Purchase a home from DFC – the affordable way to go!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 15, No. 47            December 1, 2005

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Dream homes can become a reality once you purchase a DFC house. With landscaping and a little work, one can turn it into the home you always envisioned!

While many are drawn to the beauty of San Pedro and potential for decent wages, the high cost of living can make it difficult to make ends meet. Housing, among most other items, is more expensive on an island than on the mainland, and for many, the prospect of actually owning a piece of “La Isla Bonita” is just a dream. Fortunately, there are ways to plant roots in the sands of San Pedro in the shape of a home. In this issue of The San Pedro Sun, we take a look at The Development Finance Corporation of Belize (DFC) and its services and plans it currently has for Ambergris Caye. DFC is a Belizean financial institution that promotes development through the financing of viable project in the housing, education, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and services sectors. DFC has been in existence since 1961 and has in its years financed several millions of dollars worth of productive assets.

   The Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is a financial institution fully owned by the government of Belize. DFC has been serving the nation of Belize for more than 35 years. It falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance and is managed by a seven-member Board of Directors drawn from the public and private sectors. DFC operates in three branches; north, south, central, including Ambergris Caye and its headquarters in Belmopan. Their mission is “to strengthen and expand the Belizean economy consistent with the macro-economic policies of the Government of Belize, by providing high quality, efficient implementation and management of Development Financing and related services on a financially viable or agency basis ensuring self-sustainability.” But if an individual would be interested in purchasing a home, what steps are taken in the process and how does it work?

   In Belize, there almost always is one price for Belizeans and another price for foreigners. The difference may only be a few dollars, but often the Belizean price may be one-half or less of the “rich foreigner” price. In some cases the differential may be five or ten times or more. Just a year ago, the DFC office in San Pedro closed its doors, now it has re-opened as they hope to better assist the people with all their housing needs. In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, the Officer in Charge, Juvencio Rivero, he stated “the need for the DFC office was essential so as to have this user-friendly way of life.” When asked about the steps an individual needs to purchase a home, Rivero willingly disclosed the basic information a potential buyer would need to know. Purchasing a home from the offices of the DFC is quite trouble-free and easy to consider after Rivero explained all that is required.

   Currently there are two major plans that they offer; one is the cash sale on homes/lots and the second is the DFC Financing (Loans) on lots/homes. The cash sale lots/homes are for anybody to buy and as an added bonus, a 10% discount is in effect and the lots on a loan basis are solely for Belizeans. But how does an individual go about purchasing a home? Well, the process is easy; it only takes a few minutes to a day depending on whether it is cash sale or loan. DFC in San Pedro is currently selling houses and lots at very reasonable prices, there are only 18 structures left. A lot or home being purchased in cash is much better as it eliminates the monthly payments. With this plan, the potential owner could do as they wish with the home in respect to further developing the property. On the other hand, a buyer purchasing a home on a loan, would require much more attention to detail, as it entails for the buyer to follow a criteria on whether further construction can be made. In order for an individual to get DFC financing, for example, a lot that is worth $25,000 would last for five (5) years at an interest rate of 13%. The down payment would then total $6,040. At an average, the monthly payment would come up to $485, which the person would have to pay or the Corporation is forced to repossess the lot. Nonetheless, the process involves dedication to payments and eventually it all pays off with actually owning your own home. Location is an important factor in determining price. For example, many people dream of living near the sea, so beachfront or waterway properties in Ambergris Caye is in great demand, and prices are high compared with similar property inland or even one lot back from the sea. Rivero stated, “The homes and lots currently available range in prices as low as $25,000 and up for a regular lot depending on size and amount of bedrooms and $30,000 and up for waterfront lots.”

   But why should an individual apply for a DFC loan? First, DFC offers loans with short, medium and long term repayment periods up to 25 years, they offer grace periods on principal payments up to four (4) years, affordable interest rates currently ranging from 8 ˝ to 13 percent, and they supervise your project periodically to ensure proper implementation, management and success. Riverol advised all those interested in applying, to bring with them a copy of their passport or identification card and a letter from their employer to show their monthly earnings. If self-employed, the person applying and DFC will determine monthly earnings.

   So, with all the information pointed out, an individual should take the opportunity to purchase a lot, remember there are only 18 houses that are available in the market. The DFC is a government owned institution with a mission to strengthen and expand the Belizean economy through providing development financing and related services to viable development projects. For more information on DFC and its services, visit their website at www.dfcbelize.org or call Juvencio Rivero at 226-2144. Come in and purchase your home today!

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