Guide for Canadians Buying Real Estate Property in Belize
Buying property in Belize as a Canadian can be a fantastic option, whether for passive income or to enjoy the Caribbean lifestyle. Here's how to do it and what you need to know.
The country of Belize might be tiny, but it packs a punch when it comes to real estate appeal. There are many reasons why Belize is a world-class living destination. It has tropical weather, swoon-worthy beaches, ancient ruins, cheap properties, and no restrictions on foreign property buys.
If you're planning to buy property in Belize, there are many factors to consider, so it's wise to research and understand all the twists involved.
Why buy property in Belize?
Belize is a Caribbean country. Located on the northeastern coast of Central America, it's bordered by Mexico (north), the Caribbean Sea (east), and Guatemala (west+south).
Canada-Belize relations are generally good, and Belize is home to some Canadians. Here are some excellent reasons for joining the ex-pat community in Belize.
More affordable options than Canada. According to Forbes¹, Canada's real estate market is currently overpriced. You might find better luck fulfilling your property ownership dreams by venturing into Belize's emerging market, which offers many better value options.
The property tax is cheap. You also get the benefit of lower property taxes. Land taxes range from 1% to 1.5%, for perspective².
No red tape. Belize allows Canadian citizens to buy property there. The process is remarkably straightforward.
The first language is English. Belize operates as a member of the British Commonwealth and the British monarchy heads the state, so English is the primary language.
The weather is sunny. If you hate Canada's brutal winters, owning a second home in Belize allows you to become a "snowbird" ex-pat. As a snowbird, you can stay home when the weather is good and trade the winters for sunny weather in Belize to get the best of both worlds.
5 essential steps to purchasing property in Belize
1. Do your research
Buying property in Belize could be one of your biggest investments. Hence, it's crucial to research the property market – its past trends, forecasts and hotspots. This is the first step in deciding where to invest in real estate.
2. Take a trip to Belize
Generally, it's good to put eyeballs on the property before buying. To be thorough, we recommend visiting Belize and touring areas like Ambergris Caye, San Ignacio, San Pedro, Corozal, Placencia and to get a feel of the whole country. It's best to use an accredited broker since the real estate industry in Belize is unregulated.
3. Understand the laws
A reputable lawyer is an important factor in helping your purchase go smoothly. They'll help you understand the basics of ownership, such as the tax implications and obligations that come with purchasing international property. They'll also handle the legal aspect of the buying process and ensure a satisfactory contract overall.
4. Calculate the costs
The cost of buying property overseas typically includes mortgage fees, money transfer fees, legal fees, insurance costs, service fees and utility costs. Factor in all relevant costs to prepare a workable budget.
5. Transfer the payment
Once all the paperwork is in order, it's time to make the international money transfer. Using a specialist transfer service is better to avoid poor exchange rates and high bank transfer fees.
Why exchange rates matter?
If you're transferring a large amount of money into a foreign bank account, unfavorable exchange rates will increase costs. Since buying property is a substantial investment, you need competitive exchange rates that can spin you more money.
Fortunately, you can use MTFX's foreign exchange tools to make an informed decision. For instance, MTFX's live rate currency calculator lets you see the current USD/CAD pair trend. Although the Belize dollar is the country's official currency, it’s pegged against the U.S. dollar, which is gladly accepted. So, you’ll need to convert your Canadian dollars to American dollars to purchase Belizean property.
Where to find the best exchange rates?
There are various methods for sending money from Canada to Belize, with the top options being via a bank or foreign exchange specialist. Using a specialist service is your best bet if your choice of international money transfer service is based mainly on competitive exchange rates.
You can expect a currency specialist like MTFX to give you the most competitive exchange rates and low transfer fees. MTFX offers exchange rates 3-5% lower than banks because foreign exchange is our sole focus. We deal with large volumes of currency exchanges and know how to navigate market movements to help you get the most from your money.
The implications on your money are real and positive – you can save as much as $5,000 when you transfer $100,000 overseas.
Pay online and skip the bank
Technology has brought many perks to property buyers. For instance, it's possible to close a deal remotely thanks to Smart Viewing programs that enable you to take a virtual property tour.
An even better perk is the ability to pay for your dream Belize property without going to the bank.
When you open your MTFX account, the secure online platform never sleeps, so you can forget about banking hours and enjoy the convenience of making payments from anywhere, anytime.
The convenience of online payments is compounded many times over when you set up regular automated payments. This also allows to target or lock in a more favorable exchange rate with a forward contract or currency rate alerts.
Invest more in your property with MTFX exchange rates
Now that you know where to find the best exchange rates, you'll be pleased to know there are more compelling reasons to choose a currency specialist over banks.
As a currency specialist, MTFX can provide expert guidance when sending money internationally. In addition, accessing the 24/7 secure platform allows you to send money online with ease. This typically takes 24-48 hours, with express payments arriving at their foreign destination on the same day.
That means you get charged less for extra convenience while saving more money with highly favorable exchange rates and low transfer fees.
What are some key details to know before buying property in Belize?
Belize generally has friendly locals that welcome foreigners, so don't hesitate to understand the Belizian culture.
However, remember Belize is a third-world country. Although it has plenty of natural beauty, the available luxuries might not compare to what you're used to in Canada.
How do I get a mortgage on a Belize property?
A mortgage from a Belizean financial institution can be a viable option if you're a legal resident. Otherwise, you'll need to obtain a mortgage with a Canadian lender or an international bank that considers Canadian applications.
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Who can use the MTFX payment service?
Individuals and businesses who need to send money in foreign currency internationally can use MTFX’s services. The beneficiary of the transfer must have a bank account for the funds to be paid into.
Personal clients usually use our services to transfer money between their own accounts in two different countries.
Business clients usually use our services to transfer funds to suppliers, fund international operations, or repatriate overseas earnings.
Why should I use MTFX and not my own bank?
MTFX offers currency exchange rates that are 2-5% better than those offered by the banks. Personal clients usually save hundreds of dollars per transfer and for larger transfers, the savings can run into the thousands.
We also offer excellent customer service, dedicated currency specialists, and a 24/7 online platform with best-in-class technology that allows you to complete transfers from any device virtually anywhere in the world.
Business customers save with better currency exchange rates and proven solutions geared towards managing and mitigating foreign exchange risk. Our solutions include forward contracts, market orders, rate alert services, and much more - all backed by great technology and great people.
How do customers send funds to MTFX?
Funds can be transferred via wire transfer, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), or ACH payment services. MTFX maintains bank accounts in all major currencies with highly-rated banks. Our banking infrastructure ensures that you can transfer funds to us quickly and securely.
How long does it take MTFX to transfer funds?
Our global network of banking partners allows us to get funds to virtually anywhere in the world quickly and efficiently. Most wire transfers from MTFX will be received by your beneficiary within 24-48 hours. MTFX also offers same-day transfers that are almost instantaneous, as well as low-cost in-country payment services for your less urgent transfers. For further information please speak to one of our currency specialists.
Please read the following update before logging in to your MTFX online account
We have updated our online dealing system to provide you with better functionality, more unique tools and an overall enhanced client experience. MTFX Online 2.0 is now available for your dealing needs. You can begin using our enhanced online portal today.
Please note that the traditional portal will be available for use until MAY 30th 2021 at which point it will be decommissioned.