December 15, 2023
Your Path to Homeownership in Japan
First steps and expert advice from Mr.Land
Embarking on the path to homeownership in Japan can be a daunting leap, particularly for foreign buyers trying to navigate unfamiliar steps alone. Given the complexity involved, the role of a real estate agent becomes crucial. Metropolis sits down with Mr.LAND, a dedicated agent for foreigners, to demystify the process and guide you through those initial, challenging steps.
Metropolis: What sets Mr.LAND apart in the Japanese real estate landscape?
Mr.LAND: Consider us your partners in the journey to homeownership in Japan. Our comprehensive support, from local market expertise to language, legal, and financial assistance, is designed to make you feel confident in your purchase and at home with us even before you receive the keys. Throughout the process, we prioritize hospitality, building trust and understanding your needs and cultural nuances.
Explore our all-English website and social media for exclusive insights tailored to the non-Japanese market.
M: What are the unique characteristics and appeal of the Japanese real estate market for international buyers?
ML: For general buyers, Japan’s stable economy, advanced infrastructure, and modern amenities make it an attractive and viable option in the global real estate landscape.
For investors, the market generally attracts more conservative, long-term investors seeking stable and steady returns. In the unpredictable world of real estate investing, Japan offers a safe and reliable option, especially amidst the current trends of the weak yen and low interest rates.
M: What are the key differences between buying property in Japan as a foreigner and as a Japanese citizen?
ML: Anyone can buy real estate in Japan regardless of nationality or visa status, but a key difference is how limited options are when it comes to financing.
If you are an individual non-resident foreigner, the chances of getting a loan from a Japanese bank is practically non-existent. For foreigners already living in Japan, the chances of obtaining a loan are higher but meeting conditions such as visa status, Japanese language proficiency, verifiable income and credit history are vital. Contact us anytime to find out what your options are.
M: What is the typical purchasing process for buying property in Japan?
ML: The process typically spans the following steps: hearing, property search, offer, contract and close/handover. If a buyer is looking for financing, the loan application process begins with a loan pre-screening before the offer is made. English support is essential at this point, and we ensure clarity by translating all documents in advance. See our website for two free eGuides providing detailed insights into the processes for both buyers and investors.
M: What are the main challenges buyers encounter?
ML: Ultimately it’s understanding and adapting to the cultural differences between Japan and their home country. Specific concerns, like plumbing, gas pipes, or sewage systems crossing property boundaries, or the absence of property markers on older properties, might be issues elsewhere but pose different considerations in Japan, especially on smaller plots.Some see these issues as deal-breakers, while others adapt over time, recognizing patterns and adjusting expectations. Embracing these differences can be challenging but offers valuable learning experiences.
M: What advice would you give international buyers who are interested in purchasing but don’t know where to start?
ML: Understanding legal documents, negotiations, logistical challenges and cultural differences is complex without proper language support. We want people to be thorough when looking into real estate agents and understand the services they offer. At Mr.LAND, we always want our clients to purchase with confidence, and most of all, we want them to feel a genuine sense of closeness—a place in Japan that truly feels like their “home away from home.”