Hello to you from Belize !! I am Macarena Rose ( really, this is my name!) and I moved to Belize over 7 years ago from the USA.
I moved to Belize as the Director of my Church to start a healing mission here- which then led me to another form of service, which is Real Estate for Expats- which as Belize does not have licensing for Real Estate practitioners- you MUST have a trusted resource who is an Expert in all things Belize- not just real estate. I am also a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S.) and I also am one of only 9 instructors in the whole world for the National Association of REALTORS (N.A.R.) who can teach this designation for them.What challenges did you face during the move?
Trying to find Dr Pepper for my teenage Daughter, okay, so it was huge to her, and I did at last find it, and became the Momma Hero for the day ! I would say the challenges I was not aware of till I moved here was, to realize that eating local foods and learning how to cook them was best to be taught to me by a local, and not on my own. Also, that I needed to learn to bend my ear to understand the Creole language. I also found that I had to learn so much at once, as to banking, schooling for my kids, medical needs and more, that I had NO idea how thankful I would be that Belize is English speaking !
Can you tell us something about your property?
Well, this can be a can of worms, as I thought I was smart to work with different real estate firms and had 3 different companies names I recognized to take me to see property. Well, all 3 men showed me the same piece that I liked- for THREE different prices ! I was offended and complained vehemently to my dear friend that was Political minister of Belize- for which he replied, “This is normal here, and if you do not like it, then I have some properties for sale, you take them, and show those folks how you would do it better!”
Well, the challenge was on! I did this, I started Belize Rainforest Realty, and I was the founding member of the Realtors Association here- and I signed the Bi-Lateral Agreement with the National Association of REALTORS (N.A.R.) accepting Belize in.
I have been awarded by CNBC and The New York Times as the Best Real Estate Agency in Belize- so I am thinking, I met the challenge head on- and am honored to have helped many people be able to call Belize home, safely! For testimonials please see rainforestrealty.net/testimonials
What is the property market like at the moment?
The property market in Belize has stayed very strong, which I can only surmise id due to the fact that we have not had property inflation and the fact that folks here purchase their property up front and the enticing fact that most people do not pay more than 50 USD a year in property taxes, even for large homes and farms.
Are you employed or self-employed? What challenges did you face in either finding employment or running your own business?
I am Self Employed and found it to be very interesting to start a business here from the ground up as to learning the do’s and don’t’s. Thankfully, I was able to have the advice and guidance of some Government “higher-ups” that helped me weed out the information clearly.
Are there many other expats in your area?
In the San Ignacio area of Belize – I am happy to report that we have many wonderful Expats from all over the world. Most come here to retire and live a more intimate life and help with many different projects here in Belize! We also have some expats that hang out all day and belly ache with each other, which they make me laugh, as they must not be happy no matter where they are. I can tell you my experience has been the most heart warming time of my life and I believe it is because I am part of Belize – I help the community, and look for ways how to make things better for folks around me. Belize is like a small town which is a Country. I love that I can walk downtown, and it will take me 15 minutes extra to get my errands run, as I will run into so many folks that want to say hello and chat with you!! Ahh, how wonderful it is to take the time to be fully present!
What is your relationship like with the locals?
I am part of Belize- and have been accepted by so many, as I did not come here to change anyone/anything, rather to be part of!
What do you like about life where you are?
The “REAL” ness of it all !
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Not a thing!
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Do not leave your brain at the border, thinking you can figure it all out on your own, because the good deal you think you get today, is the same one that will need fixed later.
What are your plans for the future?
Keep on teaching and helping others Expatriating safely.