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If you are looking to buy or construct a second home, then consider Belize. Areas like Ambergris Caye offer great real estate deals for people looking to buy a second home or a retirement home in this Central American country. Imagine yourself living in a beach house from where you can snorkel in the second largest barrier reef in the world, just within minutes! Think of a place where you can walk barefoot from your beach home to lovely beach restaurants serving the freshest sea food dinner!
Now let's see why this dream can become reality with little investment from your side. First of all, most Central American countries like Belize, Panama and even Nicaragua are easing their laws to help foreigners buy beautiful beach houses and ocean view condos. If you are cautious about buying property in a foreign country, you will be glad to know that there are real estate firms that deal with foreign buyers like you and whose staff is trained to be fluent in English.
Among the different countries, it is Belize that stands as the best option. The laws of buying properties here are less restrictive than in countries like Mexico who have stricter policies for buying beachfront properties. Even countries with lesser restrictive laws like Nicaragua advices foreign buyers to go for the purchase through lawyers, as local municipalities decide whether you can lease or buy a beach side property.
The volatile political situation of Nicaragua makes it an option that has to be treated with care. There may be disputed properties which were seized during Sandinista era whose owners where not properly compensated. Buying such a property without proper checking can create problem for you. In neighboring Panama, you have to carefully judge whether you are buying a property that is "titled" or "right of possession". That is because the former can be sold to a foreigner while the latter, which is government land, can't be! You can change a "right of possession" property in mainland Panama to "titled" property but it will be a year-long process! In the island of the country, this is not allowed although a new law has been passed which will allow foreigner to buy properties in islands.
In the neighboring country of Costa Rica, if you are buying a property near the coast, the majority investment has to come through Costa Ricans. Still the country is seeing a growth in foreign buyers as property taxes are low. But, the real estate market of Costa Rica is quite high for average buyers while the markets of Nicaragua and Panama are the most affordable.
Now let's see why Belize is considered to be the best. First of all, the people here speak English and the laws are easy to understand as they are based on common English law as this country was a former British colony. Little restriction is placed on foreign buyers who can even manage to get mortgage from local Belizean banks. The prices have not climbed too high like in Costa Rica and being a stable democratic government, it offers a better political atmosphere for foreign buyers. Property taxes are very low in Belize and the labor is so affordable that you can easily keep a caretaker or two to look after your second home. If you plan to rent it, then you will be glad to know that tax on rental properties is also very low and there is no capital gain when you sell the property.
The main reason why people are buying second home in places like Ambergris Caye in Belize is because it is quiet and tranquil. If you want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of modern life, nothing is better than a stay in this part of the world.