I’ve never written about International real estate on my site before but it is something that has always been an interest of mine. I have previously owned in Costa Rica and have been looking for another opportunity. A friend of mine told me about a development in Belize called Sanctuary Belize that is doing some really cool things and the cost of getting involved wasn’t too high. I was intrigued.
I got in touch with Sanctuary Belize and was able to get on a 2 day property tour at their property and the surrounding area. I must say that it was an eye opening experience.
I had previously done a few day tours with time shares in different places that I have traveled to. I get invites all the time and once in a while I do it because they’ll give you free flights, hotel rooms, etc. but I have never taken it that seriously. This was different.
Sanctuary Belize is a 14,000 acre area in south central Belize. It piqued my interest because of the diversity of the products, meaning land lots that they offer. Their property consists of different types of lots from beachfront to river to equestrian to savannah and the most interesting thing to me is that they are building the largest marina in all of Belize.
It will be a 250 slip, full-service marina with a yacht club, restaurant, shops and the whole nine yards. The current construction of the marina is actually mind blowing to see in person. It is quite an undertaking and it is the centerpiece of their development plan.
The savannah terrain is gorgeous inland from the marina with a beautiful river flowing through the property. Wildlife and mangroves surround you and you almost think you’re in the Serengeti and are anticipating elephants and lions to jump out at you. It feels like another world. But that’s only one reason why Belize is attractive to buy real estate.
Another reason is the native language in Belize is English. While I speak Spanish, I remember the hassles in dealing with my property in Costa Rica given the legal contracts and the complicated wording. In English, it’s easy to understand and you don’t have to rely so much on a lawyer. The other obvious advantage is that you can communicate better with everyone in Belize and still get the tropical climate that you crave.
The reason why Sanctuary Belize is an attractive place to invest is that aside from having an awesome product with over 350 lots already sold; they have no debt. This is very important. Trust me, I used to work in corporate finance. They self finance everything and have enough working capital to continue to grow the property and develop it properly.
Many developers will try and raise the capital and then start building and developing. This is often a recipe for disaster. Sanctuary Belize has good monthly cash flow; which gives them the ability to really deliver on what they’re trying to accomplish.
I spoke with several land owners on site and they all raved about how much progress has been made in the last year or two. In fact they are planning a big marina flooding ceremony once they have finished putting up all the retention walls around the marina. I would love to see that in person because they will basically be knocking down a dam of earth to flood the massive marina from the adjoining bay.
Perhaps the biggest selling point to me was that there is a new International airport being built and nearly completed in Placencia; which is about 15 minutes from Sanctuary Belize. What this means is that it will be much more accessible to get to Southern Belize from anywhere in the world; especially Europe.
The new airport will be targeting European package tourists coming in direct from London, Germany etc. Currently, anyone coming in from Europe has to transit through the United States; which can be a hassle for some nationalities. This will certainly benefit the local economy; which will in turn make the value of the land around it more and more valuable. A similar thing happened a few years ago in Costa Rica, which really helped developments, hotels and land values.
The property, the new airport and the price were good selling points but what really sold me on the property was visiting their private island called Sanctuary Caye, only about 30-40 minutes away via boat or wave runner.
To say that it was just beautiful would be an insult to beautiful. It is a stunning island with the footprints to develop some hotel units, etc. that the owners will be free to use at any time. This is a huge factor in the decision to invest in property with Sanctuary Belize. In fact, on my group tour, several people signed their contracts right there on the island in these bamboo palapas you see.
The simple fact is that many people are scared to invest in International real estate because they don’t know the market or they get nervous about the developer or the government. Belize has a stable government. They speak English. Sanctuary Belize actually has a financial incentive package with the Belizean Government; which is very important. They also have an on site respected Belizean partner (and a really nice guy) to insure that everything is flowing smoothly on site and he maintains government relations.
The developer and their partners have achieved numerous accolades from around the world at real estate conferences (if you pay attention to stuff like that); and were voted the top land development in Belize last year.
I came into the tour curious but standoffish about making an investment. However, after going on the tour, meeting the staff, developers and most importantly the other people buying property I was sold. The beauty of the land mixed with the incredible island made me confident that this was a good investment.
The attractive financing options clinched the deal for me. Even if I never actually live at Sanctuary Belize, I can resell the property and I know that I will make a nice profit from it. I am very excited about my decision to invest at Sanctuary Belize and I look forward to watching the progress going forward.