- 1. Real Estate FAQ
1. Selling Your Property21.12.15
Thank you for considering Boris Mannsfeld & Associates for marketing your Belize property. We know how important it is that as a seller/owner you receive accurate, reliable, experienced and professional service.
Boris Mannsfeld has personally invested in and sold over 100 properties in Colorado and Belize ranging from vacant land, to private homes, condos and commercial buildings. Selling his own properties was his business in Colorado. Mr. Mannsfeld successfully bought properties to renovate and sell, built new homes from scratch, pioneered modular home infill development in downtown Denver and even moved homes across Denver. Selling and marketing real estate was his business.
The Team at Boris Mannsfeld & Associates has many years of residing in Placencia, investing in Belize real estate and marketing Belize property. Our sales and marketing experience in Belize, our proven Internet marketing skills, our extensive network of contact in and out of Belize and our motivated and experienced sales team in Belize will allow us to market your property to a level that you will expect from a professional firm. Boris Mannsfeld & Associates is the only firm in Belize that specializes in the Placencia area. This is our expertise and buyers from across the globe have contacted us instead of other firms specifically because we are considered the experts in the Placencia area real estate market. One important point. It is unfortunate but many agencies in Placencia only like to sell their own exclusive listings. The theory, I guess, is that if they have the buyer and also the seller then they will earn the full commission and will not have to split it with another agent. In our professional experience this strategy backfires rather quickly. Boris Mannsfeld & Associates has made it a know priority that we prefer to work with all agents in Placencia and Belize to market our properties and their properties.
Our attitude is that we should find the BEST property for our buyers regardless of commissions. The same goes with our sellers. We want to sell our client’s property as soon as possible regardless of the commission splits. Our policy is to put our client’s best interest first! We all win in the long run with such policies! Listing your Belize property with us is easy. Contact us first and we will provide you with a free consultation including a free evaluation of your property and a suggested listing price. We will present you with a Listing Agreement to review and once we agree and sign an agreement we will commence with marketing your property to the fullest right away.
2. Belize Real Estate Agents21.12.15
Belize Real estate agents are not licensed because the government of Belize does not have a regulatory system for real estate agents. This means that most agents in Belize have never received any formal training much less follow an obligated code of ethics and standards. In reality, ANYBODY can advertise himself or herself as a Belize real estate agent. Steps, however, are being put in place to legislate an association to implement set rules and regulations for the Real Estate Industry. Boris Mannsfeld & Associates has taken the extra steps to assure that an exceptionally high level of ethics, professionalism and expertise is utilized with all clients.
Boris Mannsfeld developed, bought and sold real estate in Colorado for 12+ years before moving to Belize. He earned his real estate license in Colorado in 1998 and continues to be a license agent while operating in Belize. Boris has to undergo continuing education in the USA to maintain his license and is legally bound by all rules and regulations set by the Colorado Real Estate Board; if he screws up he can have his license revoked in the USA! Boris Mannsfeld & Associates is also a member of the Association of Real Estate Agents in Belize (AREBB).
We were also invited to join the prestigious Leverage network of the most successful independent brokers across the globe. We suggest that all buyers and sellers of property in Belize check with the agents that you may be working with and ask for some referrals to make sure you will be receiving professional service. Make sure you review all your real estate documents on your own before transferring any funds. Do your homework. The real estate market in Belize is very safe, yet, like anywhere in the world these days, screwballs exist waiting to take advantage of people.
3. Global Marketing Your Belize Property21.12.15
Boris Mannsfeld & Associates follows an extensive global and local marketing approach to property market and sell your property. The following are just some of our tools: Inform all Placencia real estate agents and all agents in Belize that are members of the Association of Real Estate Brokers in Belize (AREBB) and the Belize National Association of Realtors (BNAR) of the availability and details of your property We send out a quarterly newsletter to our database of over 6,000 contacts that have some type of interest in Belize. We always encourage them to visit our website to view properties which would include your property. Boris Mannsfeld is a member of various professional international business and real estate organizations which we will regularly inform about all our real estate options in Belize. International Living, Leverage, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, FIABCI, etc. Your property will be added to our website within just a few days. We add properties in house so we do not have to wait for an unmotivated outside firm to update our website. Our website continues to be updated so it shows up quickly on Internet searches for Belize real estate. We would place a For Sale sign on your property within days. We manufacture our posts internally and will not be dependent on a firm to produce our signs, which could take months. We would post your property on numerous international real estate sites that have been proven to be successful for us in the past. We have to pay for these services yet we believe this is the cost of running a professional business. We will be utilizing our extensive real estate contacts in Europe to promote your property. We will try to attend various expos around the world each year to promote Belize and our real estate listings. In the past Boris Mannsfeld has exhibited at Real Estate, Investment, 2nd home and/or NAR (National Association of Realtors) expos in Moscow, London, Calgary and Houston. Many more exclusive & effective marketing tools exist yet we wish to not share those here on our website.
