INVESTING 101 EDUCATION

The Vacation Rental Property Opportunity in Investor Friendly Belize

Have you ever dreamed of owning a private island or a home on a tropical beach? You probably assumed things like these are out of reach. They are, for many people. But when you buy property in investor-friendly Belize, suddenly those wishes aren’t pipe dreams anymore. Through our fractional ownership in Belize program, you can own a share or more of a private island or a custom built beach house, complete with concierge, full-time chef, maid service and more. But why Belize exactly?

What Makes Belize Investor Friendly?

Belize has been an attractive vacation and retirement destination choice for a long time. But in the distant past, the many attractive features of Belize were less well-known. Now, its increasing popularity has made Belize even more friendly for American investors.

The Cost of Living is Good

Economically speaking, Belize is a smart investment location for Americans. The Belizean dollar is tied to the American dollar at a 2-1 ratio. So your American money goes at least twice as far. We say at least twice as far because the cost of goods in Belize is so low. According to actual reports from expats who have chosen Belize as a permanent retirement destination:

  • food is 26% cheaper
  • housing is 55% cheaper
  • personal care items are 44% cheaper

On average, the cost of living in Belize compared to the United States is 28% less expensive.

Foreign Investors Welcome

Belize financial institutions welcome foreign deposits. If you plan to vacation frequently in your fractional share property, you’ll likely want to open a local bank account for convenience and to save on currency exchange fees. Whether you invest in a fractional share ownership of Placencia beachfront vacation property or you decide to retire in Belize, you’ll have no problem opening a bank account there. Unlike some other countries, foreign deposits in Belize are treated almost the same as local deposits.

Generous Retirement Benefits for Expats

Belize has a very generous program for foreigners who wish to live and/or retire in Belize. It’s called the Qualified Retirement Program (QRP). It’s open to retired persons aged 45 years or more, which is quite lenient in itself. The income criteria is a monthly pension or annuity of at least $ 2,000, or proof of annual income totaling $24,000 or more from a source outside Belize. Again, the criteria are very easy to meet for most people since the average annual salary in the U.S. is over $50,000.

There are other criteria, but one, in particular, is of interest to vacation rental property owners in Belize. You must be able to remain in Belize for a minimum of 30 consecutive days each year. With a fractional share ownership in a vacation property in Placencia, you get five weeks of use each year, so again, not a big hurdle. There are numerous benefits that come with the QRP Resident card. You are entitled to remain in Belize indefinitely, with multiple entries and exits allowed without challenge and without a visa requirement. U.S. citizens don’t need a visa to enter Belize, however. For the entire first year, QRP resident cardholders get duty free exemptions for personal and household effects, a personal boat, personal aircraft, and personal motor vehicle. So if you wish to bring any of these items down to Belize to keep at your fractional share ownership property, you’d pay no duty on any of them. Finally, QRP cardholders pay no income tax, inheritance tax or capital gains tax on any income from a source outside Belize. Many private and corporate investors even call Belize a tax haven, although as a U.S. citizen you are still responsible for U.S. taxes.

English is the Official Language

Belize is the only country in Central America with English as the official language. As an investor, you always want to ensure that communication is accurate. When you invest in vacation rental property in Belize, all your paperwork will be in English, in a formal language that you’re accustomed to. You won’t need to hire an interpreter to understand what you’re signing.

Low Property Taxes

As an owner of a fractional ownership vacation rental in Placencia, you’d need to pay property taxes. However, property taxes in Belize are exceptionally low. Depending on the area, property taxes range between just 2% and 2.5%. Your property manager would take care of the actual paperwork and payment process, however.

Easily Accessible

Belize and Placencia, in particular, are easily accessible. For instance, from Houston, Texas it’s just a little over two hours’ flight time. Since U.S. residents don’t need a visa, getting through customs is fast and simple. This accessibility helps make Belize a popular vacation destination, which in turn helps keep your rental property rented out when you aren’t using it.

Stable Government and Society

Belize has a solid, reliable and stable government and Belizeans are quiet, laid-back people. Uprisings and civil disobedience are virtually unheard of.  Belize is an independent member of the British Commonwealth, with a legal system based on the British legal system. “Constitutional safeguards include freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association.” Foreigners are welcomed with open arms in Belize. You’ll never feel threatened or resented by locals. In fact, tourism is a foundation of the economy. The Belizean government wants more tourists to come and visit. Those who wish to have a more permanent relationship with Belize through the purchase of investment property are even more welcomed.

Protected Property Rights

As a foreigner owning property in Belize, your rights are protected just the same as if you were a native Belizean. There are no laws or restrictions against foreigners who wish to own property in Belize. The English Common Law legal system in Belize protects foreign investors who own property in the country.

Natural Attractions and Eco-Tourism

As the site of Mayan Ruins, Belize is a popular tourist destination. Numerous other natural attractions make Belize a top eco-tourism spot. These include tropical rainforests, the largest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere, United Nations World Heritage sites, mountains, beaches, caves, and an abundance of flora and fauna. There are few places on earth that offer the number of natural attractions that Belize does. For an investor in vacation rental property, these features are invaluable.

Are you intrigued by the idea of investing in vacation rental property in Belize? Given the highly investor-friendly benefits, it’s no wonder. At AREI, investments in fractional ownership vacation properties start at about $150,000. Why not give it a test drive? Join us on a fun and informative Belize Discovery Tour for four days and three nights. Find out what it’s like to invest and spend time in and around Placencia, Belize. We promise you’ll love your visit, but we can’t guarantee you’ll ever want to leave! Contact American Real Estate Investments to learn more.