Buying Property in Belize: Some Advice
It might be a scary and complicated prospect to consider purchasing real estate in a foreign nation like Belize.
The first order of business is to locate a trustworthy real estate agent in Belize. To make sure the agent is reliable, it’s important to get references or testimonials from previous customers. When the realtor has assisted you in locating a home that meets your needs, the following step is to make a formal OFFER TO BUY to the seller.
Your real estate agent in Belize should give you the following essential document:
The LEGAL DESCRIPTION of the Property, for example, Lot #56 blah blah blah. * The purchase price proposed. * Any additional stipulations of the offer. * The names and addresses of the parties involved. The real estate agent will have included all relevant details (closure dates, deposit amounts, etc.) in the offer to purchase. The offer to buy must be signed and a down payment made before the sale may go through.
An official Offer to Buy will be presented to the seller by your Belize real estate agent. The seller has the option of accepting the offer or making a counteroffer. The seller will sign and deliver the contract if the offer is accepted.
It is time to get a Belizean lawyer to go through the last steps before the agreement is finalized.
The primary responsibility of the attorney is to guarantee a “good and marketable” property title. If there are any potential liens on the property’s title or deed, he should find out about them. The “plan of the survey” should be reviewed as well to confirm the property’s location and measurements. In Belize, the standard range for a lawyer’s fee in a real estate transaction is between 1% and 3%.
If you need the assistance of an attorney in Belize, you may look them up in the yellow pages or contact a real estate agent there to name some good ones.
The fact that three distinct land title registration systems are in effect in Belize is a major source of consternation for many visitors.
The Minister’s Fiat Grant, often known as the “Conveyance system,” issues a “Deed of Conveyance” to purchasers. The Certificate of Title system (or Torrens system) issues the traditional “Certificate of Title” to purchasers. By the newly enacted Registered Lands Act, a “Certificate of Title” is issued to the purchaser under a new procedure.
The government of Belize has been gradually transitioning all properties to the new Registered Land Act system since its implementation in 2002. All three methods provide incontestable legal evidence of property ownership in Belize,
When the buyer’s attorney verifies that the property is “Free and Clear and Marketable,” the buyer will deposit the purchase price into an escrow account in Belize. The most common method for this is a bank wire transfer from a North American financial institution.
Stamp duty often called a property transfer tax, is a kind of tax due at the end of a transaction. It is typically set at 5%. Each real estate transaction in Belize with a value of more than BZD 20,000 must pay the stamp duty. In most cases, the Offer to Buy will specify that the buyer is responsible for paying the stamp duty.
The buyer then sends the vendor the purchase price. The seller signs the deed to the property and then “Lodges” it with the Land Register office in Belmopan, the country’s capital. The buyer officially acquires title to the land after the necessary paperwork has been lodged with the Land Register Department.