Belize is one of the nations that allows non-citizens to own property. That makes it ideal to invest in offshore real estate and possibly become an expat eventually. It is necessary to establish financial accounts with a bank within the country before you can receive a mortgage, but opening an offshore bank account is a solid financial strategy on its own.
The real question is whether you want to purchase a house or look into the idea of owning a condo. Ultimately, the answer boils down to what makes you happy and which option would work best in your situation. Here are some questions to ask yourself before beginning to look at potential properties.
How Do You Feel About Privacy?
What does privacy in the home mean to you? Defining the type and amount of privacy you desire does factor into what sort of dwelling is best. Simply put, would you prefer to live in a setting that’s detached from other dwellings? Do you like the idea of a privacy fence and the fact that no one can look on as you sunbathe in the backyard? If so, looking at houses would be a good idea.
Perhaps you would have enough privacy as long as the walls are thick, and the layout includes a balcony or porch that’s not easily observed from the other units. You’re okay with following rules about using the surrounding grounds and even the type of decor used on a patio or balcony. If that’s true, a condo will be a good fit.
Do You Like Gardening and Yardwork?
One of your dreams is to have time to enjoy taking care of your landscaping. Even if you have someone come in to take care of the basics, you still love the idea of planting flowers and bushes where you like. It might be nice to have a small vegetable garden out back or spend some time cultivating a couple of fruit trees. If you like this idea, a home with a small amount of outdoor square footage would work well.
Perhaps you’re not much for the outdoors. Even when you are outside, you’d rather be spending time around the pool, using a walking track, or playing tennis. These are all part of the amenities included in condo ownership. If you prefer to focus on what’s happening inside your home, look carefully at owning a condo.
Will You Be Renting the Property Part of the Year?
The long-range plan may be to retire in Belize. In the meantime, what will be done with the property? You do want to use it for vacations and possibly getting away for a few days. The rest of the time, it would be great to offer it for temporary rental.
Technically, you could do this with a house or with a condo.
One benefit of having a condo to offer guests is that there’s already someone around to manage the property on your behalf. That means ensuring the place is ready for the next guest and checking and cleaning the space once the guest leaves. If it is several years before you retire, buying a condo now might be your best bet.
Is the Property Merely an Investment?
Perhaps you plan to buy real estate as an investment. You have no plans of living there permanently, although you will use it from time to time. In this scenario, it’s essential to focus on the housing marketing and the potential resale value.
While current market conditions will always come into play, remember that houses tend to be easier to sell than condos. That’s not a big deal if you have the time to allow the property to remain on the market a little longer. Should you think that the day may come when you need to sell the property quickly, having a house would likely result in a quicker and possibly more lucrative deal.
How Neighborly Are You?
Detached houses, especially ones with privacy fences or walls around the property, lower the chances of encountering the neighbors every time you set foot outside. That’s great if you’re the type of person who’s more comfortable with the occasional encounter on the front sidewalk or driveway.
Opting for a condo increases the chance of encountering neighbors, particularly in common areas and around the grounds. People who love interacting with those who live around them would likely be much happier living in a condo.
Do You Want Access to Lots of Amenities?
When you purchase a house, you’re the one who’s in charge of the features and amenities. You decide if there’s a hot tub off the lanai or if the backyard includes a pool and an area for grilling out. At any time, you can remove, add, or change the amenities to suit yourself. Many people find that to be the ideal set of circumstances.
Condos come with many amenities that you and the other residents get to enjoy. There are pools, spots for cooking out and having picnics, fitness centers, spas, and several other features to enjoy. If you like the idea of having access to them without having to manage the upkeep or purchase additional membership fees directly, condo living is ideal for you.
Purchase Your Piece of Paradise in Belize
Once you have an idea of the type of dwelling you want, engage the services of a local real estate professional. You may want to hire a real estate lawyer who can help you navigate the legal aspects of becoming a property owner.
Visit the Belizean bank and look into your options for obtaining a mortgage. These steps will ensure that when you find the right property, it will be easy to move forward with the purchase without any delays.
Luigi Wewege is the Senior Vice President, and Head of Private Banking at Caye International Bank, headquartered on the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye in Belize. Outside of the bank he serves as an Instructor at the FinTech School which provides online training courses on the latest technological and innovation developments within the financial services industry. Luigi is also the published author of: The Digital Banking Revolution which is available in audio, kindle and paperback formats throughout all major international online bookstores and is now in its third edition. He holds a Master of Business Administration with a major in International Business from the MIB Trieste School of Management, as well as a BSBA with a triple major in Finance, International Business, and Management from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.