Tips for buying and selling your car in Belize.
Our house sitting job in Belize is nearing the end and we only had one major thing left to do before we could head back home to the US – Sell Our Car.
As part of this assignment the home owners we are house sitting for were very adamant that we purchase our own 4 x 4 vehicle. We did just that on our second day in Belize. You can read about it here -> Buying a car in Belize. We felt very lucky to have found a vehicle in good working condition and within our price range.
We bought this SUV 4×4 in Belize
Tips For Buying A Car In Belize
The median price for a decent second hand vehicle in Belize is around US $4,500. This seems very high, but considering the extremely high import taxes, it makes sense that even a ten year old vehicle is still over four grand.
We bought the 2000 KIA Sportage 4×4, now it was just a matter of:
- Paying for it – we had cash on hand and were able to negotiate the price down a couple hundred dollars.
- Getting it insured – we had to have the insurance before we were able to register the car. The cost for one year insurance in Belize was $170, we went with the cheapest option.
- Taking care of the paperwork – we did the title transfer for about a $100 in Belize City, but couldn’t get it inspected or registered since we were going to be ‘living’ in a different district. A week later we had to make a three hour trip to the vehicle registration office in Dangrigia for the inspection and registration.
You can read more about our vehicle buying process in an earlier article: Arriving in Belize City
The vehicle has been pretty decent for us. We had a little scare at the beginning, but it ended up being an easy fix by simply replacing the broken gas line clamp with a new one. Maneuvering down the Monkey River road was a drag and we did use the four wheel drive on numerous occasions.
By the way, we will upload a Monkey River road condition video on our YouTube channel once we get back to the US. Be sure to check it out! Selling the vehicle in Belize brings up a whole other set of issues.
Tips For Selling A Car In Belize
Everyone told us that we shouldn’t have a problem selling our vehicle, but you know how it goes, one is always a little apprehensive, especially when under a time constraint. After several local phone call inquiries and one guy actually taking the car for a test dive, we still didn’t get an offer.
Nick and I were elated when we finally received a serious inquiry via email.
We have sold numerous vehicles over the years in the US, and I know it varies from State to State, but you usually simply agree on a price, sign over the title to the new owner, hand over the key, mail in the little slip on the bottom of the title and go on your merry way.
Here are some of the issues we have run into while selling our car in Belize, and the solutions we have found:
- Selling a vehicle to a buyer sight unseen and not being able to test drive it. Solution – Take lots of outside and inside pictures and be absolutely up front about any issues the vehicle might have, ie. rust, dings, cracks in the windows, condition of the tires, etc..
- Our buyer lives in the US and has a residence in Belize, he will not be back in the country until several months after we leave. Solution – He has a friend who will meet us in Dangriga (yes, another three hour car ride, one way) and sign and pay for the title transfer. The buyer will take possession of the vehicle when he arrives in the country later in the year. We only advise to do this if you are certain the person is absolutely trustworthy. If in doubt, hire an attorney to do this for you. Both parties need to be present to do the car title transfer at the vehicle registration office.
- How do we get paid? Solution – We are using an online money transfer via a bank in the US. The buyer will pay half up front and the other half after the title transfer has been completed and the keys have been handed over.
Not having plates and tags on hand at the vehicle registration office is very common and can put you in a bind. Be sure to keep all of the paperwork that they give you in your glove box so that if you’re stopped at an inspection point you can have valid proof that all fees have been paid.
The best way to advertise your car in Belize:
- Take a bunch of good inside and outside pictures.
- Make a flyer and get copies made at a local print shop ($.50/copy).
- Distribute them around town and hang a couple of the flyers in your vehicle’s windows.
- Advertise free on Facebook, we used Placencia Classifieds.
- Join The Belize Forums and create a free account, it takes about a day to get approved.
- Place an ad in the Amandala, 1/4 page preferably with a photo.
We hope this article on ‘Buying And Selling A Car In Belize’ has been helpful to you. Be sure to share our car buying and selling tips with your expat friends and family.
Let us know in the comment section below if you have any questions or if you have any car buying/selling tips for future readers.