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Warning About Purchasing Property/Timeshares in Belize
Last Updated: Feb-23-2015, Hits: 1,469, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Warning About Purchasing Property/Timeshares in Belize
The once sleepy Belize has been discovered. The island of Ambergris Caye and Placencia have experienced significant growth over the last decade, and with it has come a lot of big plans and construction. Like any tropical location, when this happens, the developers come in droves to "Cancunize" their newest hot spot. At the same time, many foreigners want to get in on the deal, and get their own little slice of paradise.

Before considering the purchase of a condo, villa, timeshare, etc., make sure you do a lot of research, get a property lawyer, and be very careful.

Over the years, Ambergris Caye and Placencia have had an untold number of investors ripped off after throwing money into "promising" development projects on the island. Unfortunately, it is a very common story.

Often, after purchasing a lot of land, the developer will immediately begin selling future properties before ground has even been broken. This enables them to approach the bank and show sales contracts that allows them to borrow more money for the construction. Furthermore, the land is typically put up as collateral for the loan. So if the project fails, the bank takes the property and the investors are hung out to dry without a title to their property. The developers then flee to where ever they came from, and the investor is left with little recourse to recoup their investment. One could try to sue, however, the plaintiffs are no longer in the country, and in reality, it is usually futile.

If a developer does complete the project, they will often sell it. This leads to another common problem whereby the new owners may not be aware or choose to recognize the ownership of individual units by the investors. If you don't have a title, there is often little that can be done other than to try to negotiate with the new owners or sue (see above).

Often, these developers have no ties to Belize and don't care about the carnage they leave in their wake. They know that if things go sideways, they can flee and won't be held liable. There are also likely some well-intentioned developers that are the victims of market forces, or their own lack of experience. In the end, it doesn't really matter when you lose your investment.

Here are some tips to help you hedge your bets:
  1. Don't buy a property until construction is complete. Even better if other investors have been living there for a while.
  2. Only purchase a property if you can get the title in a reasonable time frame. A property lawyer can help you navigate those waters.
  3. Don't listen to salespeople trying to convince you what a great opportunity they have. The higher pressure the sales, the more likely you should walk (run) away. Even if you are smart about it, buying property in Belize isn't an investment, it is a gamble. Gamble wisely.
  4. If you are interested in a particular property, research it. Then, find out who owns it or is developing it, and research them. Any developer that has a negative or no track record should be avoided.
Good luck!

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