Investing in Belize

Tourism has grown considerably over the past couple of years and now accounts for the second largest industry in Belize. Up double digits year over year, 2015 – 2018. The government is using tourism to fight poverty in the country, which has a positive effect on agriculture, commercial, construction, real estate and finance. The increase in tourism coupled with the government’s tax and retirement incentives, low property taxes and fee simple property ownership, makes this beautiful country an ideal find for retirees and real estate investors.

LIVit Belize Realty is here to help you with your real estate investment whether it is a retirement home, vacation home, commercial property, new build, land or commercial development.


  • English is the official language, including legal matters and contracts
  • No Capital Gains tax and no estate tax
  • Low Property Taxes and minimum utility fees
  • Fee Simple property ownership
  • Asset protection, foreign ownership can offer another layer of protection from litigation in the US
  • Close proximity to the US, with affordable airfare

Purchasing and Legal Process

  1. Offer to Purchase (counter offers)
  2. Acceptance of Offer
  3. Earnest Money submitted and deposited into an Escrow Account (10 – 20% is common)
  4. Formation of how buyer want’s to hold title
  5. Due diligence period (title search, survey, inspections, etc.)
  6. Preparation and signing of closing documents (buyer/seller do not need to be present)
  7. Balance of purchase price and taxes deposited into the established Escrow Account
  8. Closing takes place, upon receipt of signed closing documents and funds, the closing agent will record and register the property in the buyer’s name (“Transfer Certificate of Title/Land”) and wire the funds to the appropriate parties. 
  9. The Government of Belize will issue a “Land Certificate” the buyers title, to the closing agent.  This can take a couple of months to receive.  The “Transfer of Land” certificate will show proof of ownership until the “Land Certificate” is received.

There are mortgages available typically with ~30% down, amortized over 20 years and interest rates higher than in the US/Canada. Belize offers commercial banks, international banks, local banks, and credit unions. The number of foreign banks and institutions in Belize is continuously growing and are protected under the Offshore Banking Act of 1996. Most buyers either use cash, IRA funds or take equity out of their primary home. LIVit Belize Realty can assist in structuring your investment.

*A Vacation Home is an investment in Real Estate no different than a rental home other than this is an investment with income that you can enjoy whenever you like.

Ownership rights for a foreigner is the same as a Belizean citizen, ‘fee simple / freehold’ property ownership.  Fee Simple or Fee Simple Absolute is an estate in land, a form of freehold ownership. It is a way that real estate may be owned in common law countries, and is the highest possible ownership interest that can be had in real property.

Is NOT a time share.  It is a method in which several parties can share in the ownership of a high-value tangible asset, usually a jet, yacht or piece of resort real estate.  In a fractional ownership arrangement, the owner (purchaser) actually owns a piece of equity in the property, similar to deeded ownership of one’s primary residence.  As the real estate value increases so does your equity position.  No different than owning stock in a company.

Sometimes called vacation ownership is a property with a divided form of ownership or use rights.  Multiple parties hold rights to use the property.  Ownership is not distributed and your investment is not tied to the value of the underlying property.

The government of Belize in the early 1990’s drafted legislation that would enable Belize to be the premier tax haven country in the world. This legislation included the International Business Companies Act, the Trusts Act, and the Offshore Banking Act, all of which have put Belize in the forefront of the international financial service jurisdictions. Belize also adopted a Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) allowing retirees to enjoy a tax-free lifestyle.

If you are not a QRP, the laws allow you to avoid income taxes altogether by transferring income and assets (not real estate) into a Belizean International Business Corporation (IBC). Dividends to you from the IBC are not taxable.

Belize is committed to privacy and a no-tax system for individuals and companies establishing themselves in the country. These advantages, combined with an English speaking country and laws makes Belize one of the world’s top tax havens.

Ownership can be held in a Foreign Trust and can be registered in Belize

A foreign company can purchase real estate in Belize

An Offshore Company can own Belizean Real Estate but not a Belizean Offshore Company. It is illegal for a Belize Offshore Company to own Belize property and for this reason you must open your Offshore Company in a different country so that company can own property in Belize. An Offshore company cannot conduct business within its domicile.

Title insurance is available but costly and is not necessary for purchasing property in Belize due to the type of title guaranteed by the government. Stewart Title out of Texas and First American Title will guarantee title in Belize.

They are recommended and part of the purchase process.

Belize is governed by British Common Law allowing full property ownership with land title just as in the US and Canada. All land documents, titles, leases, covenants, variances, strata titles are in English and English common law prevails. The freehold or good root of title has to be ascertained by a title search.

First Certificate of Title (The Torrens System-First Certificates of Title FCTs)

Certificate of Title is a state or municipal-issued document that identifies the owner or owners of personal or real property. A certificate of title provides documentary evidence of the right of ownership. When issued for real property (such as land or a house) by a title insurance company or attorney, the certificate of title is a statement of opinion on the status of the title, based on a thorough examination of specified public records.

