PURCHASING PROPERTY IN BELIZE
It is important to consult with an attorney when purchasing property in Belize. The process of purchasing property in Belize is not only complicated 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.
Common pitfalls faced by purchasers in Belize who fail to consult with an attorney include but is not limited to the following:
- The property is not owned by the purported Vendor,
- No title search is carried out,
- A mortgage is registered against the title which prevents a transfer,
- The taxes on the property has not been paid
- Strangers are living on the property and are claiming rights to the property
- There is no valid sale agreement governing the purchase and complications arise, and
- There is an existing challenge to the title unknown to the Vendor.
In Belize there exist various types of land titles which include:
- Deeds of Gifts
- Title by Prescription
- Strata Titles (Condominiums)
- The Torrens System-First Certificates of Title (FCTs)
- Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs),
- Registered Land Title (RLA) and
- Minister's Fiat Grants or Leases.
Each of the abovementioned titles requires a different approach to register a transfer.
BELIZE TITLE SEARCH AND JUDGMENT SEARCH
We cannot help to stress the importance of a title search in Belize before purchasing any property. The freehold or good root of title has to be ascertained by a vigorous title search which provides the attorney and purchaser with complete knowledge of all information regarding the title to the property including but not limited to the transfers, inheritance issues, restrictive covenants, easements, surveys, subdivisions and surveys.
One must not only carry out a title search but must also verify with the Courts of Belize that there are not claims being brought against the title to the property or the owner. Despite the fact that no liens, charges or encumbrances may be apparent on title, equitable interests may still exist by virtue of Court action against the property itself or the owner.
We are also able to provide you with proper legal advice as to the most appropriate structure for the transaction (purchase) in consideration of your needs and with regards to saving on taxes.
When acting on behalf of our purchasers we provide the following services:
- Drafting and/or reviewing sale (purchase) agreements;
- Ensuring property execution of the sale agreement and attestation thereto;
- Conducting title investigations;
- Conducting Company Searches (if necessary);
- Judgment Search against the Vendor's name;
- Making requisitions as to title (if necessary);
- Ascertaining if there are any liens, encumbrances, charges, mortgages over the property;
- Receiving the purchase funds and/or deposit in our escrow account (Escrow Services)
- Assisting with the discharge or cancellation of any mortgages registered against the title;
- Verifying that all property taxes have been paid;
- Advising on the by-laws and restrictive covenants (if any);
- Procuring the services of land surveyors and/or valuators if necessary;
- Preparation and registering a caution or lien (if necessary);
- Registering of Sale Agreement (if necessary);
- Drafting Conveyances / Transfer Documents in respect of the property;
- Overseeing the entire transaction until the title documents are issued in the name of the Purchaser;
- Attending to the payment of all government fees on behalf of the client including property taxes (if requested), stamp duty and recording and registration fees;
- Ensuring that all matters are in order.
Our fee for assisting with the purchase of a property is calculated at the rate of 1.5 % of the purchase price or BZE $800.00 BZE Dollars whichever is greater.
Fee: 1.5% of Consideration
You will also be required to pay the following disbursements:
- Stamp Duty which is payable to the Government of Belize on all property purchases at the rate of 5% of the purchase price in excess of BZE $20,000.00 (USD$10,000.00).
- Miscellaneous Disbursements of about $400.00 BZE Dollars.
There will be no hidden professional or governmental fees.
We protect our clients at all stages of the transaction and remain guardians of the escrow at all times. Should the seller default or if the property cannot be transferred for any reason we will return the escrow deposit in full to our clients.
BELIZE BUYER'S AGENT/ SELLER'S AGENT SERVICES
We are also able to assist with the following:
- Review of Title information
- Review of Contracts
- Monitoring Time Lines
- Reviewing and Advising on Sale Agreements
- Arranging Title Insurance
- Negotiation Terms of Contract for the purchase of the property
- Assisting in the valuation of the property (www.belizeappraisal.com)
- Reviewing plans, developments, permits and Construction Contracts.
Contact us for our fees regarding our Buyer / Agent Services in Belize
LOCATING PROPERTY IN BELIZE
If you would wish for us to locate a property in the country of Belize for you please provide us with the following:
- Price range
- Type of property (Condo, Hotel, Island, Commercial, Residential)
- Location (District)
- Size (Acres or a lot)
- Any other Special features
- Number of units, baths, size of building
Our Fee: 0.5% of the Purchase Price
Our firm is experienced in advising both land owners and tenants in the country of Belize regarding their legal rights and obligations.
The laws regarding the relationship between landlords and tenants in Belize is governed the Landlord and Tenant Act, Chapter 189, of the Laws of Belize. The law stipulates that all leases for a term of two years or more must be in the prescribed form and must be registered in Belize. Parties must also be aware that despite the limitations founds in a lease agreement, our laws prescribes certain obligations and rights onto the parties.
In respect of leases we provide the following services:
- Preparation and/or review of Lease Agreements in Belize;
- Registration of Lease Agreements in Belize;
- Payment of Stamp Duty on all leases;
- Litigation in the Supreme Court of Belize for the enforcement of leases;
- Eviction Services
APPLICATION FOR FIRST CERTIFICATE OF TITLE (FCT)
We are able to assist in converting all Deed of Conveyances (title) into a First Certificate of Title for a secure title.
Contact us for more details regarding this service.
OTHER BELIZE REAL ESTATE SERVICES (RELATED SERVICES)
- Assistance on subdivisions;
- Assistance with Valuation of properties;
- Preparation of Legal Mortgages and Charges;
- Application for Hotel Licenses;
- Referral to reputable realtors;
- Referral of certified architects;
- Referral of certified contracts.