Real Estate Titles
Purchasing Real Estate in Belize
Title to property in Belize can be held in three different ways; Deed of Conveyance; Transfer Certificate of Title and Land Certificate. A Deed of Conveyance is the old form of title ownership. This form of ownership is legal and binding yet in order to sell property this from must first be converted to a Certificate of Title with an application (an attorney is required & it takes about 3 months). Any subsequent buyer is issued a Transfer Certificate of Title. A Land Certificate is an absolute title and is the current Title instrument being utilized by the GOvernemnt of Belzie to record title to real estate. Under the Registered land Act of 1987, the government is converting all freehold land (Deed of Conveyance) to the new Land Certificates so to achieve a uniform system
Almost all properties that are sold on the Placencia Peninsula are sold via a Land Certificate. You are issued an absolute fee simple title to your property. “Fee Simple” means that the title gets automatically passed onto the closest relative in case of the owner’s death.
Who is on the Title
The most straightforward way to own property in Belize is in your own name. It is also a simple process to hold the property in the name of a corporation (Foreign or Belizean). If you wish to hold title in a non-Belizean corporation then you must register your company to do business in Belize. This process takes about a week and can be done for less than $US 1,000. You can also establish a Belizean Corporation to take title. Many Belizean law firms have ready shelf corporations for sale to make this process an efficient one. This again can be completed in a week and cost les than $US 1,000. A fourth option is to create an offshore corporation to take title. This so called IBC (International Business Corporation) can be setup by local firms in about a week and at a cost of under $US 2,000. Please note that a Belizean IBC is not allowed to own real estate in Belize so the IBC must be registered in the Bahamas, Seychelles, Nevis or in another similar jurisdiction. Boris Mannsfeld and Associates can recommend an exceptional real estate attorney and a very successful firm that specializes in offshore corporations and real estate closings. One important point is that each time title is altered in any way a new 5% stamp duty must be paid to the Government so it is best that you decide up-front how to take title.
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.