If you’re buying a property in Central America to grow your nest egg with rental income, you’ll need advice on how to manage this well. Luigi Wewege of Belize’s Caye International Bank shares some simple tips to improve your offshore investment.

You may have decided to invest in offshore properties as part of your long-term financial goals. The plan may be to buy a house and rent it out for the time being, with the goal of making it your new home after retirement. In the meantime, renting the property will help pay the bills and allow you to build up equity. Or you could buy something in a popular tourist spot to turn it into a vacation rental property.

To simplify the management of your property, it is good to approach several basic notions. This means that offshore property is not overlooked even if you are rarely in the country. Here are some tips that will help you.

1. Hire a reputable local property manager

Since you don’t live there, it makes sense to have a professional who can take care of your investment. Look around and find a property manager with boots on the ground, close enough to physically visit the property. The goal is to have someone on hand to make sure the investment receives the attention it needs to keep it in top condition.

Property managers can do a lot on your behalf. In addition to selecting people who wish to use the property for short or extended stays, they can be the contact person for any necessary repairs or maintenance. The manager also serves as a local point of contact for your customers.

At the same time, the property manager makes sure you know what’s going on with the property. See this as one of the best ways to always have eyes and ears close enough to act on your behalf.

Talk to local estate agents to find someone – many of them will offer property management services themselves.

2. Be aware of the laws and regulations relating to renting and letting your property

Regulations and laws relating to the rental of residential or commercial property may differ from your country of origin. In fact, some regulations may vary from city to city within this country. Instead of making assumptions, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with these laws and regulations. Specifically, you want to know your obligations as an offshore property owner.

Your goal is to ensure that all actions you take with offshore property are in full compliance with local laws. From safety measures and landscaping regulations to ensuring utilities stay connected, even when no one lives there, know what’s needed.

Knowledge will help you avoid fines and other complications. This will also go a long way in keeping the property in good condition.

3. Determine the qualifications tenants must meet

Since the plan is to rent the property until you need it, decide early on what qualifications potential clients need to meet. To some extent, local laws and regulations will come into play. There will also be plenty of room for you to add your qualifications.

For example, it is possible in many offshore locations to specify that no one can smoke inside the house. There may also be guidelines on pets, specifications on who should maintain the landscape, etc. You can also ask anyone renting the property for an extended period to provide a deposit in advance, with the remainder due at the end of the stay.

Discuss with the local property manager if you are unsure of what to include. A professional who manages similar properties for other clients can provide suggestions.

4. Set up accounts to manage utilities and other payments

Although you can manage the bills associated with the property using bank accounts in your home country, there is a better solution. Open offshore bank accounts in the same country as your property. You will find that this is useful in more ways than one.

One of these ways is to ensure that there is an offshore current account to receive payments from customers. You can also use this account to make mortgage payments, pay utilities, and manage property tax payments. If you wish, also create a term deposit or other savings account.

Setting up these offshore accounts allows you to keep everything related to offshore investment property separate from domestic obligations. And just like your home accounts, you can see your balances at a glance. Thanks to this, you can stay aware of the profitability of your investment.

5. Keep your home insurance up to date

It’s tempting to buy home insurance and never see it again. That’s not what you want to do. Instead, be sure to take a fresh look at insurance arrangements when it’s time to renew coverage.

Determine if anything has changed since the start of the current term. Maybe you’ve made improvements to the property and the market value is up. Does the policy still provide sufficient cover? If so, then renew for another term. If coverage is insufficient now, you have time to speak with an agent and increase benefits before the start of the next term. This means that you are always covered in the event of damage.

6. Understand your tax obligations

Just as the laws and regulations relating to offshore investors owning property may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so too do taxes. You want to stay on top of the taxes you owe, if any, on the property and how to calculate them. This eliminates the accumulation of late fees and other penalties that could consume a large portion of the property’s revenue.

Your property manager can help you understand how the tax laws apply. You can also use the advice of a financial manager of the offshore bank where you have opened accounts. Between the two, it will be easier to predict what taxes you have to pay and when they are due.

7. Make good use of social networks

Since the plan is to rent the property until the day you want to live there, there must be a way to find tenants. It can be people who want a place to stay while on vacation for a few weeks, or it can be someone who wants a long-term lease. While your property manager can manage the selection and make sure locals know when the property is available, creating social media accounts will help.

Social media can be particularly effective when you prefer to rent the property for short stays. It’s easy enough to create social media accounts to include property descriptions, images, surrounding information, and contact information for you and the property manager.

Use multiple accounts to increase your reach – Facebook and Instagram are best for creating pages for your property. Create a Linktree account to consolidate all accounts, sites and contact details related to your property.

One more tip: consider Belize for the location of your offshore property

Belize is a very popular place to invest in offshore real estate and expatriate retirement. Whether you want a luxury waterfront island property, a rainforest retreat, or a bungalow in a seaside community, Belize has a lot to offer.

Caye International Bank on Ambergris Caye, Belize offers many different account types for offshore investors. They will be happy to help you understand mortgage options on investment properties available in Belize.

If you are buying in Belize, they are equipped to help you understand how your new offshore investment property can become one of your key international assets.

Luigi Wewege is the president of Caye International Bank, headquartered on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. He is also the published author of The digital banking revolution, now in its third edition.