Advisor for RENOVATION, REPAIR, REAL ESTATE and CONSTRUCTION for foreigners living in Japan

The things you should know for house hunting in Japan

Check points for your house hunting in Japan!

How much do you think you can spend a time to look around or check your possible apartment or house?

If you ask a real estate agent for house hunting tour, you will be probably shown 2 to 4 properties in a day.

House hunting is called 内見[NAIKEN] (ないけん) or 内覧 [NAIRAN] (ないらん).

The important things are all about creating as realistic an image of life as possible.
Image things like how you cook for yourself and furniture layout, you’ll be less likely to miss anything.

  • location of electrical outlets. Electrical outlets has to be located the place you want to put your TV, fridge or washing machine on.
  • whether if there is a storage. Is the storage space enough?
  • Are the appliances fit in there?
  • Is Air-conditioner equipped? And also you should check how old it is, because an electrical efficiency of old type air-conditioners should not be good. It means that you can save your electricity fee. On the other hand an energy-efficient refrigerator or air-conditioner should be more expensive if you purchase it. You can find a small label on air-conditioner, which is mentioned about what year it was manufactured in. If it says 2010年製[NISEN JU NENSEI], it was made in 2010.
  • Is cooking stove electric or gas type? If it is electric type, it takes long time to cook your food. It is called IHコンロ[I H KONRO] for electric cooking stove, ガスコンロ[GASU KONRO] for gas cooking stove.
  • Is an intercom equipped? Strange sales representative may come to your apartment. If there is an intercom, you can talk to him over the intercom without opening a entrance door, which would be more safe. Here in Japan is a safe place though.
  • Is a lighting installed in rooms? Previous tenant may leave it or some landlord may be provided. If there is no lighting in the room, you can purchase it for 4,000~20,000JPY in a electronic store. LED type is more expensive. There should be the outlet for lighting called 引掛シーリング[HIKKAKE CEILING].  Lighting can be installed with this easily.
  • Exposure to the sun. If you can choose, a clear day should be suitable for a house hunting to check how bright the room is. You should also check the direction. Room facing south should be more expensive. It the room is facing west, you will get the afternoon sun.
  • View from the windows. Normally curtains does not come with the room. You have to buy it by yourself. Nitori store is reccomendable. Open and close the windows and check if it is off-centered or not.
  • Water pressure for a shower head. Here in Japan the water pressure is rarely low like it often happens in other countries.
  • 4G phone network. It is especially important to pay attention to reinforced concrete condominiums that are hard to reach, rooms that are semi-underground, and properties that are surrounded by large condominiums. Check in the middle and four corners of the room, in front of the kitchen, in the bathroom/toilet, in the entryway, and in all areas of the room.
  • Key of the entrance door. Ideally, the key should be a dimple key with high security.
  • The size of bathroom. If it is “UNIT BATH”, includes the tub, sink, and toile all in one room, you should try soaking in a bath tab and feel how your body fit it in because bath tab should be very small.
  • Check the space for hanging laundry and security in Balcony. When the direction of the balcony is north, it is hard to dry the laundry.
  • The difference between a balcony and a veranda ベランダ[BERANDA] is whether it has a roof or not.
  • Thickness of the wall. You should check how much you can hear the noise of the people living next door or on the upper floor.
  • Is the floor tilted? If you have a something round ball, you can try placing it on the floor if the floor is tilted or not.
  • Do you smell stink? If the previous resident was a smoker, there may be a lingering smell of tobacco.
  • Are the common areas neat and tidy? You can check whether the garbage yard and corridor is cluttered. If it is clean, maintenance of the building should be well managed.
  • The number of vacant room. You can just check the mail box. If lots of leaflets fill up in the mail box, you can assume it’s vacant room.
  • If you are a lady, you should check if there is an security cameras and the entrance door of the building is automatic locks.
  • The distance to the nearest station. On the promotional flyer of real estate, one minute translates into 80 meters. For example if it is 10-minutes walking to the station 徒歩10分[TOHO JYUPPUN], the distance from the station is 800m. But it’s not being taken into account the time to wait at the light or railroad crossing.
  • Stores in the neighborhood. Convenience store and supermarket should be the most important.
  • If you have a chance to visit a property you are curious about again, you should be there at night and check the streetlamp on the way from the station.