There are no restrictions on foreigners to own property in Japan. None at all. In other words, does this mean it’s an easy process? However, here’s the catch. Three catches actually.
- Utmost Importance. You need to have ready cash or at least, a pre-approved loan from a bank. This pre-approval is proof of your borrowing capacity and will be your negotiation tool in dealings with real estate agents. As soon as a purchase contract has been signed, it is important to tell your bank immediately to initiate the valuation process. Do note that bank valuations are variable. You need to find out the amount of finance available before the finance expiration date.
- You need to be aware of the (complex) procedures in Japan. Do go through the process flow below.
- You need to be aware of the Gift & Inheritance Tax law in Japan.
For the undaunted, please proceed to read.
When you decide to buy a property in Japan yourself, this process flow gives you a general indication of how it may proceed. However, different real estate companies may assist you with varying service levels in regards to the translation assistance, legalities, filings required and registrations. The extent or completeness of their services would depend on your agreement with them. You would expect that the RE company you signed up with will have their own partnerships and associations in order to access a wider range of property stock which they can declare belongs within their jurisdiction. Therefore, you would expect to be charged a premium to be handheld throughout the procedures. In the end, you also have to agree that a real estate transaction is a (very) lengthy procedure with a formidable amount of paperwork that needs to be filed across several authorities in Japan.
process flow continued …
Your Signature or Registered Seal?
During the signing procedure, a registered seal is required for the transaction documents. In Japan, a registered seal is recognised as the authorised, undisputed proof of approval. This is the easiest and most accepted way to “sign” documents in Japan. Otherwise, a signature certificate registered with your country’s embassy must be obtained. If you are doing this remotely outside of Japan, you will likely need to get your signature certificate(s) notarised. You will also need to appoint a lawyer to close the transaction via a Power of Attorney, or the real estate company could help you to make such arrangements. Of course, everything can be done for you. It is simply a matter how much you will be charged for the services required.
Read more about the buying process here.