Real Estate Investing In Latin America

“Kathleen, I have made an offer to purchase property in Belize, and I have a few questions that I hope you can answer.

“First, can you recommend a good, reasonable international real estate attorney? I am told I do not need one in Belize, but I am also looking to buy in Ecuador.

“Also, who usually pays the transfer tax, seller or buyer?

“Who usually pays the expeditor’s fee, the seller or the buyer?

“Finally, how do I make sure all back taxes are paid in full before the closing?’

–Laura S., United States

There is no such thing as an international real estate attorney. For your real estate purchase in Belize, I recommend that you engage the services of an attorney in Belize, no matter what the real estate agents, developers, etc., may be telling you (for reasons why, refer back to today’s essay).

You’ll also need an attorney in Ecuador if you buy property there. Etc.

Depending on the country, the transfer tax can be paid by the buyer or the seller. Typically it’s the buyer, and I believe it is the buyer in Belize.

I’m not sure what you mean by “expeditor’ fees. If you mean the real estate agent’s fee, that is typically paid by the seller in Belize. If you’re referring to someone you engaged to find the property for you, then you would be responsible.

If, by “expeditor,’ you mean anyone other than the real estate agent or a local scout you engaged, I’d say run for the hills. That is, I can’t think of anyone else who should be requiring compensation for his part in your purchase process.

Your attorney is responsible for checking the status of back property taxes.

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