A Quick Guide to Buying Property in Japan

A Quick Guide to Buying Property in Japan

Step 1

Finding the Right Home for You

Apts.jp agents find ideal properties according to your criteria, then schedule viewings all while accommodating your schedule.

Searching for the right property in the right neighborhood is a test of patience and luck.

At Apts.jp, you will have an advantage over other potential buyers, by having the most current listings available to you, with a team of expert agents at your disposal, who will streamline the viewing and application processes, as well as help you familiarize yourself with the market.

We will also give you insight on local knowledge about locations- with historical and future development plans– which more often than not, play a crucial role in making a final decision.

Finding the Right Home for You


Whether it be just a tour of a neighborhood or setting up viewings for properties, Apts.jp will accommodate your schedule. Click here to speak to an agent. When doing a viewing, we will not only explain the condition and facilities of the property, but also give you a thorough understanding of the surrounding area. It is important to know the property’s proximity to local transportation, and public facilities such as hospitals, parks, and schools.

We want you to leave a viewing feeling like you fully understand both the atmosphere of the neighborhood and the availability of local conveniences.



When you decide on a property, an application must be submitted with necessary documents to initiate negotiations. As you are commissioning our expertise, we will negotiate the best deal in your interest. During this negotiation period, terms and conditions will be discussed and the Explanation of Important Matters will be thoroughly reviewed.

Why choose Apts.jp? -- Our listings are updated daily, so you always have access to the most current listings. Our agents will also give you insight to local knowledge that you won’t find on any databases.

Step 2


Make a financial plan and get your loan pre-approved

Before viewing, we advice you to visit a financial advisor at a bank of your choice to discuss your financial options. Of course, you can call us for a free consultation at any time. And if you require assistance, we can introduce you to an English speaking banker.


Financing & Pre-Qualifying for a Personal Loan

If you plan to get a mortgage loan, it’s best to start your home search simultaneously with a loan pre-approval at a select financial institution.

There are only a few banks that lend to non-permanent residents.—Prestia SMBC Trust Bank, Tokyo Star Bank, Bank of China, Shinhan Bank Japan, and Bank of Taiwan. For other financial institutions, you will need permanent residency and a very strong understanding of Japanese.

Permanent residence NOT required for loan

  • Tokyo Star
  • Bank of Taiwan
  • SMBC Prestia
  • Shinhan Bank Japan
  • Bank of China

Permanent residence required for loan

  • Shinsei
  • Mitsubishi UFJ
  • Mizuho
  • Resona
  • Mitsui Sumitomo
  • Shinhan Bank Japan
Flat 35 yr (JHFA)

Fixed, or Variable Rate, or Flat 35 Loan


A fixed rate loan has a fixed interest rate for the loan period. The advantage of this is that the borrower’s monthly payments are the same over the entire loan. This type of loan is recommended for those that prefer predictable payment plans. Downside to a fixed rate loan is that the borrower will pay a higher total amount of interest.


Variable rate loans have an interest rate that changes with fluctuations in the market. In general, variable rate loans tend to have lower overall interest rates than fixed loans, but the initial monthly payments are higher than with fixed rate.

Flat 35

A Flat 35 loan is a fixed interest rate loan over a set duration of 35 years. The lender Japan Housing Finance Agency (JHF) is a government affiliated institution that aims to provide loans at very reasonable conditions by purchasing fixed rate mortgages from private lenders and packaging them as mortgage-backed securities.
Loan Calculator

Take advantage of our Loan Calculator tool to easily determine your financial options.

Loan Calculator

Step 3

Contract Signing

Review important contract conditions and prepare necessary documents. Then confirm all information is factual and settle payments to receive keys.

Before signing the contract, our team will review all important contract conditions with you. Included with the contract is the “Explanation of Important Matters” document, which includes details such as: payment method, contract dates, rights of the various parties involved, the infrastructure of the property, building management, and penalties for contract violations.

Contract Signing

At the time of signing the contract, the following documents are necessary:

  • Valid Personal Identification Document (Passport, etc.)
  • Registered Seal
  • Deposit (Usually 5-10% of the sales price of the property)
  • Revenue Stamp Fee (See Stamp Duty Chart)
Property Purchase Price Stamp Duty
5 - 10 million yen 5,000 yen
10 - 50 million yen 10,000 yen
50 - 100 million yen 30,000 yen
100 - 500 million yen 60,000 yen


The deposit at contract signing is non-refundable, except when applying by loan. If your loan application is rejected by the bank, then your deposit and offer will be withdrawn, and you are not liable for any fees or charges. However, if you are paying by cash and decide to cancel, your deposit will not be refunded.

On the other hand, if the seller decides that they want to cancel, you will be refunded two times the deposit amount. The window of time in which the seller is able to cancel is negotiable and will be written in the contract. If the seller must cancel after this date, first the buyer’s deposit will be refunded and a compensation fee equal to a percentage of the value of the property will be paid to the buyer. This fee is written in the contract and is generally 10~20 %.


Before finalizing the deal, the buyer and seller confirm that everything in the contract is factual and honest. The seller must confirm that the state of the property is exactly as is listed in the contract. This includes damages, available facilities, dates of renovations, etc. If any of this information is found to be false after the contract is signed, the law allows for negotiation on the price of the deal or for appropriate compensation.

Once confirmations are made, payment for the remaining cost of the property sales price is made to the seller. This is usually done by bank transfer. A receipt will be issued to you from the seller when transaction is confirmed.

Examples of closing costs

  • Real Estate Agent Fee
  • Property Tax, City Planning Tax, and Management Fees
  • Registration Expenses
  • Judicial Scrivener Fee (Fee charged by an attorney who oversees the transfer of ownership from seller to buyer)

Once these expenses are paid in full, the seller will deliver the keys and all documents related to the property. Congrats on your new property!

Why choose Apts.jp? – Our support doesn’t stop at contract signing. We support your move-in as well, with utilities set-up, guidance for phone/internet services, and providing English support with any problems you may encounter.

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