4. Our Promise21.12.15
Boris Mannsfeld & Associates will work diligently to provide you with the highest level of professional, ethical and experienced service in the Placencia real estate market. Honesty is of the highest importance. We will work with other agents and will make every effort to market your property efficiently. We will return emails and phone calls quickly from any prospective buyers. We will also be working together as a team inside our firm to sell your property. Last but not least, we promise to make your success our priority.
5. Move Forward with Your Belize Property Sale21.12.15
Contact us so we can discus your property and options. We will email you an Exclusive Listing Agreement for review. Please have the following documents available when listing your property with us: Copy of Title Copy of Survey Plan for the property Copy of most recent Property Tax Receipt A description and possibly map indicating where exactly the property is located Any specific information for marketing your property such as square footage of home, dimensions of lot, year home was built, etc.
6. Purchasing Belize Real Estate21.12.15
Purchasing Belize real estate is very simple and extremely secure. The extensive documents that are common with a property purchase in the USA, Canada and/ or Europe are thankfully not part of the buying process here. There are no barriers to foreign investment and, as a member of the British Commonwealth, Belize has a legal system based on British law and is the only English speaking country in Central America. Understanding your documents will be much easier than in other countries in Central America. Title is fee simple absolute title so is extremely secure. Title insurance is available yet rarely utilized. Foreigners have the same property rights in Belize and as do local citizens. Foreigners can own beachfront property in Belize. In addition, Belize has no capital gains or inheritance taxes and a growing private offshore banking sector. Corporate income taxes are also quite low and can be as low as 1.75% of gross sales! Property taxes are extremely low (normally below $US 100 annually) so holding costs are very low. All real estate transactions are funded with US dollars with a few exceptions (this provides extra protection to the owner since your asset can not lose value due to a currency devaluation as is possible in other countries). Furthermore the Belize dollar is fixed to the US dollar 2 to 1 so to offer additional security since currency devaluation is very unlikely. Owning Belize real estate can be a very rewarding experience.
7. Step by Step Guide21.12.15
1.Complete and submit a Purchase Agreement to the seller (or seller’s agent) through Boris Mannsfeld & Associates.
2.Select a closing company or attorney. Boris Mannsfeld & Associates has a very well established relationship with the most competent and efficient real estate attorneys and closing companies in Belize.
3.Upon acceptance of the contract (by both the buyer and the seller) wire the 20% earnest deposit to the escrow account of your Belize attorney, Belize closing company or Boris Mannsfeld & Associates.
4.Boris Mannsfeld & Associates and the buyer complete all inspections on the property, due diligence and planning for after the closing. The closing company simultaneously completes title research & prepares closing documents only when the title search produces a clear and free marketable title.
5.Closing documents (“Transfer of Land” documents) are delivered to the seller and buyer via Federal Express (or DHL). Buyer and Seller sign documents in the presence of a Notary Public. Original documents are then sent via Federal Express (or DHL) back to the closing company or attorney in Belize. Closings usually complete within 30 days of the signing of the original purchase contract.
6.Simultaneous with the execution of the closing documents, the buyer is to wire the balance of the purchase price to the escrow account.
7.Once all closing documents and funds are received, the closing agent or attorney will record and register the property in the buyer’s name utilizing the “Transfer of Land” document and will wire the funds to the seller. The Government of Belize will issue a “Land Certificate” (your title) yet it can take from 1 to 3 months to have the certificate issued. The closing company will receive the title and will contact you as soon as it is in their hands. The “Transfer of Land” certificate will in the mean time be your proof of title and ownership. Enjoy your new property.
8.Let Boris Mannsfeld & Associates know how and when we can be of further service. And of course, tour referrals are always greatly appreciated.
Most people pay cash for Belize real estate. Some foreigners will tap into a home equity line of credit if needed. Foreign banks will not lend for a purchase of real estate in Belize (if you locate one then please let us know!). Occasionally owner financing is available yet it is not typical and considered uncommon. A handful of well-established local and some international banks in Belize will provide mortgage for a purchase. In general they will lend 60% “Loan to Value” with 15 year terms. Currently the interest rates are 10.5% annually. Boris Mannsfeld & Associates has very good contacts with the Belize banks so let us know if you need some assistance.
