fuels and lubricants, and chemicals. Belize benefits from trade agreements with several developed countries. Belize is also the only agricultural exporter in CARICOM. Some of the preferential trade agreements and policies include:

    • Full member of the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM).
    • Preferential treatment from the U.S. under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) which we receive several tariff and trade benefits.
    • Under the Lomé IV Convention, it has duty-free access to the EU for certain commodities.
    • Certain Belizean goods enter Canada duty-free.

The Government Of Belize’s Investment Incentives

Belize has a number of incentives and programs in place to attract foreign investment. These include:

    • 100% foreign ownership of land and company assets.
    • Encouragement of joint ventures with local entities.
    • Special incentives for retirees (like QRP).

Tax Holiday Program

The Fiscal Incentives Act of 1990 relates to tax holidays and duties. A tax holiday is a temporary tax break. In the United States, tax holidays often suspend state and local sales taxes paid by consumers. Governments also use tax holidays as investment incentives that may exempt a foreign investor from import duties or property taxes for a number of years, for example. In Belize, the tax holiday period shall normally be for a five-year duration from the date of production. However, there is a provision that the Minister for Economic Development can, on application by the company, in a fit and proper case, review the company’s operations and renew the tax-holiday period for a further term not to exceed 10 years.

Incentives under this particular clause in the Act also allow exemption from income tax under the Income Tax Act, including the repatriation of profits and dividends. The Act allows duty exemptions to companies that are granted an Approved Enterprise Order (Development Concession) to import items into Belize, free of import duty and revenue replacement duty. Since its independence in 1981, Belize has enjoyed the stability of a long-standing, democratic tradition, and has an independent judiciary. Belize is a part of the British Commonwealth and the British ties are still present, including; British Common Law & British Parliamentary Democracy.

The currency exchange rate in Belize is now fixed for 25 years at 2:1 with the US Dollar. The pegged currency further incentivizes foreign investment and ensures the stability of investment. Real estate transactions are also primarily done in USD which means a real estate investment is an appreciating asset pegged to the US dollar. Property taxes in Belize are also very low, which makes the cost of real estate ownership very low with little to no carrying costs.

Belize’s Export Processing Zones

For certain types of businesses, Belize’s Export Processing Zones (EPZs) provide substantial benefits to investors. Investors who take advantage of EPZs are often in the business of tourism. For Belize, the benefit of these free-trade zones is a way to encourage investment as well as foreign trade. For investors, the advantages include:

    • Exemption from import and export duties as taxes on capital gains, property, sales and consumption, trade turnover, foreign exchange, and transfers
    • An income tax holiday of 20 years with an option to extend and deduct losses from profits following the period of the tax holiday
    • Dividend tax exemption in perpetuity
    • The opportunity to open foreign currency bank accounts in Belize and abroad
    • Exemption from the Supplies Control Act and its regulations

In addition, EPZs aren’t burdened with restrictions on raw materials or export licensing requirements.

Belize is a country full of opportunity. Belize is like foreign investing on training wheels; everything is in English, we have full foreign ownership, practice British Common law, etc. The leading industry in Belize is tourism, which is mostly driven by San Pedro & Ambergris Caye. The world-class fishing and Belize Barrier Reef keep the flow of tourism year-round. Belize is kind of like investing with a time machine. Overall, there is low competition in most sectors and innovation is welcome. Belize is lucky to be in a growing market (both for investment and tourism) with a favorable tax environment and a pro-business and pro-foreign investment economy.

 

Benefits of Buying a Belize Vacation Home

Belize Vacation Home

When investing overseas a person has a lot of options. They have even more options when considering a vacation home. You can look at domestic options (in your home country) or look at off-shore markets like Belize.

There are many benefits to building a home anywhere in the world. Every destination also has its advantages when it comes to a vacation home. Nevertheless, there are a lot of benefits to buying and owning a vacation home in Belize that other markets may not offer.

One of the big draws to Belize is the fact it is relatively undeveloped and an emerging destination, this provides owners and investors with a lot of opportunities when it comes to real estate and building in a top-tier vacation spot. The advantages of owning and investing in Belize are both long-term and short-term.

