The problem with trying to buy an abandoned ‘akiya’

The Japanese countryside is dotted with old, rambling shacks and farmhouses that look empty and abandoned. They can even be found in urban settings. You may think it’s a simple process of just pulling the title with the owner’s name on it, giving them a call and offering a few Yen to take the old home off their hands. And voila, you now have a charming fixer-upper of your own?

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What does a concierge do?

A concierge is considered a value-add to a residential building and something developers will provide in higher-end properties in Japan. It is important to understand that concierges in Japan may not offer the same type of services that may be standard in other countries.

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Home buying in Japan: Why that second bathroom may cost you

One of the most requested things we receive from buyers looking for two or three bedroom apartments or homes is for two full bathrooms. While this might be standard in many overseas markets, in Japan it is incredibly rare to find such a property. There are at most 2 or 3 condo-type buildings in Tokyo where 2 bathrooms are standard in all apartments, and these apartments are priced at the higher end of the market. In fact, 99.9% of current apartment listings in Tokyo’s 23 wards have just one bathroom.

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New tax revision to allow 2% of building purchase price to be deducted

The government has decided to extend the home loan tax deduction program for new home buyers to allow a three-year period whereby a home owner could deduct up to 2% of the building portion of their purchase price from their income tax. This is an effort to help support the housing market this year when the consumption tax rate is scheduled to increase to 10% from October 2019.

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What our job involves when working with foreign clients

When working with expat or non-resident clients on real estate deals in Japan, the process can easily take 3 times as much time and effort when compared to a domestic Japanese client. There are only small number of real estate agencies in Japan that are truly well versed in working with foreign clients. For the majority of domestic-oriented agencies, foreign clients are often seen as being too challenging and involving too much hassle. We often encounter local listing agents that have no experience with transactions involving a foreign buyer, so it is our job to assure them that the transaction can go as smoothly as it would be with a local Japanese buyer.

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How much should be allocated towards large-scale repairs and maintenance on a condo?

On May 11, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) released the results of a survey into the approximate costs of large-scale maintenance and repairs for apartment buildings. The goal of the survey is to provide apartment owners associations with a general idea of what the repair work should cost in an effort to reduce over-charging.

This is a useful guide for potential apartment buyers as you can check the amount of money in a building’s repair reserve fund before purchasing. Some buildings may have ample funds, providing some peace of mind, while others may have very little accumulated which would mean each apartment owner may have to pay out of pocket in the future or necessary maintenance won’t be carried out at all.

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