My name is David Kafka and I am an agent for RE/MAX and I am 39 Years old and I am from Charleston, South Carolina. I first came to Belize 4 years ago with my wife and daughter for investment and vacation. I did not expect to fall in love with the people, the culture and the country. So we sold everything we owned and moved to Belize in February 2010. So I am familiar with the moving process, working in Belize, getting residency, buying and selling property, and bringing animals to the country. Please let me know how I can help you with anything on these questions. My email address is [email protected] and my cellular number is 011-501-631-9622. Here are a few frequently asked questions that will help you out. Happy hunting and please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you may have.
- Does Belize Have a Stable Government?
Yes Belize is set up as a British Commonwealth and is a democracy. We have a Prime Minister and many influences from England, US and Canada.
- Can foreigners buy property in Belize?
- When you buy property in Belize is it leased property?
No- Belize has full title ownership, but there are leases in Belize that is why you need to have a good real estate agent to look out for your needs.
- What kind of Added cost is there when you buy property in Belize?
Once you buy a property in Belize, there is a 5% "Stamp Duty Tax" that goes to the government. The first $10,000USD is exempt from that tax. Then there is anywhere between 1.5%-3% for closing cost. If you want Title insurance that is 1% of the sale price. If you want a more in depth Title search you can do that for $400.00USD.
- How are Property Taxes in Belize?
Taxes in Belize are very reasonable. It is a land tax so even if you build a house it is the same price. Taxes in San Pedro (Ambergris Caye) are more than the rest of Belize. For example a beach lot in Placencia has a land tax of $38.00BZD PER YEAR.
- Can you Finance property in Belize
Yes and No. Banks in North America will not loan money on property here in Belize. That said most local banks will loan money and the rate varies. Please fill out the questionnaire below to get a rate quote and what are the qualifications for property loans.
- Where is the best place to purchase property in Belize?
That depends on what type investment you want. Please email me and I can help you with the answer. In my opinion there are 2 of the hottest markets and that is Placencia and San Pedro. But there are some really nice places in the mountains as well. Let me know what you are looking for and I can help you with a location. Everything depends on what you want to do with the property. Email me at the address above and I can help you with this question and can help you find the answer just by the questions I ask you and the answers you give me.
- Can you get Title Insurance?
Yes you can, it runs you about 1% of the sale of the property.
- Can you get homeowners Insurance and car insurance?
Yes you can get all types of insurance; Fire, theft, earthquake, flood, hurricane, etc. When you find a property you like I can help you get a quote. For example I got a quote for a client that was buying a beach house in Placencia, The house alone not including the land was worth $150,000.00 USD and the full insurance coverage was $2,100.00 USD per year. My golf cart cost me $65.00 USD per year for liability insurance. My 2001 Suzuki Grand Vetara runs $180.00USD per year for liability insurance.
- What is there to do in Belize for Recreation?
Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, so the diving and snorkeling is awesome. Then we have some of the best Mayan Ruins, all types of fishing, sun bathing, cultural activities, waterfalls, and much much more. RE/MAX gets plenty of great discounts on all tourist related activities. Email me for discounts.
- Does Belize get a lot of Rain?
Depending on the time of year Belize can get a lot of rain. But most of the time it comes down in Buckets so to speak at night and does not affect any daily activities. The farther North you go the less rain you get. Corozal gets the least amount of rain. In the North is under 70" per year and in the South it can get as much as 160" per year.
- How easy is it to travel to Belize?
From the US and Canada it is very easy. Normally a stopover either in Houston, Dallas, Miami or Atlanta. There is a new International Airport under construction near Placencia and it will bring in flights from Europe and make traveling to Belize easier and cheaper. It is expected to be open in 2012
- What kind Of Services are offered in Belize
Belize has different types of Police Officers, Fire, and EMS. There is electric, water, high speed internet, phone, cable or satellite TV, trash pickup, hospitals, EMS and more. Depending on where you live will depend on what type of services you will have but Belize is a developing 3rd world country.
- What kind of work opportunities are there in Belize?
There are many different type of Opportunities for work in Belize, construction, resort owners, bar owners, restaurant owners, and really anything your imagine can take you.
- Can I work in Belize?
Yes you can work in Belize with a work permit. Email me and I can give you the application, after you are in the country for a year then you can apply for residency.
- How can I get residency?
Once you are in the country for 1 year without leaving Belize for more than 2 weeks you can apply for residency. You get residency by filling out an application, getting a physical at the doctors, having an HIV and TB test done; police report and a few other documents then you can apply. It takes about 6-8 months to get it and the whole time you cannot leave the country. I can help you with the process just call or email me.
- How long can I stay in Belize?
You are allowed to stay in Belize for 30 days. After the 30 days you can ask for a 30 day extension and for $50BZ you can get a 30 day extension. You may apply for a 30 day extension every month if you like and pay the $50BZ every month for 6 months. After 6 months the fee goes up to $100BZ per month. Then after you are in the country for 1 year you can apply for residency. Now if you have a work permit you do not need to go through this process.
- What is the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) and how do I apply?
The QRP is a way you can move to Belize and bring your personal belongings without duty charges. If you are 45 years old and older and if you have an income of at least $2,000USD you can qualify. Then you can bring in your Boat, plane, car and personal items without duty. Under the QRP you are not allowed to work. But if you are married one of you can qualify for the QRP and the other one can work if you choose. There are other ways around the $2500/month and I can tell you more about it just get in touch with me and I can go through it all with you.
- Can I bring my animals to Belize?
Yes you can, I can give you the Pet Permit form and go through the process with you. It is pretty easy and there is no quarantine process.
- What kind of money do you use in Belize?
Belize uses the Belizean Dollar (BZ) and its value for the most part is 2 BZ to 1 US dollar.
- How is the cost of living in Belize?
The cost of Living in Belize is relatively cheap to live, especially for me coming from Charleston, SC. That said some places are cheaper to live then others. Rent is cheaper away from the beach of course. Food is cheaper the more inland you go as well. Now if you want to live like an American you will pay for it. For example Bananas are like .50 USD for 7-10 of them. Mangos are like .35 for 1 in season, Pineapples are $1.00 USD, Lunch runs me about $4.00 for like a quarter bbq chicken, rice and beans and coleslaw, anything local is cheap but like a box of fruit loops is like $5.00US. A big 45lbs of Pedigree Dog Food that I can get at Wal-Mart for $17.00- $24.00 USD will cost you around $40.00- $55.00 USD. Call me and we can discuss more.
- What is the population of Belize?
The population of Belize is around 330,000 people
- Is Belize really the only English speaking country in Central America?
Yes it is. Although there are other languages spoken in Belize like, Ketchi, Spanish, Garifuna, Creole, Chinese and others but English is the Main language. The reason is the melting pot of many different ethnic groups here that is what maks Belize such a beautiful country. Other ethnic groups: German and Dutch Mennonites, Chinese, Arabs and Africans accounts for a small percentage of the population.
- How expensive is Medical Treatment?
It is very reasonable, I was sick and went to the doctor and a check up, follow up a few days later and 5 different medicines ran me $35.00 USD. My eye doctor cost me $22.50 and my Boush and Lomb contact lenses are $45.00 for 3 month supply. For my residency I got a physical for my wife, daughter and I with blood work and AIDS test and it cost me $95.00 for all 3 of us.