Now, Belize being a Caribbean dream spot, and tropical destination makes it an even more appealing place to own and invest. Just imagine, building your dream home whether it be big or small, but it is in the perfect location that you can come to whenever you like, and when not occupying the home, you can generate vacation rental income.

Belize is more than just a tropical paradise, you have world-class fishing and diving. Many consider Belize the perfect destination because it has taste for everyone. With a combination of nightlife and restaurants with the laidback beach atmosphere, Belize has a lot to offer when it comes to owning a vacation home abroad. Belize has a unique combination of Caribbean islands and the mainland, you have pristine beaches, a lively reef, and lush jungles. When it comes to owning a vacation property in Belize, you have a lot of options with such a diverse landscape. You can build your dream home in a waterfront gated community like Mahogany Bay Village, or a simple off-grid cottage near Secret Beach.

Many owners are drawn to the Secret Beach area with the privacy and beautiful beaches, where really have no limitations on what you build or when you build it.

Now, Mahogany Bay Village is a gated community and every property is a canal-front homesite. The Mahogany Bay community offers an array of amenities and a very first-world lifestyle with restaurants, coffee shops, and dozens of other businesses. Something like Mahogany Bay has the luxury of being able to park your water vessel right in your backyard, all streets have canal access with Caribbean Ocean access. You can just hop on your boat and quickly go fishing, snorkeling, diving, or just have a regular boat ride with friends or family. Accessing the array of secluded beaches Belize and Ambergris Caye has to offer.

Belize has a slow season, a high season, and a peak season. So when building, whether you want to come in any season you have your piece of paradise. In the winter months (November to April) Belize sees a lot of sunseekers escaping the frigid winter months. During the Spring and Summer months, the island of Ambergris Caye is full of avid divers and fishermen, coming to enjoy the world-class diving and fishing Belize has to offer. Lobster Fest in June & July is also a popular attraction, drawing in people from around the world. Regardless of the season, there is never a bad time to visit Belize and enjoy your vacation home. You can spend the morning on a jungle hike, and the afternoon enjoying the pristine beaches.

When buying or building a vacation home in Belize you can also create a second source of income. Since it is a vacation home, it is unlikely you will occupy the home full-time. This means you can generate rental income when the home is not in use. You can find a vacation rental home option with management in place, self-manage, or find a property manager. Belize allows you to have passive income when you are not using your vacation home. In Belize, there are no rental restrictions, we are also one of the only pro-landlord destinations in the region.

In Belize, we do not recognize squatting rights. Another draw to owning a vacation home in Belize is the fact you own the property outright with a fee-simple title (the strongest form of property ownership). Belize is the only English Speaking country in Central America with British Common Law, because of this, we have full foreign ownership and foreigners enjoy the same ownership rights as locals.

If you are buying or investing in a Belize vacation home, you can use the passive income to help pay off the house. Over time, the vacation property in Belize will have easily paid for itself with the passive rental income generated from tourists.

Belize is the perfect location to consider investing and owning a vacation property as you have the cash flow/yield from the rental income, while also owning an appreciating asset with low taxation and costs of ownership. Property taxes in Belize are very low, and because of this, the cost of ownership is also very low. Belize is also an emerging destination. Our property prices are much less than in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, etc. As Belize continues to grow and develop, so does the value of your property.

Belize is a beautiful place to be in and besides owning a house in one of the most picturesque destinations in the world, you also have a protected asset that is held in USD. Having full ownership and a fee-simple title is a major advantage of owning and investing in Belize. Belize is one of the best destinations to buy real estate from an asset protection standpoint.

Regardless of how frequently you occupy the home or visit Belize, the tropical destination is the perfect location to own and invest in a vacation property. If you are looking to buy and own a vacation home or property in Belize, contact us at RE/MAX Belize. We eagerly await to help you with your Belize real estate search.

 

Reasons Why Ambergris Caye Belize is a Great Place to Live

Living on Ambergris Caye

More and more people are looking at options to retire or live off-shore. Whether you are looking for a change of lifestyle, can work remotely, have a relaxing place to retire, or planning to get away part-time and live in a tropical paradise, you’re not alone. Central America and the Caribbean have never been more popular and people looking to relocate to this region are ever-increasing. Every destination has something to offer, and for many, the perfect setting for relocation to the Caribbean is Ambergris Caye, Belize.

