Buying Property in Japan - comments/experiences/advice?

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Postby Ozintokyo » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:23 pm

Minor updates.

Bank Loans:

Mizuho Bank requires you to be a permanent resident AND "Jyutaku Kinyu Kouko" (I'm sorry, but I have no idea what that means). :?

Mitsui Sumitomo bank is not necessary to be a permanent resident, but you have to have a Japanese national wife and need to have been living in Japan for over 10 years.

Tokyo Mitsubishi bank and UFJ, it SEEMS that you only need to be able to speak and read Japanese - which I am assuming means that it is acceptable that my wife can do that, but will look into this further.

Permanent Residency:

In Japanese, but it seems that the requirements for permanent residency can be found here:

http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/tetuduki/index.html
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Postby Ojii » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:24 pm

Steel prices are getting ready to soar.

Chinese construction for the Olympic games are 'eating up' steel supplies.

Economists are predicting a 'steel shortage' in Japan that will nearly inflate prices 2x's the current costs.

Buy Now! Build Now!

:?:

Well, that's the "line" that housing constructors are throwing these days. Anyone hear the same?
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Postby Ozintokyo » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:32 pm

I haven't heard that actually, but then again, I am looking to buy an already established place, not to build a new one, so....

Also, I don't want to mention that to any Real Estate agent I see either - I don't want to give them any ammunition to use against me when it comes to bargaining time!! ;) :)
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Postby Ojii » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:35 pm

Oz,

I guess we posted nearly the same time. I didn't read your posting. Sorry for the semi-highjack.

What's the deal? You don't have PR, correct? Also, how many years do you have under your belt? If all else fails, you could ask your wife to get a regular job just long enough to 'get the loan'. Once you have the money and as long as you are able to make the payments, I don't see a problem if she quits. That's just one alternative.
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Postby Ozintokyo » Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:45 pm

Thanks for the suggestion - that might be an option if it's a no-go otherwise.

No PR yet, but I am coming up on 5 years come July, so I will have my wife take a gander through that link I posted to see if we can estimate whether I have a shot at it.

btw, not a hi-jack at all. I thought this thread would be good for me to get some ideas and suggestions, but can also be useful for others contemplating a potential property purchase, such as AB - allblacks that is, not the Bone man! :)
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Postby allblacks » Sat Apr 24, 2004 5:09 am

OZ

Thanks for the info on loans. The wife and I thought that we would have to simply save up the money. Something like this is what we want (http://used.realestate.yahoo.co.jp/real ... 938201atho)
580 man! The monthly charges are a measly 8000 yen. Naturally, I want something that is larger than 3K. Anything smaller, I just can't do.

BTW. Aussie beat Kiwi in League last night! SHIT!
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Postby Skweekah » Sat Apr 24, 2004 8:54 am

Guys!

When it comes to buying property, you never win! Whether the value appreciates or depreciates, it doesnt matter. Just rent. It's a lot less trouble. In Sydney, Australia, the prices of property doubled in a year. There was this hype about propery. Anyway, everyone shit themselves and said "Fuck me! I better get me some of that!" Anyway, the prices went up and everyone said "My property has gone up $100,000 in a year." And I say "Yeah? So has every other motherfuckers!" So, in reality, he can take his place and stick it, cause even to upgrade to something better is futile. If his was the only house in Sydney to have gone up then CoOl! But, it wasnt. So relatively speaking, he's still stepping in shit. His place is worth the same as it was when he bought it. And, for the investers, there's so much property and not enough tenants sweating, heaving, farting, fucking, that they are losing money fast. They have to pay off a loan (well, interest) out of their own pocket. Many people get burnt too.

Also, to buy property, say, in Japan and to know that one day it will depreciate to nothing is fucked! Why buy into that? Renting or paying off a loan? It's a lifelong commitment anyway you look at it. If you have kids, you can hand it over to them when your 100 and they are 70 or 80 years old. Dont chase your arse people. In the end we're all gonna die. DEeah is always waiting. You know it, the renters know it, and the motherfucker with the 70 year loan and depreciating apato knows it...

