5 Biggest Mistakes When Moving to Belize

Tiffany Swift
June 6, 2023

Many times, we hear people moving to Belize, then they pack up and leave after one year. Why is that? From my 10 years of selling Belize Real Estate, I strongly believe that they didn’t do enough research.

1. Lack of Research Before Moving to Belize is a Mistake

Many times, we hear people moving to Belize, then they pack up and leave after one year. Why is that? From my 10 years of selling Belize Real Estate, I strongly believe that they didn’t do enough research.

Yes, Belize is a beautiful place to live and retire, but it is not for everyone. We are a developing country, which means that we don’t have big grocery stores like SAMS CLUB, COSTCO or WALMART, but we do have large supermarkets, especially here in the San Ignacio / Santa Elena area. They are mostly Taiwanese owned, but you can find almost anything you need.

2. Not Spending Enough Time in the Country Before You Buy

This is a continuation of mistake Number 1. Visiting Belize and Living in Belize are two totally different situations. We all know that when we are on vacation, everything is great, everyone is happy and so forth, but living in Belize is also an exciting and learning experience.

You may think that you want to live on the Island because that is where you vacationed, but you may quickly find that living on an island has its limits. Fresh vegetables, fruits and poultry may only come in twice a week whereas inland in the Cayo District, you can find yourself planting and having your own vegetable & herb garden and plenty of space for fruit trees.

Many that have decided to move and retire in Belize, will tell you to rent for 6 months, moving around and deciding where in Belize, warms your heart the most. There are also those with great success stories that will tell you that they packed up and moved to Belize and never left. This is not impossible but there is a certain instinct that will tell you when it’s the right place and the right property.

3. Not Having Enough Financing is a mistake when moving to Belize

I know some people don’t like to talk about money, but let’s face it, buying property is one thing, but you need to have money for monthly expenses.

Getting a job and a work permit in Belize is not easy. Firstly, the wages paid in Belize will not be anything that you’re used to and secondly, you need to prove to the Labor Department that you have a certain skill set that can’t easily be filled in by a Belizean.

In addition, work permits are US$1,000 per year and can take a couple months to obtain. If you have a job that allows you to work online, great, but you may still need to obtain a work permit. If you’re retired and have a good pension every month or savings, great! But you need to decide WHERE in Belize you will be able to live off your pension or personal saving.

4. What are your absolute NEEDS when Moving to Belize?

This goes back to mistake #1 about research. Do you have health problems and require being close to hospitals and qualified doctors? Do you need reliable internet? Can you live off-grid? Do you have young children that will need to attend school, or will you be homeschooling? Do you NEED to take a dip in the sea everyday or are you OK with driving 2 hours for a beach-break? All these questions and more are VERY important and must be well-thought about and researched before buying property.

5. Not having a respectable and knowledgeable Real Estate Agent

Did you know that there is no licensing of real estate agents in Belize? Yes, that’s right, anyone can sell you property in Belize and if you have spent time in Belize looking for property, you will know that everyone WILL try to sell you real estate, from a taxi driver to a bartender.

Having and working with a qualified and local Belize Real Estate Agent, who has years of experience and knowledge about the Belize real estate market and one that will help you every step of the way, will greatly benefit your experience of buying property in Belize and also protect your biggest investment.

And the best part is, most of the time, the seller pays their commission, so you don’t have to take any extra money out of your pocket.

Written by Tiffany Swift

Hi there, my name is Tiffany Swift, and I am a born and bred Belizean. I wake up every day feeling grateful for living in paradise and calling it home. If you're considering relocating to Belize, let me be your guide. Together, we can make your dream of owning a piece of paradise a reality.

Tiffany Swift portait with an Iguana on her head

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