Here is an old (but informative) article from Danny Choo on the pros and cons of renting/purchasing a home in Tokyo. I know the economy sucks right now but for those that can afford it, it may be a great time to acquire property in Japan!
“I wrote an article on buying a house in Tokyo a while ago and have been getting mail re the subject ever since. Rather can continue to copy and paste my replies, I thought I would write up something with more beef answering many of the frequently asked questions…
After living in Japan for six years, I decided to buy a house because I just got fedup with renting.
- Apartments for rent are generally of poor quality – the walls are thin and materials used in general are dirt cheap – this is so that the landlord can make as much money profit as possible. The most rent I have payed is 220,000 yen per month and the walls in that place were so thin, you could hear the people next door sneeze. This is the main reason why I decided to buy – I just cant stand other people making noise for me to listen too – especially when its people running, jumping and sneezing!
- We tried different types of rented apartments – mansions, apartments and terrace houses – all literally made of paper and noisy as hell.”
- As long as you continue to rent, you will eventually have to move to another place whether its for work reasons or whatever. Looking for somewhere to rent in Japan as a foreigner is an unpleasant experience. Many landlords dont want to rent out to foreigners. When you go into an estate agent, you will be given a book of property leaflets to go through and occasionally see the “No Foreigners” checkbox ticked off. Some leaflets may have “No foreigners or pets”…
- The worst experiences are the ones where you are taken to look at a place and after you decide that you like it, the estate agent will call up the landlord in front of you and ask whether they are keen on renting to a foreigner. Some landlords just dont know how to say “no” and say “oh, if they want the place, they have to pay an extra 25,000 yen per month for a parking space” and they say this after being told that you dont have a car. Once, I said that I’ll take the parking space to see what the reaction of the landlord would be and surprise surprise, they said no in the end. This is one of the most humiliating experiences you will have living in Japan and it sucks. After going through this experience a few times, what I did was to make the estate agent call the landlord *before* we went to look at the apartments – this will save you a lot of time – but you still get the humiliation as the estate agent calls the landlord in front of you.
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Photo credit: Danny Choo