Anyway all, please excuse me while I wipe some faeces from my bedroom ceiling. I dont know how the fuck it got up there. I dont really want to think about it right now... I hope that you understand...
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Postby Ojii » Sat Apr 24, 2004 4:31 pm

GreenSpan, the President of the USA Economy, made a statement only yesterday declaring the near end of low interest rates. The only question is WHEN will the interest rates GO UP. Once that happends, you will be adding a lot of ZEROS to the money you'll end up paying back to the BANK. I'm no economic genious. I'm figuring that whatever happens in the US will end up happening over here.
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Postby allblacks » Sat Apr 24, 2004 4:39 pm

Skweekah

You are entitled to your opinions, but I still want to buy a place. Fuck lining some other cunts pockets for 20 years or so.

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Postby allblacks » Sun Apr 25, 2004 8:12 am

Back to the topic at hand...

So every day my wife finds another property and we spend ages discussing our strategies.
What I want to know is: Do many people make offers or do they settle for the price advertised?
Having lived in OZ and KIWI, I have seen alot of offers being made.

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Postby Ojii » Sun Apr 25, 2004 4:33 pm

allblacks wrote:Back to the topic at hand...

Do many people make offers or do they settle for the price advertised?


Good question AB. I think that IF the price were really LOW and there were a HOT demand for it, you would have not choice but to JUMP on it and PAY the price. I think that property that has sat on the market for a while and is turning into stale bread, would be open to an offer -- lower than advertised. Regardless of the situation, it wouldn't hurt to 'make a lower offer' which is somewhat standard in situations involving a lot of money.
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Postby Ozintokyo » Sun Apr 25, 2004 7:23 pm

Skweeks - yes you are right in that appreciation of your property value is a relative thing - it just keeps you level with every other Joe. But other things that need to be considered is that if you do not buy a property and the prices of properties increase at a rate over and above the increase in your relative salary, then the longer you leave it, the harder it will be to eventually buy one.

You could then say, well, fuck it, if I'm gonna rent forever, who cares? Now whilst that might be a fair enough response, at least I can say that that once I have paid off my house, my payments then stop and I only have to pay occassional upkeep or maintenance, so if I lose my job, I don't have to worry about being kicked out because I can't pay my rent.

allblacks, as for the haggling - yeah, go for it!! My wife has already 'practised' a bit. There is room there, but I guess it is as Ojii says, it depends on the demand. Unless you find a property that you MUST have, you have the power, negotiate as much as you like, if you don't get the price you want, walk away - it will then be interesting to see if they chase you back!
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Postby Ojii » Sun Apr 25, 2004 10:39 pm

...on the subject of buildling a house...

You will be surprised at the 'innovation' and 'creative law-bending' that goes on in the design and construction of homes, if you take a quick look around the neighborhood. As Drac and I mentioned in some earlier posts, there are regulations limiting the actual size of a home, depending on the amount of land you own. I believe the amount was, up to 150% of the land. This of course will limit those building 2 and 3 story homes, not uncommon in a country with super high land prices. Most of the homes, it seems, are simply caked townhouses. Caked in the sense that they are stacked up upon each other to utilize land space.

The tricky part is to avoid exceeding the 150% limit. The law states that measurements occur INSIDE the home, so many homeowners will build a large balcony or deck. I saw a nice home the other day, separted into two 2-story buildings with a double deck in the middle partially shaded to give privacy and avoid the 150% limit. That guy managed to design a 100 tsubo home inside a 50 tsubo plot with his slight alteration. More typical are the homes with the added side rooms/side garages made of aluminum or some other material AFTER the actual construction was complete years ago.

Whatever you do, MAX out your space. Make every inch count!
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Postby allblacks » Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:03 am

Ojii

That makes sense. I have seen some houses like that too.

My next question would be about the so called "リフォーム." So I buy an older apartment and
decide to refurbish it. Do I have to get permission to do stuff to it? What if I wanted to tear out the kitchen
and replace it with another. I can't see them requiring this or that when you just replace the tatami or install flooring
over the existing floor. But when you start to fuck with gas/electricity connections and shit...

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Postby Ojii » Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:25 am

allblacks wrote:
My next question would be about the so called "リフォーム." So I buy an older apartment and
decide to refurbish it.


As you know, there are many companies that specialize in リフォーム. I have heard that buying a 'used' home would require reforming that would cost, at a minimum 30K USD, an apartment would be significantly less. Then again, it would depend on what you are planning to リフォーム or add.

