Back to News

Things to Know Before You Buy a House in Japan


buying house in japanAre you captivated by the idea of owning a house in Japan, a land of rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and a unique way of life? The prospect of acquiring property in Japan can be thrilling, but it's essential to embark on this journey fully informed and well-prepared.

We've compiled a comprehensive guide outlining the crucial things you need to know before entering the Japanese real estate market.


Market Dynamics

Understanding Market Trends

The Japanese real estate market operates differently from many Western countries. Property values, especially in rural areas, often trend downwards over time due to factors like ageing populations and migration to major cities. Don't expect the same rapid appreciation seen in some other markets.


Investment vs. Lifestyle

Lifestyle Choice

While real estate can be an investment, primarily consider it a lifestyle choice. Buying a house in Japan can offer incredible personal enjoyment. Still, it may not always yield substantial financial returns, especially if you plan to purchase in rural or less popular areas.


Financial Readiness

Cash Is King

Getting a mortgage in Japan can be challenging for non-residents. Thus, having cash on hand is often the most practical way to purchase a property. Cash offers also provide better bargaining power when negotiating the price with sellers.


Property Age and Condition

Age and Charm vs. Maintenance

When exploring potential homes, consider the age and condition of the house. Older, traditional Japanese homes, or "kominka," can be charming but may require significant maintenance and renovations. Newer properties may be move-in ready and easier to maintain.


Budget Wisely

Invest in Quality

Increasing your initial budget might save you money in the long run. Older, cheaper properties may seem attractive, but renovation costs can add up quickly. A well-maintained, slightly more expensive property could be more cost-effective over time.


buying house in japan

Ongoing Expenses

Consider the Long Term

It's tempting to believe that your costs will drop to zero after buying a house since you're not paying monthly rent. There are ongoing expenses to consider and plan for, such as utilities, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and possibly property management.


Property Inspection

Personal Inspection

Whenever possible, visit the property in person. This lets you understand the house, its surroundings, and the local community. It's also an opportunity to meet potential neighbours and assess the property's condition.


Professional Inspection

Consider hiring a building inspector, especially for older properties. Inspectors can identify hidden structural, plumbing, electrical, or roofing issues that may not be visible to the untrained eye.


Flexibility Matters

Open to Options

Be open to different types of properties. Your ideal home might not match your initial vision. Flexibility can lead to discovering unexpected value in a property you hadn't considered.


buying house in japan

Professional Assistance

Consider an Intermediary

If you're not fluent in Japanese, consider working with an English-speaking intermediary or real estate agent who can guide you through the process, help with communication, and provide local insights.


buying house in japan

Legal and Financial Considerations

Research Taxes and Fees

Familiarize yourself with the various taxes and fees associated with buying and owning property in Japan. This includes stamp tax, real estate acquisition tax, registration fees, and fixed property tax. Seek professional advice if needed.


Foreign Residents and Mortgages

If you're a foreign resident, check the eligibility criteria for applying for a mortgage from Japanese banks. Permanent residency or specific visa conditions may be required.


Regional Variation

Housing Prices by Region: Understand that housing prices can vary significantly depending on the region. Major cities like Tokyo and Osaka will generally have higher property prices than rural areas. Research local market trends to find the right location for your budget.


Legal and Language Considerations

Know the Legal Landscape: Familiarize yourself with Japanese real estate laws and regulations. If you're not proficient in Japanese, consider seeking legal advice or hiring a translator to ensure you understand all contracts and documents.


Community Engagement

Local Connections

Engage with the community and get to know your neighbours. Building strong relationships can enhance your experience living in Japan and provide invaluable support.

Buying a house in Japan can be a fulfilling and life-changing experience. By being well-informed and prepared, you can confidently navigate the process and make the right choices for your future home in this beautiful and culturally rich country. Whether it's a traditional kominka in the countryside or a modern urban dwelling, Japan offers diverse and exciting opportunities for homeownership.

Feel the excitement of Japanese real estate? Take the first step to explore more! Enquire now with our expert real estate professionals and start your journey today!

subscribe to newsletter

Send us an enquiry