Strata Title is a method of facilitating individual ownership of part of a property – generally a condominium or townhouse.  It allows for individual ownership of an actual lot or unit within sharing ownership of the common grounds on which it is built.  (TCT)Strata Title is a form of ownership devised for multi-level and horizontal apartments (condominium).  The developer applies for this type before selling and the owners’ association is created known as a ‘strata corporation’.  This is where ‘common area’ rights are defined.

Both the initial earnest money and purchase money balance are held in an escrow account and will not be given to the Seller until the closing.  Common Earnest Money deposit in Belize is 10-20% and determined by the listing agreement with the seller.

Foreign Buyers, pay 8% stamp duties on purchase price less US$10,000

It varies depending upon if you use our in-house closing services, a local escrow/closing company or a Belizean attorney, law firm. Typically the fees are 1-2% of the purchase price. Closing costs in Belize are paid by the Buyer.

Property taxes in Belize are very low, 1.5% of the assessed land value only. Property taxes are levied yearly in advance and can be paid by mail to the Lands Department in Belmopan. Most yearly property taxes are below US$100 per year. Low property tax allows investors minimum holding costs.

There are none in Belize. Always consult a tax accountant in your country of residence for advice.

The transfer and possession of your property will take place once the closing company receives the final monies. It can take a couple of days for a wire transfer to clear the central bank of Belize and reach the escrow account at the closing company. You are not required to be at the closing as everything can be done by overnight mail or electronically.

Depending upon the complexity of the purchase, title search and survey it takes ~ 45-90 days to complete the transaction.

Visiting and Residency

Airlines overall have increased the number of seats to Belize by more than 3,400 per week over the last year with more seats being added as this demand continues to increase.

Daily flights, some direct from many cities across North America make it easy to get to Belize. Sometimes faster depending on how the wind is blowing.

Houston, TX – 2.5hrs
Miami, FL – 2.5hrs
Dallas/FtWorth, TX – 3hrs
Atlanta, GA – 3hrs 11min
Charlotte, NC – 3.5hrs
Denver, CO – 4hrs
Chicago, IL – 4hrs 15min
Los Angeles, CA – 5hrs
Newark, NJ – 6.5hrs
Toronto, CA – 5hrs 30min

All visitors to Belize must present a valid passport before entering the country. The exception is for cruise ship passengers. Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the date of arrival. Visas are not required for citizens of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, European Union, Caribbean and Central American countries.

You can stay for up to 30 days and extend on a monthly basis for up to six months. If you are planning on staying for more than 30 days then you must pay for an extension at the Immigration and Nationality Department Offices.

The QRP Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Program was established by the government for those people who wish to live in Belize and can prove a permanent and consistent income or other retirement benefits.

  • Applicant must be 45 years and older from anywhere in the world. A person who qualifies can also include their dependents. Dependents include spouses and children under the age of eighteen. However, it can include a person up to the age of twenty-three if enrolled in a university.   
  • Income from a source outside of Belize in the amount of no less than US$2,000 must be deposited into a financial institution within Belize.
  • General incentives for the QRP include; no taxation on income forwarded to Belize, exempt of all import duties and taxes on personal/household effects including but not limited to furniture, motor vehicle, boat, light aircraft, etc.

Property Management / Rental Program

From purchasing your property, full maintenance, maid service, nightly rentals, accounting, marketing, to selling, LIVit Belize does it all for you so you can enjoy your income producing vacation home whenever you want. LIVit Belize offers a full service Vacation Rental Program where we allow you to choose the needed services. Owning a Vacation property shouldn’t be your second job.

Our dedicated local staff cares for your Belizean Vacation home to ensure proper maintenance and guest satisfaction. Our industry-leading technology gives your home access to 30+ booking engines, owner portal, property reporting, accounting, digital contracts, email verifications, transaction history, payment processing and so much more. Unlike other Vacation/Property Management Company’s we only manage homes in Belize. Do you really want a Vacation/Property Management Company from another country managing your home?

It’s your home you tell us. Simply go into your owner portal and block out the dates. Let us know what services you need during your stay so you can actually relax and enjoy your Vacation Home. We never limit your own personal usage or those of your clients. Want to have a party or need a chef?  Just ask.

From peak season to storm season, we keep your house in top condition.

Hotel-quality housekeeping and amenities with a dedicated local property manager to ensure your property gets the highest guest satisfaction.  Ask us about our Linen Program.

That’s up to you and what services you choose. Speak with one of our Vacation property specialists or simply play around with our Investment ROI Calculator. Our booking technology will automatically adjust your rental rates depending upon the season and demand. We assist you with setting these parameters or we’ll do it for you. 

On the 15th business day of every month we direct deposit your proceeds from the previous month with full accountability into your bank account.  Your accounting is real time and can be accessed by you at any time.

Part of our services is to make sure all taxes are paid for on your behalf. 

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