After years of living in Japan, many foreigners with growing families and steady incomes start to think about buying a house. However, buying real-estate in Japan is very expensive, and on top of that, all the contracts and other difficult paperwork have to be conducted in Japanese. It’s enough to dissuade anyone from the whole idea.
That’s why we’ve prepared this guide to real-estate companies that offer services in foreign languages. If you’re thinking of buying a house in Japan but don’t have a lot of confidence in your Japanese, then this is the article for you.
How Buying a House in Japan Looks Like from Start to Finish
Currently, there are no laws in Japan limiting the rights of foreigners to buy a house. It doesn’t matter what visa you have or whether you’re a permanent resident or not; anyone is allowed to buy real-estate in Japan. That’s why all paperwork related to buying real estate is mostly the same for Japanese citizens and foreigners. However, if you’re a foreigner planning on getting a home loan to buy a house, then the process might be slightly more complicated for you.
Typically, buying a house In Japan looks like this: find a property, find an intermediary, sign a contract, pay, receive ownership. The process may not be so simple for foreigners, though. Besides a language barrier, there’s also the issue of how Japanese real-estate companies do business, which might be different from what a potential foreign buyer is used to. Therefore, to avoid all sorts of trouble, it’s important to find an intermediary company that you can trust, and which has experience with foreign clients.
For a closer look at how buying a house looks like in Japan, please consult the following article:
What Foreigners Need to Know About Buying a House in Japan
◆Buying a Private Residence
Real Estate Japan
Real Estate Japan is the largest real-estate website in Japan for foreigners, both those in and outside Japan. Besides offering real estate information in a number of languages, they also offer interpretation services for real-estate deals, help foreigners find rental properties, and operate a moving business for foreigners.
Their housing service doesn’t just help foreigners find a place to rent, they also help out with contracts like the lease, utilities like power, gas, and water, and even the contracts’ termination, all in English. If the thought of having to handle all that stuff on your own stresses you out, then this is the company to turn to.
The site also hosts a blog with all sorts of useful snippets of knowledge, like Japanese customs that foreigners might not be used to, or the proper readings of place names. It’s a great place to pick up a couple of hints for living in Japan.
◆Buying a Property as an Investment
Tokyu Livable is a subsidiary real-estate company of the Tokyu Group, a large Japanese railway corporation. 98% of their sales staff are registered real-estate brokers, and with that level of expertise, they are able to offer thorough real-estate services. Besides listings, they will also help you find the best loans and act as your financial planners. And if there’s something that you don’t understand about taxes or regulations, they’ll step in and advise you about that as well, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
They also have five offices across Asia and America and actively support foreign investments in Japan as well as Japanese investments abroad. Tokyu Livable boasts Japanese staff who can communicate in English, Chinese, and other languages, and also hires foreign experts on real-estate, so if you aren’t too confident about your Japanese communication skills, then this is the place for you. The company also conducts seminars abroad about real-estate investment opportunities in Japan, and offer a service where they help foreign businessmen visiting Japan find the right investment property.
◆For Either Residence or Investment
Shingi Fusaya Real Estate
Shingi Fusaya is the Japanese subsidiary of the largest real estate brokerage firm in Taiwan. Established in 2009, it offers thorough real-estate services thanks to its knowledgeable and experienced staff. The company boasts many exciting listings throughout Tokyo, including properties in Minato, Chuo, and Shinjuku. Whether you’re looking for a home or an investment opportunity, they are the people to talk to.
The staff speak Japanese, English, and Chinese, making Shingi Fusaya the best place for people who aren’t too confident about their Japanese communication skills. They also offer professional support on all kinds of subjects, including taxes or legal issues related to real estate purchases, so that you can get involved in the real estate business without being an expert on the subject.
In addition, anyone can participate in the company’s Chinese-language seminars in Tokyo about Japanese real estate (prior online registration required).
Mitsui Fudosan Realty
With 19 locations all over Japan and 282 development projects (as of April 1, 2020) under their belt, Mitsui Fudosan is Japan’s leading real estate developer. They’re known for their community-based approach as well as thorough communication and careful services. These include everything from real-estate brokerage for individuals, to consulting for corporations and individual investors, to real-estate showings for foreign buyers.
By looking at things from the clients’ perspective and offering them a lot of different options, Mitsui Fudosan is able to help you find exactly what you need and close that real-estate deal without any unnecessary stress or problems. Between 1986 and 2019, the company has ranked #1 for 34 years in a row in terms of the number of brokered purchase and sale transactions.
Their other services include Japanese real-estate investment consultation for foreign investors, conducted in Chinese or English, as well as periodic real-estate seminars and real-estate sales events held abroad.
Sumitomo Real Estate Sales
This is a real estate brokerage firm managed by the Sumitomo Group, one of Japan’s largest corporations. With 269 locations across Japan, they offer real-estate brokerage services for individuals and corporations, including consultations and information on things like loans for people thinking of buying a property. They additionally continue to offer support long after a contract has been signed, helping out with things like moving, necessary repairs in the kitchen or bathroom, and other problems that may arise.
Nihonbashi Consulting is the company’s consulting service for foreigners, located in Nihonbashi in Tokyo, and they also broker real estate sales and purchases, with the help of their expert staff who can speak English, Chinese, and other foreign languages. This service isn’t just for foreign residents in Japan. People abroad can use it as well, so if you’ve ever considered one day living in Japan, then these are the people you should talk to.
Real estate purchases require a lot of money, so it’s important to use a real-estate company you can trust. All the companies we introduced in this article offer their services in a variety of foreign languages, so compare their listings in the area you’re interested in, as well as what services they offer, and choose the company that will help you find your dream property.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.