Should You Buy a House or Condo in Belize?

You’ve made the decision. You are going to Belize. The lure of that crystal blue water, spectacular coral reef and lush landscape are just too strong. You’re yearning to slow down and move at a more relaxed pace.

You’re going to Belize.

Of course, now that you’ve made that decision, you’re going to need a place to live. Price wise, Belize is still the best deal in the Caribbean. In a market that’s on a trajectory towards enormous growth in the years to come, buying is a smart investment. What you buy, however, will have a big impact on your experience of living there. When deciding what will best meet your needs there are many factors to consider.

• Is this just a vacation home or will you live there year-round?
• Are you interested in rental income?
• Do you need a lot of space for family?
• Are you willing to deal with maintenance and other issues of ownership?
• Do you want to be right on the beach?

The biggest decision you’ll make has to do with structure. What better supports the lifestyle you’re seeking: a house or a condo?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both.

House

Cons:

If you own a home, you’ll be responsible for everything. That means you furnish it, you clean it, you fix what breaks and you have to find the people to help you with all that.
Humidity and salty sea air can really take its toll on a structure. If you aren’t living in the home full time, you’ll have to find a way to arrange to have someone tend to preventative maintenance on your home while you’re out of the country.

It’s also challenging to rent a home in Belize as an absentee owner. It can be difficult to find a manager to take care of renters and any issues they may encounter while staying in your home.

Pros:

One of the nice things about a house, however, is that you’ll likely have more square footage than in a condo. You’ll also have more privacy since there won’t be people living above and below you. If there’s a beach in front of your house, you’ll probably have exclusive use of it, or at least only have to share it with a few other owners in the area.

A homeowner also doesn’t have strata fees, but of course, all the things a strata would cover such as taxes and utilities would then be your personal responsibility.
In a home you’ll likely be able to park your car right in front. If you’re into gardening, you’ll have a yard, whereas in a condo you’ll have a balcony.

Condo


Cons:
When living in a high rise, there are more people around. Though the pool and beach are professionally maintained, and right outside your door, you will have to share them.

Parking would be a short walk away rather than right outside your door, but there is security in a resort lot.
If you’re a big gardener, you’ll lack a yard, though you will have a balcony and you can container garden on it.

Pros:
A condo, such as at Palm Reef, is completely turnkey. This means it comes completely furnished and stocked with necessities, no shopping or shipping required. There is a cleaning and maintenance crew and any issues you may have with your unit can be immediately tended to by staff.

It’s much easier to meet people since being at a resort instantly makes you part of a community.
There are also a lot of amenities on site such as a pool, spa and restaurant that make living an easy, luxurious lifestyle a breeze.There is also a management company on site, so you can easily rent out your unit for cash flow when you aren’t using it.

Clearly both options have their benefits, but unless you’re in need of a lot of square footage, plan to be in the country full time and are willing to put in the time and attention to finding people to help you with things such as maintenance, a condo is the easier choice. In a condo everything is taken care of for you. Regardless of whether you rent out your unit or not, when you leave you can just lock the door behind you and know it’s looked after. Even for full timers a turn key condo with all the amenities might be just the stress-free residence you’re seeking. This’ll allow you to spend your time boating and diving rather than dealing with a leaky toilet or trying to get a sofa delivered in country.

Brett Renee Stone is a managing partner and director of communications for Palm Reef Resort.

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