9. Closing Cost21.12.15
The buyer pays a Government Of Belize (GOB) registration fee called the “Stamp Duty” on the sale of real property in Belize, of which the first $10,000 (USD) is exempt. This ‘stamp duty’ is equal to 5% of the property value, which is normally the purchase price. When a property is sold furnished, the value of the personal property is deducted from the value of the property and it is upon that reduced amount which the Stamp Duty is based. This is a cost saving tool that we utilize for the benefit of our clients and it can save you a few dollars (every penny counts!). The buyer normally pays 100% of the closing costs. These fees typically include title search and opinion, escrow, title certificate, registration, payments of taxes and government fees and disbursements. Most people utilize a Belizean attorney for the closing and we have negotiated rates with law firms within our sphere of influence for only one-percent (1%) of the purchase price. We also utilize the services of a very successful closing company, in lieu of an attorney, who will close real estate transactions for a little under $1,500 (USD).
10. Property Taxes21.12.15
Property taxes are levied yearly in advance and can be paid by mail or in person at the Lands Department in Belmopan. Property taxes are based on the land value and not the value of any improvements thereon (i.e. a home) and are generally 1.5% of the assessed land value. Land assessments are usually 10-40% of the market value. For instance, Boris Mannsfeld & Associates recently sold a waterfront lot for $200,000 (USD). Property taxes for were $25.00 (BZD), which is equivalent for the year to $12.50 (USD) – yes that is “twelve dollars and fifty cents”! Rarely are taxes above $100 (USD) per year. The low property taxes in Belize minimize the holding costs when purchasing real estate, income properties or raw land for a long-term investment.
Title to property in Belize can be held in three different ways; Deed of Conveyance; Transfer Certificate of Title and Land Certificate. A Deed of Conveyance is the old form of title ownership. This form of ownership is legal and binding yet in order to sell property this from must first be converted to a Certificate of Title with an application (an attorney is required & it takes about 3 months). Any subsequent buyer is issued a Transfer Certificate of Title. A Land Certificate is an absolute title and is the current Title instrument being utilized by the Government of Belize to record title to real estate. Under the Registered land Act of 1987, the government is converting all freehold land (Deed of Conveyance) to the new Land Certificates so to achieve a uniform system Almost all properties that are sold on the Placencia Peninsula are sold via a Land Certificate. You are issued an absolute fee simple title to your property. “Fee Simple” means that the title gets automatically passed onto the closest relative in case of the owner’s death.
12. Who’s on the Tittle21.12.15
The most straightforward way to own property in Belize is in your own name. It is also a simple process to hold the property in the name of a corporation (Foreign or Belizean). If you wish to hold title in a non-Belizean corporation then you must register your company to do business in Belize. This process takes about a week and can be done for less than $US 1,000. You can also establish a Belizean Corporation to take title. Many Belizean law firms have ready shelf corporations for sale to make this process an efficient one. This again can be completed in a week and cost les than $US 1,000. A fourth option is to create an offshore corporation to take title. This so called IBC (International Business Corporation) can be setup by local firms in about a week and at a cost of under $US 2,000. Please note that a Belizean IBC is not allowed to own real estate in Belize so the IBC must be registered in the Bahamas, Seychelles, Nevis or in another similar jurisdiction. Boris Mannsfeld and Associates can recommend an exceptional real estate attorney and a very successful firm that specializes in offshore corporations and real estate closings. One important point is that each time title is altered in any way a new 5% stamp duty must be paid to the Government so it is best that you decide up-front how to take title.
13. Tittle Insurance21.12.15
Title insurance is available through Stewart Title out of Texas. The cost is 2% of the purchase price. Title insurance is rarely utilized in Belize due to the high security of the Absolute Title. Our firm has only completed one transaction that involved title insurance! Boris Mannsfeld has a good relationship with the VP of International Business at Stewart Title should you wish to utilize these services.
14. Asset Protection & Offshore Banking21.12.15
Belize is considered a Tax Haven and offers a very well established offshore banking and corporate system. One can easily setup an IBC (International Business Company) or Nevada “C” Corporation to hold title. Boris Mannsfeld & Associates can recommend a very professional firm that we have been working with for years to create such offshore corporations. You can also setup a US dollar account that will be utilized by your new company. Experts regularly state that one of the most important questions to ask when selecting a tax haven is “Does the haven respect privacy?” Strong privacy laws are a must in any haven that you consider. Under what circumstances can creditors or the government obtain information about your wealth, or even seize it?” Belize, unlike Switzerland, still protects the privacy of the owners of offshore accounts for most jurisdictions. One can take title of property in Belize under such an IBC or Corp and the ownership will be recorded under the company name and registered in Belize. Offshore companies are a legal way to protect and manage you assets. Contact Boris Mannsfeld & Associates for information on the best firm in Belize to create your entity.