Guide to Buying Your First House in Japan

So, you’re getting ready for buying your first house in Japan? That’s awesome! Among other things, that means that your days of living as a renting tenant in a small apartment are over. You’ll have no more pesky landlords to deal with – in every sense of the word, you’ll be the king of the castle.

As a proud homeowner, you’ll be able to furnish the place however you see fit. There will be no dealing with often subpar rental arrangements, or difficulties with finding a parking spot. Plus, with the mortgage rates in Japan being as low as they are, this is, in most cases, a better option than paying rent. But even with that in mind – you should make an informed decision about your first real estate purchase. Which is why we’re here to give you a couple of tips!

Having cash on hand

One of the most important things to consider when it comes to buying your first house in Japan is, quite obviously – money. It doesn’t matter where you’re buying a home; at the end of the day, it’s a big financial investment. And that’s why you don’t want to approach this without the right degree of seriousness. Make no mistake, while homeownership is splendid, it’s also quite a big decision to make; which is why you need to be sure that you’re ready for it, in many ways. And among those – the most important is being ready in the financial sense. So, before you buy a home and look for Japan Relocation Services, you should be certain that you’ve got enough money for the process.

A house in Japan.
No matter how well off you are, consider a mortgage while buying your first house in Japan!

The right mortgage

No matter how much money you’ve got saved up, you’ll want to carefully consider all of the costs of buying your first house in Japan. Apart from the mortgage and other accompanying processing fees, there are also costs if you want to send your goods to and from Japan. But among these, at the end of the day – your mortgage is the most important one. Even if you have the money to buy the house in its entirety upfront; we recommend going through the mortgage system, for ease and financial security.

Generally, the best thing you can do is to pay up to 30% of your home’s purchase price upfront (this includes other fees and taxes); though you will find some lenders that actually offer almost deposit-free loans. But before you can get a mortgage from a Japanese bank, many of the local financial institutions will demand proof of earnings of a minimum of ¥3.5 million a year.

Getting the best info

Generally, apart from considering your financial situation carefully; one of the most important aspects of buying your first house in Japan is making the most informed decision possible. Meaning that you only want to deal with the biggest professionals in the business. But if you’re not from Japan, finding the right real estate agents may not be easy. And you may be surprised to hear this, but you can find them in newspapers; many of the bigger companies insert their fliers there. Also, crucially – you want to get a company that offers services in English.

A dark alleyway in a Japanese city.
Research the area where you’ll be living in with extreme care!

Once you make your contact with a local real estate agent though, you’ll realize something; while they can help you out in finding the right property, you already need to know what you want to a certain degree. Just like when you’re renting your first apartment – you have to know what sort of price you can afford, in what area you want to spend your time in, and what you consider to be the best type of property. Apart from that, there are a plethora of other characteristics and requirements to think about. And only once you’ve figured that out, will a real estate agent be able to point you in the direction of the best properties.

Research the surrounding area

One of the most important things to realize here is – apart from the property itself, you also need to research the surrounding area. Which means having a thorough look at what your neighborhood will be like. For example, you need to visit the place at both day and night. What may seem like a quiet area during the day could be the place where a bosozoku motorcycle gang gathers at night. Also, you need to figure out what kind of commute you’ll be making to your place of business. So, before moving and purchasing a home; take the train from the area one morning, to see how difficult and long of a journey it is. You don’t want to travel for hours to work each morning, after all.

A busy downtown area in a Japanese city at night.
At the end of the day, it’s important having all of the right amenities; like an easy downtown commute!

If you’re relocating and buying your first house in Japan with your family; there are additional aspects of any potential neighborhood to consider as well. After all, you’ve got more than just your own needs to think about at this point! What you’ll be looking for largely depends on your kids’ age. If you’ve got the need for daycare services, for example; these vary wildly between areas. So make sure you take a look at this while choosing your next area.


As you may have realized yourself by now; purchasing your first house in Japan is definitely a wonderful transition to make. It’ll make your life there much more rooted down and secure. However, on the other hand – this still includes an awful lot of decisions to make. So, be certain that you’ve thought through every single one!

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