I'd imagine it would be 'case-by-case' in regards to apartments. 'Tearing' out the gas or electric lines or whatever would be a little shocking but if it was done by a professional, it would be more acceptable.
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Postby allblacks » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:33 am

Thanks Oji

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Housing starts and fits

Postby Guest » Wed Apr 28, 2004 1:47 pm

I had a wierd situation. I rented a two year old house ten years ago when the surrounding plots with houses were going for US$1M. Paid rent for ten years (totalling around $200K), and then the owner dies, the house goes to descendants who couldn't afford the tax bite and sold it to a real estate agent. He came to tell us that we had six months to move out (as per the original contract) and he'd give us back all of our deposit, pay up to 1.5M yen for moving, and cover the thank you money on a new rental, should we so choose. OR...
We could buy the place, kitchen, bath, dressing area, and toilet reform thrown in (we did pay more for a full kitchen remodelling, but his offer was good - he threw in, as "service" the little standards: new locks, full washitsu replacement of fusima, tatami, shoji, etc. and other small repairs). The cost was half of the original cost ($500K), and I got a loan from Yokohama Bank. All my name. I'm a Chinese/Caucasian mixed US national permanent resident. Wife who doesn't work and a three year old kid. Almost forty, so I decided to buy, as you can't get a 35 year loan after 40 (or it is much more difficult). Turns out I could have gotten a lower rate (cf my current 35 year @ 2.3% fixed for 5 years - looking out for that bubble payment) from Sumitomo, but, well, I'm content. The loan payments are 25K yen lower than my rent was, and the annual taxes are less than my shaken, far offset by the 500K yen the government will give me back on taxes every year for the next decade. We looked for other places, but building in the city (well, northern Yokohama) runs a ridiculous price, and all the new places we looked at were sad in comparison to our current or way out of budget. Best we found were in bleeding Zushi, in particular this one yakuza-type house 15 minutes from the station with central heating and 200 square meters of house with above and below ground parking for four cars (still too expensive and too far, but we were tempted). And that one was ten years old. We gave up and figured that, in an area where new house values have a halflife of 1-2 years, but where the decay curve on land prices seems to have leveled off, our present rental was a reasonable buy. No central heating, but at least I don't have top fill my windows with AC units like I did back in school. I've got a garden, we know the neighbors, and I know the house. Luck does play a significant part. We looked at around 50 places with seven different agencies, as well as all the damn ads. I saw some of those "buy the house, but the land for only X years" ones. Houses for sale the interior of which was not open due to current residents. A couple of the "real cheap but guys with missing fingers are also interested" variety. Well, my wife will inherit land in the countryside eventually, where the house itself is actually the major investment, so we'll have a place to retire. At that time I can decide what to do with the current house. I'm content, but this is not to say that I don't appreciate what one can get with a built to order house - we looked at a number of these second hand as well. Sorry I went on so long on this, but the comments here really caught my eye.
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Postby Ozintokyo » Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:23 pm

jkure, welcome to the forums! ..and thanks for putting up a post of your experiences. I've not seen much talk about properties and the different options and experiences - so every story helps. I am guessing you place is in Yokohama then? Interesting it had such a decline, but I think that the US$1m price tag sounds like the bubble time.

As you say, luck plays a bit of a part, and it sounds like you were in the right place at the right time - good luck to you!! :)

This is another comment that makes me want to look at the second hand market a bit more. The value of a new house sure does seem to drop within a few years!

As for the real estate agents - they are a fucking pushy bunch!! I have asked to look at houses only, not apartments - we have been getting a shit load of floor plans coming through!! I would say that about 95% of them are new properties though!! wtf is it with that shit??

Mind you, some of these properties are quite nice, but having seen, admittedly, only 3 second hand properties, there sure is a difference.

Actually, that is interesting - of the second hand properties I have seen so far, the 'newest' one of these was about 15 years old, and, uniformly, they have all looked like SHIT inside. I dont mean the basic look of the place from outside, or even the basic structure of the properties, I just mean their basic condition - walls filthy, kitchens looking like they have NEVER been cleaned, the whole place just generally unclean - I don't get it quite frankly. I remember the one property I sold back in Oz - as much effort as possible was made to make the place look neat, clean and presentable.

Are they TRYING to make us not buy it, or perhaps everyone is of the opinion that the land is everything and the house is nothing, that everyone will just rebuild anyway? Maybe the real estate just wants to move the new properties, so only shows me the shit second hand ones? The last one they refered us to when we said we wanted to see an older place, was more than 30 years old, and looked like it hadn't been cleaned in it's entire life - windows were boarded up and the back door was just wide open when we got there, bits of wood and debris were in the main room - what a fucking disaster!! My missus took one look and was not even prepared to venture upstairs, let alone consider how it might look after a clean! Can't say as I blame her though! :lol:

When I have time, I am concentrating on the bank loan side of it for now, and have put a holt to further property inspections until I can get more comfortable with that, but when I venture out to look again, I may try to ask for nothing less than 3 years old!!
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Postby allblacks » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:42 pm

OZ

Sounds like you need a new real estate agent...

