Investing in Belize

Investing in Belize Guide

The purpose of every investment guide in the world is to help the reader make money and this one is no different. One of the keys to successful investing is timing, another is to buy low and sell high. Patience is also considered a key to success and in Belize, it is undoubtedly the most important. Unless the world economy falls apart, now is the time for investing in Belize and adhere to these keys to success.

“”It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.“”

– Robert Kiyosaki, Author of Rich Dad Poor Dad

Why Should You Invest in Belize?

Belize has recently been “discovered” and more and more retirees in the US and Canada are making the move here. Most of them buy a home and many purchase a business. The law of supply and demand dictates that as more people buy, prices will go up. This has been happening and is just beginning to accelerate.

The government of Belize offers several incentives:

  • Quality Retirement Program QRP
  • 100% foreign ownership of land or property
  • 100% foreign ownership of business
  • Belizean products are duty-free to Canada
  • Special tax advantages in Export Processing Zones (EPZ)
  • Belize does not have an estate tax or capital gains tax
  • Property taxes are very low

Foreign investment can be considered high risk. A few reasons Belize is not considered high risk are:

  • Stability – Long time democracy, 35 years Belize currency pegged to US dollar
  • Legal System – Based on British Common Law
  • Profits – Repatriation of proceeds and profits okay
investing in Belize

Development Update from Ambergris Caye, Belize November 2017

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Where Should You Invest in Belize?

The majority of retirees are moving to Ambergris Caye or Placencia so if you are investing in Belize through real estate or a business, these are the areas you should consider first. Although things may be more expensive in these districts than others in Belize, they are more likely to increase in volume faster than other areas.

If you are looking to invest in farming, the location would depend on what you want to grow, such as with sugar cane grown in Corozal or Orange Walk, bananas and citrus grown in Toledo, and cocoa mostly grown in Cayo.

investing in Belize

What Should You Invest In?

Belize does not have a stock or options market and its currency is pegged to the US dollar, so no FOREX plays here.

There are however, a few ways to invest:

The government of Belize officially encourages your investment in the following sectors: tourism, agriculture, agro-processing, furniture manufacturing and call centers.

  • Buy and hold land
  • Buy a home or condo and put it in the rental pool
  • Real estate development
  • Buy a business, build it up and sell it or just collect the profits
  • Start a business, build it up and sell it or just collect the profits
  • Buy and run a farm – sugar cane, citrus fruits, bananas and cocoa
  • Buy and run a hotel or resort, build it up and sell it or just collect the profits

The government of Belize officially encourages your investment in the following sectors: tourism, agriculture, agro-processing, furniture manufacturing and call centers.

How to Invest in Real Estate in Belize

Real estate prices have risen steadily over the last ten years and are projected to continue this trend for the foreseeable future. If you obtain a property for a price at market or below, it will most likely be an excellent investment for short and medium term investors.

Whether you are buying land, a condo, a home or a business; there are three unbreakable rules. The number one rule is to be patient. There is always another condo, piece of land or business for sale so wait until you get what you consider a fair price. The number two rule is cash is king! Bank financing is expensive, laborious and anything but guaranteed. An all cash offer gets to negotiate on price. An offer that needs seller financing doesn’t have much leverage on price. The number three rule is to find a good buyer’s agent (ME!) and let them negotiate for you. A buyer’s agent does not get paid from you, but from the seller, but they work solely for you, the buyer. Since the buyer’s agent is not the listing agent, they are not beholden to the property owner and work in your best interest, not the seller’s.

Each purchase has a Stamp Tax of about 5% of purchase price payable to the Belize government as part of the closing costs. Property taxes are extremely low ($250K US would pay $375US/yr) and a capital gains tax does not exist, which means when you sell, you get to keep all the profits!

I recommend that you complete all real estate transactions through an attorney or licensed real estate agent. Be sure that a “Title Search” is conducted at the Government Land Registry and that the property that you are buying is clear of all liens, judgments and encumbrances. An attorney should charge about $250US for a title search.

Financing your Real Estate or Business Purchase

If you require financing, try to take out a second on your house back home or convert your 401K or IRA to a self-directed IRA and use it. Some deals offer seller financing with 50% down and a 5-year note at 6%, a common deal parameter. Use the local banks as a last resort as they charge 8-12% interest with 2-4 points, require 20-40% down and take about 3 months to complete a transaction.

What To Be Wary Of When Investing In Belize

Belize is still considered a third-world country. This translates into a relatively uneducated workforce, power outages and a lack of some resources. Belizeans operate on Belizean time, which means they show up late for work, open late for business and deliver later than promised. The infrastructure is poor and in need of repairs and upgrades. The Internet, Phone Services, electricity and gasoline are relatively expensive. Bank financing is expensive, laborious and anything but guaranteed.

Retiring in Belize

Belize has set up a special program for retirees to entice them into spending their golden years here. The rules are relatively simple and a few thousand Americans and Canadians have already taken advantage of the program.

Living in Belize

Most people visit Belize and fall in love with the country and its lifestyle. Usually around day three or four of the visit, they’ve seen many Americans and Canadians living here and begin to wonder how they can live here too.

Moving to Belize

So you have visited Belize a time or three, fallen in love with it  and are thinking about making the move. There are already thousands of Americans and Canadians who have gone through the same thought process and are now living here.

Investing in Belize

Most people who invest their savings in Belize do so one of two ways; they buy property or they buy a business. Whether buying on an island or the mainland, there are always excellent deals to be made, if you’re patient.