What makes Ambergris Caye such a popular place for ex-pats, retirees, investors, and sunseekers? Until recently, the country of Belize was off the world’s radar, now, it has become one of the go-to destinations for tourism and investment. Here are some reasons why so many people are investing and relocating to Ambergris Caye.

 

Weather & Climate

Being in the Caribbean and near the equator makes the island of Ambergris Caye a tropical paradise. You have the warm Caribbean sun with the nice ocean breeze 12 months of the year (with only a few days of heavy rain). Ambergris Caye really is a slice of heaven for anyone that has experienced and has had to endure the frigid winter months, filled with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. When winter rolls around in Belize, you’re still in shorts and a t-shirt, still swimming in Caribbean waters. Ambergris Caye, Belize has one of the most consistent climates in the region, even the rainy season (August, September & October) is full of sun.

The desirable climate and great weather are probably the biggest draws to Belize. Ambergris Caye has the Caribbean weather an annual consistency.

 

Cost of Living & Affordability

Belize in general is less expensive than other destinations in the Caribbean. Though imported items can be more expensive (ie. a box of cereal), overall day-to-day life is much cheaper. Having both the mainland and the islands, Belize is the only net agricultural exporter in CARICOM. This makes the cost of living on Ambergris Caye much easier and less costly than other Caribbean destinations. For a retirement option, lifestyle and real estate is a fraction of the cost of other popular destinations like Florida or Arizona. The affordability of the cost of living makes it an excellent choice for those seeking a comfortable life without overextending. At the same time, those with more means will find plenty of options for larger homes and condominiums to buy or rent.

Now, you may ask, how much does it currently take to live comfortably on Ambergris Caye? The average cost per month varies person-to-person and really comes down to your personal lifestyle (like anywhere it can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be), that said generally a person can live comfortably on $1,800 to $3,000 USD per month (again, depending on your living arrangements and lifestyle). That includes rent or mortgage, food, utilities, and other essentials. If you’re currently living in a country where it’s hard to find a home (to rent or buy), and the cost of living has become too expensive, a move to Ambergris Caye would make financial sense.

Overall, in 2022, the cost of living in Belize is 32% cheaper than in the US. (Numero data)

 

Political Stability of Belize

Belize practices British Common Law which is similar to domestic systems in the US or Canada. Foreigners own their property outright with a fee-simple title. When buying property in Belize foreigners have the same ownership rights as locals. Belize has sought to create a stable democracy since its independence in 1981. At the time, the country established a British parliamentary democracy. This has made it one of the most appealing aspects of being a destination for people looking to live, retire, and invest off-shore. Not all countries around Central America and the Caribbean can make the same claim or have the same political stability.

North Americans (From the USA & Canada) as well as Europeans will feel comfortable with familiar laws and political processes. The political stability of Belize makes the transition much easier and simpler to establish a new life abroad.

 

English Speaking

Most of Central America is Spanish Speaking or at least has Spanish as the primary language. One of the biggest challenges of moving abroad is learning a second language, or adapting to a new culture. It is one thing to speak another language, but it is another to receive medical information and legal documents in another language. That’s not something most North Americans have to worry about if they move to Ambergris Caye. English is the official language of Belize. Not only do you speak in your native tongue in your day-to-day life (without the loss in translation), all legal documents and Belize real estate agreements are in English.

You might need to become familiar with local slang, and there is a large Spanish and Kriol influence. The terms, phrases, and slangs of the local culture often delight newcomers once they learn what they mean. The multicultural aspect of Belize and native slang is one of the many charms of Ambergris Caye.

As mentioned, many Belizeans are multilingual, speaking Kriol, Spanish, and Mayan languages, but no matter where you go English is the primary language.

 

Beauty & Natural Landscape

The Belize Reef is one of the largest tourism draws. Thousands of tourists every year flock to Belize to fish, dive, and snorkel. Few places have the same turquoise blue waters and sandy beaches as Belize. Imagine relaxing on a beach, enjoying a cocktail with views of pristine turquoise waters and greenery everywhere you look. You look up and there are clear skies, although you may have some showers in the afternoon. There are palm trees blowing in the wind with boats passing by. San Pedro Town is a true Caribbean town, full of vibrant colors and local culture.

