Hi there everyone, I have some questions about what is involved in buying a property in Belize. I found the property and the Seller has sent a photocopy of the title to my lawyer. Below is what my lawyer had told me is involved and it seems pretty straight forward except my lawyer is not happy with the contract the Seller has sent me. Clearly the Seller is not using a lawyer to draft the sales contract and it requires a number of corrections. The Seller seems to feel my lawyer is making things complicated in terms of the contract but I don't know what the contract should have in it. My lawyer says that for her to draft a contract will cost me more $$. In North America we have standard real estate contracts so why would a fresh one have to be drafted? This is feeling very complicated and is drawing things out. Also, how do I know the property described in the contract is the one I saw? There is a lot number but who knows for sure? There is no solicitor involved by the way.
My lawyer is answering questions in bits and pieces so I am not clear, and she has not answered this one. Initially this is what my lawyer said was involved:
The first step is a title search. If you don't have a copy of the Vendor's title, we would request a copy from the Vendor on your behalf. And, if the Vendor is a company, we would also undertake a company search to ensure that the company is in good standing. Additionally, we would ask for a copy of the agreement for sale or draft one on your behalf if so instructed by you.
The likely fees are as follows:
1. solicitor's fee - between 1.5% and 2% of the purchase price, depending on the actual amount.
2. General Sales Tax (GST) - 10% of the solicitor's fee;
3. title search - between US$38.00 and US$150.00, depending on the type of title;
4. stamp duty - 5% of that portion of the purchase price in excess of US$10,000.00;
5. recording fee - between US$8.00 and US$16.00, again depending on the type of title.
We have an escrow account that is used for such purchases. We would receive the funds from the purchaser and hold in escrow until such time as is agreed between the parties.
Once the title is free and clear, we would prepare the necessary transfer documents for the execution of the parties. If instructed by you, we can also conduct the closing on your behalf.
My friends, does all this make sense? What in heck is this sales draft that we apparently need and why is this so complicated? My lawyer is apparently on vacation for a month (!) so answers are sporadic...and finally, how long does it take, with this change in government, for all to be finalized? We picked a closing date but isn't that up in the air depending on how long the transfer takes?
Would love some help with this if anyone can enlighten me, help through any potential pitfalls and hopefully speed things along without spending any more $$! By the way, the seller lives abroad, if that makes any difference.