Ten Guidelines for Buying Real Estate
Buying a second home, investment property or preparing for a move and change of lifestyle can be a daunting experience. As a way to educate you as a potential buyer, we have put together a list to assist in making your Real Estate experience on Ambergris Caye a sound and fruitful one.
- Ensure that your realtor is showing you all the available properties that match your criteria, not just his company’s listings. Don’t be afraid to speak with another realtor if you feel you are not getting to see all available properties.
- Your agent might have some insight into what amenities are currently planned for a specific area, but in general you should avoid purchasing simply because your agent says that you can expect: a new town, new hotel, golf course, paved roads, city water or casino, among others. It will be a pleasant surprise if it does happen, but don’t buy based on his say so.
- In general you will find that condos and homes here in Belize will NOT provide a positive cash flow when it comes to servicing a mortgage as well as the upkeep, insurance and HOA fees (if applicable). You should also be very careful about developer or realtor income projections. Don’t count on paying a mortgage with your rental income.
- When purchasing land (undeveloped or with a house) in Belize, always make your contract contingent on the re-survey of the property to verify the exact location and dimensions. This should be done by a licensed surveyor.
- When purchasing any property here in Belize always make the contract contingent on the favorable results of a title opinion (sometimes a company search may also be needed) to verify the clean unbroken chain of ownership as well as to verify that there are no liens or encumbrances on the property and no judgments rendered or pending against the current owner. This should be done by a title investigator.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your realtor for references from past buyers and sellers. Be sure to speak with them and ask about their experiences. Also speak with other realtors in the area and see what they have to say about your agent and his company.
- Never wire or deposit funds for a real estate transaction directly to the seller or to anyone’s personal bank account. If a proper company account is not available, contact a closing agent or attorney who can hold your funds for closing.
- Ask your Realtor for options when it comes to the closing. Costs vary among paralegals and attorneys that specialize in closing real estate transactions, so speak to several and ask for references.
- Prior to making an offer ask your realtor the sale prices of comparable properties (comps) in the area. Base your offer on comp sales, not on the sellers listing price.
- If you are purchasing a managed property with covenants, always make the contract contingent on review of the management agreement and the CC&R’s (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions). If you would like additional information about purchasing property here on Ambergris Caye or you would like to speak to an agent, do not hesitate to contact us.