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Postby Ojii » Sat May 01, 2004 12:07 am

Oz, you might want to get another or additional realestate agent. Also, read some of the local newspaper ads and get those local magazines that have rental properties and houses for sale....

Talk to everyone you know, especially the locals. Let them know that you are looking around. You will be surprised at what you'll find by word of mouth.

I wouldn't recommend buying anything too old but a lot of it depends on the strength of the material. You might get lucky and find a nice home, once it is cleaned and 'reformed'. You could ask someone, possibly a construction worker, to a tag along with you to get an estimate on the cost of repairing a home, or ask if it is simply repairable.
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Postby Ozintokyo » Sat May 01, 2004 12:35 am

We have about 4 real estate agents at the moment, but they all seem pretty much the same.

I haven't pushed it too much just yet as I am wanting to get the bank loan part of it all sorted first - or at least confirm who will be willing to lend to a non-resident gaijin!! :)
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Postby Ozintokyo » Sun May 16, 2004 11:54 pm

Ojii, I was just reading some of the comments again and noted your comment about asking the locals! :lol: had to laugh, I couldn't actually afford to buy a place where I am living now - not with the right criteria anyway!

We did see a nice place today that was about 40 years old. I am actually amazed at this place for the simple fact that it is the first place we have seen that was more than 10 years old that didn't look like a bomb had hit it!!

I am pretty amazed at how quickly the places seem to go actually. There were a few new ones that had made it to a "short list" of sorts, but of the 3 we short listed, all are now sold.

As for word of mouth - well I guess if anyone sees something out there maybe give me a shout!! :)

Our criteria are basically as follows:

LDK area at least 20帖
Overall inside area of at least 100sqm
Covered car parking space
Room for at least 3 bicycles and a motorbike in addition
Within Tokyo's 23 区's (Preferrably Minato-ku)
No more than 8千万円

Not too much to ask for I would have thought - but, not so easy as you would think.

By the way, we are also going to start keeping an eye out for what comes up at the government auctions (mostly foreclosures or something I guess?????). We got a advert from a place that helps with these kind of properties - so will be watching via their site, which is at:

http://www.gp-japan.jp
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Re: Housing starts and fits

Postby valve-bouncer » Mon May 17, 2004 1:56 am

jkure wrote:I had a wierd situation....lots of good stuff following.

Awesome post mate, hope you'll stick around.
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Postby Ozintokyo » Tue May 18, 2004 10:13 am

Well we put a call into Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, and spoke to a rather rude bitch on the other end.

Well, for others out there, there is good news in that BOTM does not require you to have a permanent residency visa to be able to get a bank loan from them, but they do require that you speak Japanese and in fact can read and understand all the contracts yourself. So, for those with the skill, you'd be OK. Me, I'm fucked.

Conversation went something like this:

Wife: So, it is ok for us to get a loan, even though Oz doesn't have a permanent visa?

BOTM Bitch: Yes, that shouldn't be a problem, but he will need to be able to understand all the contracts in Japanese.

Wife: Sorry, Oz can't read Japanese, but I can translate.

BOTM B: That means you will understand them, that does not mean he will understand them.

Wife: Well, he can't read the Japanese, but we do want to live in Japan and he works in banking and can understand this kind of thing better than I can.

BOTM B: But he can't understand the Japanese. So, he wants to live in Japan, but he can't understand Japanese - is that what you're saying?

Wife: Jah, kekko desu (hangs up).


What a fucking bitch. But, bitch that she was, I guess she did have a good point.
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Postby Cyberfoxbat » Tue May 18, 2004 10:45 am

So people who can read Japanese can read it - but can they understand it?
Can't you just sit over the contract with a electronic translator? At least something that would break up kanji into hirigana and katakana.....
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Postby valve-bouncer » Tue May 18, 2004 12:19 pm

OZ, sounds like bullshit to me mate, see if you can find some-one, (wife's family) would be best who can pull a few strings for you based on the old "who you know, not what you know" routine. That's how we got our loan, although I do have my PR. I know you may have mentioned it before but why haven't you got your PR yet?
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