Costs of Ownership
Purchasing Real Estate in Belize
Property taxes are levied yearly in advance and can be paid by mail or in person at the Lands Department in Belmopan. Property taxes are based on the land value and not the building value and are generally at 1.5% of the assessed value. Assessments are usually at 10-40% of the market value. For instance, Boris Mannsfeld & Associates recently sold a waterfront lot for $US 200,000. Property taxes for 2010 were $BZ 14.63 for the year. This is only $US 7.32 (Seven dollars and thirty two cents). Rarely are taxes above $US 100 per year. The low property taxes in Belize minimize the holding costs when purchasing real estate for a long-term investment
Closing costs above the purchase price
The buyer has to pay the Government registration fee called the Stamp Duty on any price exempting the first $US 10,000. It equals to 5% of the value of the real estate, which is normally the purchase price; yet when you purchase a furnished home one should be able to base the Stamp Duty on the purchase price minus the value of the personal property. This is a cost saving tool that we utilize for the benefit of our clients. It will save you a few dollars (every penny counts!).
The buyer normally pays 100% of the closing costs. These fees typically include title search and opinion, escrow, title certificate, registration, payments of taxes and government fees and disbursements. Most people utilize a Belizean attorney for the closing and they typically charge a 2% (of purchase price) fee. Boris Mannsfeld & Associates has long lasting relationships with the best attorneys in Belize and can have an attorney close the transaction for a 1% fee. We have also utilized a very successful closing company in lieu of an attorney on many transactions. They will close a real estate deal for $US 1,500 to 2,500.
Title insurance is available through Stewart Title out of Texas. The cost is 2% of the purchase price. Title insurance is rarely utilized in Belize due to the high security of the Absolute Title. Boris Mannsfeld has a good relationship with the VP for International Business at Stewart Title.