Residents and tourists enjoy the natural beauty and the Caribbean setting. Once you experience it, you will understand why the pace of living is a little slower on Ambergris Caye. People want to enjoy their surroundings, take in the ocean, and enjoy the day. If you are looking to escape the schedules, stress, and multitasking of day-to-day life back home, you’ll love the slow, relaxed pace on Ambergris Caye.

 

People & Culture

When people visit Belize, they come for the beaches but stay for the people and the culture. The friendliness of the people on Ambergris Caye is what keeps people coming back and the first thing they talk about when they get home. There is a reason why tourists visit Ambergris Caye, they go and experience the town and Secret Beach and venture outside of their resorts (unlike Mexico, Dominican Republic, and other destinations that have all-inclusive resorts). The safety and friendliness of the island make it even more of a paradise and almost a utopia. In many ways, life on Ambergris Caye is like living in a small town. You quickly get to know everyone. People stop on the street or in the shops to chat for a moment. Everyone waves as they pass you on the street. If you have a question about where to buy something, others are happy to provide you with information and are quick to assist you.

At the same time, people on Ambergris Caye are not as intrusive or gossip filled as in other small towns. People on Ambergris Caye happily recognize and honor your boundaries. Whether it is locals or expats, everyone is warm and welcoming to newcomers. This makes it all the easier to meet people, make friends, and find yourself forming strong relationships.

 

Healthy & Nearly Car-Free

The primary mode of transportation on Ambergris Caye and in San Pedro is a golf cart. It is one of the many charming attributes of the island. There’s something special about being able to step outside your door and easily walk to where you need to. It is even more pleasant with the warm weather, tropical breeze, and sun shining. Depending on where you live on Ambergris Caye, you can easily walk to where you need to go. Most of the locals and residents drive around on golf carts, or small vehicles, with only a few trucks and large cars. Bicycles and golf carts are the popular modes of transportation on Ambergris Caye. You likely won’t need (or want) a car on Ambergris Caye.

The food has no preservatives. The local restaurants, markets, and fruit stands provide local produce, seafood, and meat. It is also easy to avoid the indulgence of fast food as there are none on the island. The air and food are likely much healthier than what you are accustomed to at home. It is much easier to have a healthier lifestyle on Ambergris Caye.

 

Medical & Healthcare

No matter your age (young or old), you want to ensure you have healthcare available. The healthcare in Ambergris Caye is not equal to that in the US or Canada, but it does exceed expectations and is very affordable. When living abroad or considering making a move to an off-shore country it is important to consider your healthcare needs.

One of the nice things about Ambergris Caye is the access to clinics, doctors, and pharmacies on the island. Ambergris Caye is the $1 destination in Belize, and as the country’s major tourism hotspot, it makes sense that there are plenty of options when it comes to quality of care and healthcare. Healthcare is available and cheap, insurance coverage is affordable and out-of-pocket costs are reasonable.

If you need specialized medical care, it is easy to travel to Belize City, or even Houston or Miami in the US, or Mexico (Cancun or Merida). Traveling to and from Belize is not difficult if you need more intensive medical care, surgery, or specialized care.

 

Accessibility

As much as you may love living abroad, and enjoying everything Belize has to offer, there will likely still be times when you want/need to return home. Whether you travel back to visit family, handle affairs, or just need a break, Belize is very easy to access and easy to get back home. Ambergris Caye is a short hopper flight from Belize City (roughly 10 to 15 minutes). From there, it’s easy to get back to the United States and Canada with direct flights to almost every major hub.

This brings peace of mind to anyone needing to return home for an emergency or celebration. It also means less travel time when going away for a vacation or visiting home. Ambergris Caye is just south of Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula, which makes it close to home.
The only international airport in Belize is in Belize City, BZE (Philip Goldson International Airport). The airport handles all the international air travel to and from Belize. Ambergris Caye is the #1 destination in Belize, which is very accessible when you land in Belize City. The domestic flight is 10 to 15 minutes, and you don’t even have to leave the airport. Flights from BZE to San Pedro are every 30 minutes to an hour and are provided by Maya Island Air & Tropic Air. You can also take the ferry from Belize City to the island, which takes around an hour to an hour and a half.

