Titles, Employment Opportunities, Locations & Expectations, Building
Q: I just had a title report done and the Attorney Opinion said "This title is a good one."
A friend of mine in the title business in Texas says this means nothing. What should I do?
Q: Your friend in Texas must not know about Belize and the meaning of certain terms here. If your Belizean Attorney has told you your title is "good" that means the attorney is warranting that title, that they stand behind it and that there are no clouds, liens, encumbrances, or anything else wrong with the title. A "Good Title" is VERY good !
Q: I want to know who owns a particular property so I can make them an offer to buy it. I have asked several realtors to check it for me, but nobody has responded. Can you help me?
A: You probably don't realize what you are asking, so here is a picture of the situation. First, checking a
title requires work - we don't have an easy computerized system we can just dial up and access. The person checking the title will have to visit the Lands Registry, and be someone allowed to have access to Government files. This costs money, and if it is something you really want done, then you will have to be willing to pay at least $150 US - but it could be more, depending on the complexity of the title search you wish done. In the end, there is no guarantee that the address for this owner will be current. Second, real estate agents the world over make their living by marketing and selling property. What you are asking is for them to insure they are left out of the process, and on top of that you are asking them to take their time away from their paying jobs to do it. If you are serious about buying that land, then hire a competent realtor to represent you and arrange for compensation for their time.
ABOUT EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR FOREIGNERS ...
Q: I have located a lot of information about Belize on the internet, including many real estate listings. I cannot find a list of available jobs. Please tell me where to look.
A: Belize has a high rate of unemployment. There are not many "jobs" available, and what jobs there are really must go to Belizeans first - that is why there is no listing on the internet for you to peruse. To specifically answer your question - come to Belize and look in the newspaper if you want to see what jobs need to be filled - but be aware that if you are not holding property status, these jobs are not open to you. "Make Jobs - Not Take Jobs" should be the motto of the Labour Department - you can obtain a "Self-Employment Permit" if you are going to come here and start up a business that employs people. To "get a job" in the conventional sense means that an employer must apply for a work permit for you, and must prove that they cannot find a qualified Belizean to do the job. If you get a permit under this method, it will be good for one job, one employer and one year. If you get a Self Employment permit you may work in the field indicated on your permit, and this is usually quite general, allowing you some latitude for altering your business plan a bit if things don't work quite as you planned. After you are here for a year, and if you have refrained from getting arrested, and test negative to AIDS, other STD's and TB, then you will likely qualify for "Permanent Residency" and can then take employment in most fields. Notable exceptions to this are Tour Guides. You must be a Belizean citizen to be a Tour Guide. No exceptions. (FYI - before I start hearing from lots of people arguing this point ...a dive instructor is not a tour guide).
ABOUT LOCATIONS AND EXPECTATIONS ....
Q: I want a nice beach house with 3-4 bedrooms. I have about $50,000 US to spend. Where should I look?
A: Probably not in Belize.
Q: I'd like a simple beach shack - a nice beach but the house can be really tiny and I don't care about the condition. I loved my last visit to Caye Caulker. Can you find me something on the beach there?
A: Sorry - Caye Caulker has no beach. Except for "The Split" the shores of Caye Caulker are mangrove. Removing mangrove is a sensitive issue, and it is unlikely you will end up with what you are after even if you get a permit to take a few out. You might find something in Placencia though, and the beach is lovely there.
Q: I'd like a little bed and breakfast on the water somewhere in Belize. What will that cost and where should I look?
A: Look for a large house in whatever location is your favorite - Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker,
A: Homes for sale are few and far between, and most tend to be too small for this kind of business, but occasionally you DO find a house that was designed for several families to share, and this can be perfect for a B & B. Expect to spend $250,000 - 450,000 US.
ABOUT BUILDING -
Q: I am pretty familiar with building, and figure I can build my own house down there and save some money. How much do you think I will save doing this?
A: ADD 20% to the cost if this is the first time you have built a house in Belize. I
if you intend to continue to build, then you might as well go ahead and get the learning curve out of the way, despite the cost. If you are building one home, then hire it done. You don't know how, where, when, etc. and that is what costs extra $$$$$. Anybody who tells you otherwise is pulling your leg.
Q: I want to build an octagonal house in Belize. Any comments?
A: It will take a long time, cost more than you planned and probably won't turn out as nice as you want it to be. We don't have parts or appropriate skills to put up anything that is not a rectangle. It is going Additionally with an octagon, you tend to end up with a floorplan that has at least one room with no cross ventilation and that is no fun - so if you are going ahead with this design, it is suggested that you make it completely open on every level.
Q: I want to bring in a kit house from Thailand with sensational poles and all the lumber pre-cut. I figure this will be perfect for the beach in Belize. How do I arrange this?
A: It's about 99% guaranteed you won't get a permit to bring in wood. We're a logging country. If you have a design of such a house then just have the loggers fill your materials list, and have it done here by a good qualified local contractor (that is unless the house is an octagon - in which case refer to the question and answer above). We have incredible woods that you will LOVE.
Q: I want a house like I stayed in on an island in the Pacific where the entire front of it folds open to a verandA: Any advice?
A: A completely open front will not give you the shear strength you need for structural integrity in places where you can encounter high winds. Design the house with many French or sliding doors, and always put screens on them.
Q: What about "Swamp coolers" instead of air conditioning?
A: Swamp coolers are excellent in places where the air is dry and where you really want to ADD moisture to the air you breathe. It's unlikely you want to make your house more humid here - go with great cross ventilation, fans and a conventional air conditioner.
WANNA BUY A BRIDGE?????? (scams and advice on same)
Q: I am about to buy a piece of land in Belize on the water in a golf course development. They haven't built it yet, but the brochures are incredible. There will be a clubhouse, pool, management and even an architect to help us with our plans. It's called "XYZ Dream Development". Any suggestions?
A: Send me your money instead. If you want to toss it away I will give it to the Humane Shelter in Belize City where it will do some good. Seriously - would you buy this pitch in your home country? If not, then for sure don't buy it here.
MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS YOU WISH YOU HADN'T ASKED ....
Q: I've read all about Belize and want to visit - when is your winter down there?
A: Next time you want to learn about anyplace, start with a map of the world. We are in the Northern
Hemisphere - although temperatures vary from place to place, winter is definitely cooler than summer, and occurs at pretty much the same time for the entire top half of the globe.
Q: I want to open a nude resort in Belize. Where is the best location to buy land?
A: Nudity is illegal in Belize - scrap the idea.
Thanks for reading ..... Diane Campbell
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