Q: Do I need local representation?
A: Although the laws of Belize do not require the use of an attorney to complete a property sale, yes, absolutely it is recommended that local representation be retained. In Belize, attorneys remain trusted advisers. They’re usually well-connected, well-paid pillars of the community who wield real power. Fees are not all that different from what you would pay in a small city in the U.S.
Q: Do I need an attorney in the US to buy land in Belize?
A: No. You not only don't need a US attorney, but in most cases the US attorney is likely to cost you money for no benefit. US law is different than Belize Law, so no matter how skilled your US attorney is he/she doesn't know what they need to know to be of service. It is often a good idea to retain one to review your purchase agreement and to have a title search done.
Q: Is Title Insurance available in Belize?
A: Title Insurance can be obtained through Stewart Title Company (Stewart International) and First American Corporation.
Q: What is the process for subdividing the property in Belize?
A: Working through the Physical Planning Section (PPS) and the Land Utilization Authority (LUA), the application for subdivision is a two-step process. First an application is made for Provisional Approval. Once granted, this approval enables the applicant to secure the services of a surveyor for the purpose of carrying out the survey. The resultant plan must then be authenticated. Whenever the plan is authenticated the applicant can then proceed to the Second step, and apply for Final Approval. The land-owner cannot legally transfer/sell the resulting parcel(s) or secure individual title documents for each until he receives Final Approval.
Q: Do I need to be concerned about building codes?
A: No. But it’s important to start off on the right foot by submitting a plan to the Ministry of Natural Resources / Department of Environment (DOE) from clearance. Recommendations may be given after review of the proposed plan.
Q: Are there any restrictions in regards to building on beachfront?
A: Any habitat alteration within the 66 ft coastal reserve will require specific authorization from the DOE. Increased development of the reserve zone should be balanced by sympathetic development around any additional fragments of littoral forest, or especially good stands of fringing mangrove within the zone. An EIA may be required before clearance is give for construction.
Q: Is dredging a feasible development option?
A: The DOE would need to be consulted and an EIA may be required before dredging activities could begin. That said, theoretically, dredging is a very attractive option: the very shallow in-shore waters/lagoons could be deepened and the material put to good use as landfill. Dredged material usually has a high compaction rate – one yard of dredged material may settle to less than a foot in depth.
Q: Are there Mayan Ruin sites that exist on the Property?
A: There are 9 archeological sites that have been identified on the Property although none of which have been detailed and recorded by the Department of Archeology. They are completely unexcavated and were found in their current natural state through our intense ground truthing efforts. These 9 sites are just a very few of the actual number of sites predicted by archeologists to be present on the property. The coastal area of property is thought to be an important transshipment point in Maya times, as goods could be unloaded and further transported to the more inland inhabitants. This theory is further supported by the strategic location of the property's coastline, as it is located slightly south and west of Bacalar Chico, a narrow, mangrove-lined canal, dug and cleared by the Maya to avoid a long journey around the southern tip of Ambergris Caye. The property was one of the easiest inland access points.
Q: Can a private airstrip be built on the property?
A: Yes, absolutely. Location is something that you would have to consider in terms of the project layout although current sites can be recommended based on past project experiences. Approval would need to be granted by the Aviation Committee or Airport Licensing Authority Board, which is part of the CIVIL AVIATION DEPARTMENT.
Q: Are there qualified Belize contractors?
A: First, it’s important to emphasize the benefits of using a local construction company to complete development projects in Belize. The local knowledge and the in-country experience is tried, tested and true. Local companies have proven that they have the capacity and capability to handle most project sizes. In fact, quality construction work in concrete buildings, hydro dams, road building, fabricating metal buildings, etc. can all be done in Belize - on levels of pricing and quality that surpass foreign firms. In addition, the Government is going to be much more motivated and willing to assist in any way they can (i.e. Government approvals and clearances) if local employment is being generated for Belize's workforce. Additionally, local experts are going to be most familiar with the land and materials.
Q: What permits are required for US or Canadian nationals to work in Belize?
A: Necessary Steps -
- Apply for a Work Permit (applications can be acquired easily at Angelus Press)
- Submission of a Letter from the Company or Employer
- (3) Passport Pictures
- Supporting Documents such as: Proof of Academic Qualification and a Bank Statement from a local bank or place of origin.