 

Residency

Another perk is that obtaining residency and/or becoming a Belize resident is much easier than in other off-shore countries in the region. There are many Belize residency programs and ways to obtain residency in Belize (including the Qualified Retirement Program). There are also no limitations on how long a foreigner can reside and/or live in Belize. Even without residency, you can renew your tourist visa every 30 days and remain in the country as long as you wish. After a year, or through investment, you can obtain Belizean residency. This provides many incentives for those wishing to live or retire in Belize.

 

Living on Ambergris Caye

Living on Ambergris Caye, Belize has many other perks and advantages when it comes to living here. Also, you give yourself a home base in Belize for further exploration of the country. You can make Ambergris Caye your permanent residence or a Caribbean getaway (second home).

 

Home Insurance in Belize

Home Insurance in Belize

There is insurance and home insurance in Belize. Having home insurance means that the financial cost of replacing your home and contents is covered if they are damaged or destroyed by a specific event covered by the policy. Dependable property and home insurance are available in Belize, including hurricane insurance. Local companies are reinsured through North American and European carriers. Deductibles are typically 5% of the sum insured on storms and less for fire.

In Belize, we have something called “all-perils insurance.” All perils insurance covers everything from rental damages to flood, fire, and hurricane. All perils (including Hurricane) insurance is available here on buildings and structures through local insurance companies, the primary insurance providers are;

All insurance in Belize is re-insured through US carriers which makes it very reliable and similar to insurance in the United States & Canada. Deductibles are normally 5% of the sum insured on storms (like Hurricanes) and less for fire. Insurance in Belize is paid and renewed annually.

There are different means by which a provider calculates a home’s annual insurance. 

  • Wood vs Concrete Construction
  • What is the state of the pilings?
  • The construction value of the house vs the appraised value of the house.

In Belize, there are a few ways a provider calculates the annual property insurance. One means by which the general home insurance is calculated is $8 of insurance for every $1,000 of home value for concrete. And $30 insurance for every $1,000 home value for wood.

The most common way local Belize insurance companies, which are reinsured through North American and European carriers, offer rates from 1.5% for concrete structures to 2.5% for wooden structures. Deductibles are typically 5% of the sum insured on storms and less for fire.

Like any Caribbean destination, Hurricanes are a concern. That being said, there are a number of factors that make Ambergris Caye less susceptible to hurricanes and hurricane damage. Hurricanes are a very real concern when owning real estate in the Caribbean. That being said, Ambergris Caye is somewhat perfectly situated to minimize the severity and damage from large storms, including hurricanes. Ambergris Caye is not in the strike zone where large storms make landfall. It is also important to note that there are also 2 types of damage with a hurricane, wind damage (which proper construction can minimize damage severity) and storm surge.

You can prevent wind damage with proper construction. Storm surge is the cause of the high level of destruction you see when a hurricane runs through. Storm surge is a rising of the sea as a result of atmospheric pressure changes and wind associated with a storm. A storm surge (also known as storm flood, tidal surge, or storm tide) is a coastal flood or large waves, it is a phenomenon of rising water commonly associated with low-pressure weather systems, such as cyclones or hurricanes. It is measured as the rise in water level above the normal tidal level.

Luckily on Ambergris Caye, we have a 1-foot tidal variance (due to the reef and proximity to the equator) and the reef (which is 400 yards from our southern shore) breaks up any large waves before they are able to hit the island’s shoreline.

To have a storm surge, a storm needs a long shallow plane of water, bringing the storm from the deep sea to a shoreline; if the depth is gradual over a long span, the storm can grow and become larger. Ambergris Caye is lucky because just off the Eastern coast is the Belize Barrier Reef which acts as a wall, and beyond that, some of the deepest water in the Caribbean. 

Hurricanes are certainly a concern in Belize, as they are throughout Central America & the Caribbean the way other natural disasters (tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, floods, etc) are a concern for people in other countries, states, or provinces. Mother nature is a part of life. Fortunately, Belize is located in the southwestern part of the Caribbean, which is out of the way of traditional hurricane paths.

The good thing about home insurance in Belize is that the all-perils insurance covers everything. All-perils insurance in Belize covers fire, earthquake, and hurricane. It also covers you if by some random chance an airplane crashes into your house. The insurance policies here in Belize are cheaper than the policies in the US. Though they are equally reliable. 

For more information on home insurance in Belize and Belize real estate contact us!