There are two main types of construction types in the Cayo District and San Ignacio, Belize. There is the hardwood homes or pine timber homes, or you have the cement block homes.
In real estate we have a term called “Belizean construction.” When someone says, “That is a Belizean construction home,” that usually means that the finish is not really that great. The government recently enacted building codes, which we didn’t have before. So now you need building permits, and as a result, you will see that the construction standards have improved. That was enacted fairly recently; just in the last couple of years.
For new construction, the homes will be close to North American standards. It also depends on what you are looking at. If you come to Belize and you want your home built to North American standards, it is no problem. You can get that but a lot of the older homes are not.
The building codes tend to me enforced more on foreigners and expats than they do on local Belizeans. If you buy a home from an expat, you can expect to get North American standard construction. The best thing to do is when you buy a home, you inspect it and if you don’t know what you are looking for then have someone who does know what you need to look for and have them take a look at it for you.
In many cases, if someone is buying a home, I take someone who is in construction to come and take a look at it with me. It is very easy to tell if cement block and cement construction is structurally sound because when the house is about a couple years old and you didn’t put some steel in it, you will start seeing large cracks on the walls. When I am selling a home and I see cracks, I immediately know that this home has some structural issues. Depending on how bad the cracks are, you will know how serious your problem is. If the house has been up for years and it does not have cracks, then that is a very good indication that it is well-built.