Investing Offshore Mistakes to Avoid
There are a number of mistakes people can make when investing offshore or purchasing a vacation home in a market outside the US or Canada. Belize Real Estate has become increasingly popular for investors and people looking to relocate to a warm tropical climate. There are far more than 5 mistakes people make when investing offshore, but we are going to touch on 5 of the most common. Here are the 5 Mistakes people make when investing offshore & how to avoid making them yourself.
5 Mistakes People Make When Investing Offshore
- Buying Real Estate Without Using an IBC.
- Buying or Selling Property Without Taking Advantage of “Owner-Carry Financing”
- Buying for Personal Use & Investment without a Strategy.
- Buying Property in an Overly Saturated Market.
- Buying Without a Reliable Ownership Structure
1. Buying Without Using an IBC (International Business Corporation)
Owning property in an IBC (an entity structure separate from yourself) will protect your personal assets and give you numerous advantages. Setting up an IBC takes less than 96 hours.
Advantages of using an IBC
- Protection from Lawsuits
- Save Thousands of Dollars
- Higher Return on Investment
- Tax Minimization
- Simplicity of Ownership
- Asset Protection
TIP: Look for properties already in an IBC!
2. Not Planning an Exit Strategy
Selling Your Offshore Investment
Many offshore markets have expensive bank financing, giving you the opportunity to maximize your profitable return by offering your buyers owner carrier financing, at terms you set.
For example, you purchase a lot for $200,000 & now it’s worth $300,000.
You add a traditional cash sale:
$300,000 (sale price) – $200,000 (cost of property) = $100,000 ROI (Return on Investment).
You offer the buyer financing with 20% down, 10% interest, and a 5-year term
= $100,000 profit
+ $82,000 in interest.
= $182,000 ROI (Return on Investment)
As you can see, this structure adds significant percentage points to your ROI. When you offer to owner finance a property you not only improve your ROI, but you also improve the liquidity as you greatly increase your prospective buyer pool. The larger the buyer pool, the easier and faster you sell a property. It is difficult for foreigners to obtain financing in most offshore markets. If you offer seller financing on your property you maximize your return. It is also important to consider your “exit strategy” on any investment property.
3. Buying for Personal Use & Investment
What to look for in a personal use property
- Personal style
- Specific colors/landscaping
- Close to Downtown
- Who are the neighbors
- Is the area quiet
- Is the land fully developed
What to look for in an investment property
- Is it the path of progress
- Is there a potential upside
- Where are the value adds
- What can be improved
- What is the ROI
- How long do I want to hold
- What financing terms can I obtain
Look deeper and identify what type of property is going to meet your needs.
4. Buying Real Estate in a Saturated Market
Infancy Markets Competitive Advantages
Buying within an infancy market isn’t always a great investment opportunity. With that said, properties within an infancy market have the most potential upside in the future. The key: finding something within an infancy market that lies in the path of progress. Examples would be Ambergris Caye Real Estate & Belize Real Estate.
Investing in Ambergris Caye Real Estate
Buying in a Saturated Market
We’ve all heard the age-old saying, buy low sell high. The vast majority of properties within a saturated market are already overpriced and thus in these conditions, it is much harder to find good, let alone great investment opportunities.
5. Buying in a Market with Poor Ownership Structure
When you are buying real estate offshore you want to make sure that you are buying in a country/market that offers full foreign ownership and fee simple title, You also want to buy and invest in a market where the government is in favor of foreign investment. An example of this would be, Belize.
Belize is a member of the British Common Wealth and practices British Common Law, as such its systems are nearly the same as Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. The fee simple title owner has the right to possess, use the land and dispose of the land as the owner wishes-sell it. In Belize, you own your property outright and can give it away, trade it for other things, lease it to others, sell it, or pass it to others upon death.
In countries like Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras, owning property as a foreigner is far more difficult and there are restrictions in place. Mexico does not directly allow for foreign property ownership and forces investors to jump through hoops to “own” their property. You must incorporate through a Mexican corporation with a Mexican Director and sift through the confusion and grey areas to do so. When buying or investing in Mexico, it is hard to tell if you ever truly own anything.
It is also important to note that most offshore markets have squatting rights. This is not the case in Belize. Belize does not recognize squatters and squatting rights are not a concern.
Advice: Before you invest in an offshore market, invest in your education.
When making an offshore investment take the time to attend webinars, read investment guides, talk to the right people, and research everything you need to know before pulling the trigger.
Investing in Belize Real Estate