Q:

How do you buy a home in Belize?

A:

Quick Answer

Procedures for purchasing a home in Belize are similar to those in the United States, including title searches, escrow fees and property closing or title transfer procedures. All real estate transactions in Belize can be completed by an individual, an attorney or a licensed real estate agent.

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Full Answer

There are no restrictions on foreign citizens owning property in Belize, as it is a member of the British Commonwealth. However, the property laws of Belize are governed by the British Common Law system and vary significantly from U.S. real estate law. For individuals who wish to purchase property, retaining local legal representation is advised. Many American-based real estate agencies operate in Belize, such as Century 21 and RE/MAX, and can assist in the process.

Property financing can be done through U.S. financial institutions or local banks, although the local interest rate is generally high, as of 2015. Most home sales are conducted in U.S. dollars. Belize has no capital gains tax, so calculating property closing costs are relatively simple. The government assesses a 5 percent stamp tax on the declared purchase price at the time of title transfer. Legal fees and the title search typically cost 2 percent.

Annual property taxes generally run about 1.5 percent of the assessed property value. Many consider the assessed values to be owner-friendly, averaging only 10 to 30 percent of the declared purchase price.

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