How To Begin Investing In Property Globally…

Begin Investing In Property Globally

It’s a pivotal time in Belize’s tourism industry and an ideal moment for investors to stake a claim in its property market.

Belize’s tourism numbers have increased steadily over the past decade, the pandemic notwithstanding. The number of visitors increased by 52% in 2021 and by an additional 70% in 2022.

Belize has powerful market appeal. This country is popular with everyone, from the mainstream tourist looking for lazy Caribbean beaches to the hardcore investor looking to establish an offshore structure.

Airlines continue to add new direct routes, and the major hotel brands, including Marriott and Hilton, have established a presence on Ambergris Caye, Belize’s most famous tourist hangout.

Property is affordable—especially compared to other Caribbean havens—and property taxes are low.

Belize doesn’t put any restrictions on foreigners when it comes to property ownership. In fact, it encourages property investment by foreigners through opportunities like its golden visa program

Invest US$250,000 or more in Belize real estate (or a business), and you become eligible for the Belize Temporary Residency (Investment) Visa, which allows you to live and work here.

On top of this, Belize has good options for offshore banking and establishing offshore structures, and it offers a seriously tax-advantaged set-up.

How To Buy Investment Property In Belize

As a property investor, your arrangement will probably be one of the following:

1. You’ll live at your property and rent out any extra rooms

2. You’ll vacation at your property and rent it when you’re not there

3. You’ll only rent it out (personal visits aren’t on the agenda)

First, to be able to rent out your property, you’ll need a trade license. This ensures you’re operating your business legally and paying your taxes.

If you’re buying in an apartment or condo building that’s already operating as a hotel, the management company usually takes care of this paperwork for you. This usually also means they’ll be your property and rental manager. If your condo, apartment, or home isn’t operating as a hotel and you want to rent it out, you’ll want to establish a company for your rental business.

You can create a local 250 company or an international business company (IBC). If you go the IBC route, you’ll need to register your company to do business in Belize.

How To Rent: Professional Vs. Self-Management

You have a decision to make: Do you want to be in charge of the rentals, or do you want someone else to do the work for you?

There are pros and cons to both options…

Professional Management

Pros Cons
The freedom of not having to be on site all the time Higher fees than self-management
Professional managers are experts who know the market and can market your property competitively There’s a risk of hiring a company that is not performing well

Professional management is more expensive than self-management, but the fees can be justified depending on your situation.

For instance, they handle the marketing of your unit (and it’s in both parties’ interests that it gets rented), they arrange the hired help, and they handle other factors you may not have considered. If you plan to be an absent owner and won’t have boots on the ground often, a property and rental manager could be the way to go…

But before hiring any company, do your homework.

Ask other expats for referrals, see how many properties that company has in their portfolio, look for online reviews, and so on.



Pros Con
It creates a personalized experience for your guest You have to be on call 24 hours a day
You call the shots on rental rates and availability The workload can be high, especially if you have many rooms and no hired help
The fees charged by rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO are lower than professional management fees You have less flexibility; you need to be near the property whenever it’s in the rental market

Professional management is more expensive than self-management, but the fees can be justified depending on your situation.

Managing your own rental is considerably more work…

And competition for renters can be stiff. Some hosts take things to the next level by offering memorable services to their guests, like airport or water ferry pick-ups and drop-offs.

You’ll need to be present regularly or find a reputable person to help guests when you’re not there—easier said than done. Reliability can be an issue in Belize. It’s common for someone to offer their help and then not perform.

It’s a good idea to have a few helpers on speed dial… That said, if you plan on being on-site or in the area full-time, self-management could be appealing. Airbnb and VRBO are the two most popular sites for rentals by owners. At the time of writing, Airbnb only charges hosts 3% per reservation.

Consider The HOA…

If you’re buying in a complex or a building with a home owner’s association (HOA), you’ll need to make sure you’re able to rent your property out and, if so, if you can rent it on your own. Don’t be surprised or upset if they don’t allow it. The decision is usually made for quality control and to ensure there is no confusion in the marketing of the rentals at that property.

While you may pay more for their services, they’re experts in the field and will make sure your property is well looked after.

If there is a specific property and rental manager that you must use, ask if there are any restrictions on owner use. Usually, branded hotels have an owner-use clause to ensure they have inventory for rentals. If you want to come and go as you please, a branded hotel room may not be right for you. If your primary goal is income, a branded hotel may be the way to go.

Where Should You Buy?

If cash flow is your objective, go where the tourists go. Ambergris Caye, which claims about 70% of Belize’s significant tourism income, is your best choice, followed by Placencia and San Ignacio.

Tourist numbers are rising annually, but so too are real estate prices. If you’re looking to stake a claim in Belize’s property rental market, act quickly.


Rachel Jensen

Belize Insider