The Community Corozal Belize - The Purchase Process / Purchasing Property in Belize:

 

It is important to consult with an Attorney when purchasing property in Belize. That said, the process of purchasing property in Belize is relatively straight forward, but it requires diligent title searches to be made to ensure purchasers that the property being purchased is not subject to any liens or encumbrances (including but not limited to a registered mortgage or caution).

 

The purchase process in Belize is similar to that of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. As Belize was a British colony up until recently, the legal system is still in the main based on English Law.

 

Once you have confirmed which lot you would like to proceed with, you will be asked to select one or more lots from the Site Plan, and will be asked to sign and return a Reservation Document. Additionally, the Buyer will be requested to pay a Reservation Fee. This will remove the lot from the open market and permit the legal process to commence.

 

After the Reservation Fee has been received and the Reservation Document has been returned, the Belizean Attorney will be in touch with you and prepare the Purchase Contract, which will be sent to you for review and for signing.

 

Following the return of the signed Purchase Contract, you will be asked to arrange the remaining balance payment to officially close the Lot purchase. The monies will be sent to the Belizean Attorney's Escrow Account (Client Account to secure monies safely and legally).

 

The Attorney will need to verify that the land is owned free and clear, with no mortgages and taxes etc, and subsequently after verifying that, the closing will take place. There is no need to travel to Belize to consummate the transaction – all can be done via Fedex and email / telephone.

 

Common pitfalls faced by purchasers in Belize who fail to consult with an Attorney include but is not limited to the following:

  1. The property is not owned by the purported Vendor,
  2. No title search is carried out,
  3. A mortgage is registered against the title which prevents a transfer,
  4. The taxes on the property has not been paid
  5. Strangers are living on the property and are claiming rights to the property
  6. There is no valid sale agreement governing the purchase and complications arise, and
  7. There is an existing challenge to the title unknown to the Vendor.

 

The standard rate of legal fees for property acquisitions of this type is 1.5% of the purchase price or BZ$800.00, whichever is greater. Some disbursements are also incurred which normally tally to around BZ$500.00. Additionally, there is a 12.5% Tax charge on legal services in Belize.

 

Stamp Duty is also payable to the Government of Belize on all property transfers at the rate of 5% of the purchase price in excess of BZ$20,000.00 (US$10,000 equivalent). In total the costs equate to approximately BZ$1,300 / US$630 subject to exchange rates. This cost is per lot.

 

Included in the Attorney fees would be the following duties:

 

1.      Reviewing and advising on the purchase contract.

2.      Conducting a Title investigation.

3.      Ascertaining if there are any liens, charges, mortgages or other encumbrances.

4.      Co-ordinating the discharge of any mortgage.

5.      Ensuring that the property taxes are fully paid up.

6.      Reviewing and advising on the by-laws and restrictive covenants (if applicable).

7.      Drafting the title transfer documents.

8.      Overseeing the proper registration of the title transfer documents.

9.      Ensuring that there is a sound closing in all other regards.

 

As with most legal companies payment for all legalities will be made prior to any work is commenced.

 

Forming an offshore company for the purchase is another option to consider. Ie. holding title to the property in the name of a Corporation is a recommended asset management structure.

 

The total cost for formation of a Belize company is BZ$1,800.00 (US$900.00 equivalent). The formation of a Belize company is quite a simple process and can be done within just a few days.

 

For your records the benefits are:

 

a)      A form of Asset Protection since the property is owned by a separate entity, and
b)      You are able to sell shares in the company to allocate interest to family members etc.

Estevan Perera Attorney-at-Law  
 

REAL ESTATE |  CORPORATE | BANKING | TRUST |LITIGATION | PATENT AND TRADEMARK | NOTARY PUBLIC

P.O. Box 1866 | Address: 2118 Guava Street, Belize City, Belize

    

 

Tel: (501) 223-2323  | USA Number: 305-393-8777   | Cell: (501) 610-4444 | Fax: (501) 223-5578

 

Email: steve@attorneybelize.com 

Web:  www.attorneybelize.com

 

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