Real Estate in BelizeFeb 12 • Categorized as Real Estate in Belize
Authored by: Yvette Dalton
Real estate in Belize offers a vast spectrum of choices to fit just about any calling to owning a piece of paradise. The country of Belize encourages foreign investment in both real estate of all types as well as varied types of investments structures including businesses, NGOs, Educational partnerships, and more.
Real estate ownership can exist of a small investment of as little as $5000 USD for a residential lot all the way up to a multi-million dollar private island. Belize really makes it easy for you to live your own personal definition of paradise.
Belize is still a growing country. This means that the processes are improving in addition to the infrastructure growing as well. The Government of Belize specifically the Lands Department is making great strides in protecting the vested interest of both the buyer and seller of property in Belize.
There are still goals the Lands Department is working on to improve, however there have been great strides to computerize the process and therefore reduce the opportunity for mistakes in the system or out-right fraud. Even with these improvements, it is advised that anyone on any level seeking to make an investment in Belize or any other country use a trusted buyers agent.
This person is tricky to find sometimes as there are a lot of people in Belize ready to “sell” anything to anybody willing to buy. You will find this same culture in most Caribbean nations. However, in Belize everybody sells property from the taxi cab drivers to the person working the front desk at your hotel, the local gift shop and beyond. And even some of the so called “REALTORS” are not really Realtors.
The definition of a Realtor is one who is a member of National Association of Realtors (NAR) and subscribes to the strict Code of Ethics. Realtors vow to follow established professional practices which are governed by NAR. This is important for your buyers agent search as Belize as a nation does not set standards of practice nor laws that govern the sale of real estate.
Belize does have government processes that are to be followed when going through the title transfer process etc. However, they do not govern the practices of selling real estate. Bottom line – this means you need protection.
This issue alone makes choosing who you are going to work with probably the most important decision in your investment process in Belize.
The process can go very smoothly or it can be a nightmare. So do your homework up front and use credited organizations like the National Association of Realtors to help you determine who is best to handle your investment in Belize. Understand that a true “Realtor” must be registered and paying dues with an association sanctioned by the National Association of Realtors and they must also be current on their own dues and registered individually with the National Association of Realtors.
It is not only unethical, but illegal as well to use the Realtors logo to market yourself as a Realtor and not be fully following the expectations of the National Association of Realtors. The only way to know for sure is to call the National Association of Realtors and follow up on the person that you are investigating to possibly be your buyers agent in Belize.
So why is all this important for you to understand? Because, I guarantee you will be approached by someone who will want to “show you their piece of property for sale“. However, knowing this arms you with the information you need to seek out a trusted buyers agent who is going to work on “your” behalf. This is the most important and cost effective way to purchase property in Belize.
This is the only way you know you will be taken care of all the way through the sale and that the property you are wanting to purchase really is for sale at an appropriate market rate. If you take the time to do your homework at this stage of the purchase process, which is the first step, then you will have a more pleasant purchasing experience with a professional that is going to assist you in finding your perfect paradise.
Once you find your buyers agent, you should expect them to be able to show you any legitimate listing in Belize and this includes developments too. A professional will be willing to find you a property that is as close to what you describe your needs to be as possible. This includes property parameters within your price range. You should also expect your buyers agent to be honest with you too and tell you when a property is priced higher than their market research or your price range is not in line with the market value of what you are saying you want in a property.
Either way you should expect honesty in the search for your dream. Some of those “so called professionals” that we discussed will not offer to show you any listings but their own. They do this so that they can pocket the entire listing commission fee and some even practice what is called “Net Listings“.
Net Listings are what some call “Gringo” pricing. This is where an owner tells the listing agent what they want for the property and the listing agent prices the property much higher. When the property sells, then the agent gives the owner only what they wanted for the property and pockets the rest.
This can be a significant difference. Besides doing a disservice to the owner by not educating the owner on where the property should be priced for the market value and taking a reasonable commission for their work, this agent has now ripped off their buyer too.
Now there is nothing wrong with a truly professional agent exhausting the search for your property among their own listings first. After all this is part of why they work so hard to find good marketable listings to represent. However, if you do not find what you are looking for among these properties, then a true professional will find your property no matter who has the property listed for sale. This is a buyer’s agent that is working on your behalf.
Now as you expect your buyers agent to be loyal to you and represent you and your dreams, you should also expect to return the courtesy. Do not “CHEAT” on your professional by working with other agents behind their backs. Besides this being disloyal and unethical, you will most likely put your agent(s) in a very compromising position during the negotiations of your property.
So if you court several agents, then they will all try to claim you as their client – as they should because this is their perception. So if you start out working with one agent and do not follow through with only that agent and begin a conversation with another agent who might have a property you are also interested in, then you not only loose the loyalty of your agent(s), you risk making a bad purchase because you have compromised the entire process of your original agent making sure the property of interest is legally able to be sold. Not all properties that are listed for sale are legal properties that can be sold legitimately.
Once you choose your buyers agent, you should always work through that person. If you see a property you are interested in then let your professional do the work to make sure it is a legitimate property for sale. After they research the property, your professional will then contact the listing agent or owner depending on the type of listing and schedule to take you on a showing of the property.
You will always be assured to have proper representation and be in the best negotiating position. You will also have the loyalty of your professional with this code of conduct and make it much more pleasant for you both to find your dream property. This creates a win-win situation in that you get your dream property and your Realtor acting on your behalf as your buyers agent gets properly compensated though a clean and transparent transaction.
View our Featured Properties of Belize and see for yourself why Belize is an attractive place for your investment dollars!