05 Dec Testimonial: Matcha with Winnie
This week we met up with Winnie from Indonesia to talk about her experience apartment-hunting in Japan. After being offered a position in digital advertising at an agency in Tokyo, Winnie got in touch with Apts.jp to help her find her new home.
Hi Winnie! Thanks for meeting with us.
Let’s begin with what brought you to Japan.
Work is the main thing that brought me here. I have an interest in Japan (especially Tokyo), I received a job offer to work here so I came! I’ve been here for about one and a half months now.
What was your experience when apartment hunting?
I began looking for apartments about 3 months before I moved here. I started by researching how much it costs to rent a place and what areas of Tokyo are nice to live in. My office is in Ebisu so I looked up the best train lines to use to get there and how much apartments cost in that area.
Initially, I considered living in a share-house; but share-houses in Japan aren’t as relaxed as where I’m from. I knew it wouldn’t really suit my lifestyle and I also wanted more privacy, so that’s why I decided to find my own place.
I knew there could be a lot of costs when moving in Japan, like key money, paying a double-deposit and so on. That was a concern for me so I asked for real estate agent recommendations in a Facebook group for foreigners living in Japan. One of the answers was Apts.jp and I’m very thankful to whoever recommended them! I met with a couple of other agencies but they weren’t as accommodating and the houses they showed me didn’t live up to my expectations.
I feel really lucky to have found Apts.jp. My residential specialist was fluent in English and was very accommodating with all my requests. First, I wanted an apartment that was furnished. I didn’t want to pay any key money, and I’d only agree to pay one month’s deposit. Then, the apartment had to be on the Hibiya or JR Line, no more than two stops from Ebisu. They must have thought I was a pain! They were very patient and found apartments that suited me. I looked at about 4 or 5 places and then I found an apartment I liked in Shibuya.
Did you receive help with anything else?
They helped me with so many things! My apartment didn’t come with a washing machine so I let them know and they helped me order one. It’s second hand but it’s very good. I couldn’t be there when it was delivered because I had to go to work so they came and waited for the delivery man and even installed it for me!
They also helped me with setting up my internet by filling in the forms so all I had to do was sign. As with the washing machine, I wasn’t available when the internet guy was scheduled to come, so the people at Apts.jp waited on my behalf and got it all set up. They also helped me transport all my things from my old place to my new place. I’m like, “Why are you so kind? I’m so demanding!”
One more thing, I really appreciated that they were flexible with the payment schedule. I only had enough savings to cover the upfront payment so they let me pay the agency fee the month after.
Why did you choose to live in this area, apart from it being close to work?
I really did my research before coming to Japan because I wanted to get the most out of my time here, and Shibuya suited my personality. Before I found an apartment I lived in a serviced apartment in an area called Roppongi, which seemed kind of dodgy to me. Shibuya isn’t like that at all. It can be both crowded and quiet at the same time, and it’s very convenient. If you don’t have anything to do you can just walk around and suddenly you’ll find something. I also like living in a “neighborhood area” that’s still close to the center of the city.
Another reason was that of my friends. Visiting Japan is really popular with Indonesians these days so I wanted an apartment where I could have guests stay. My new apartment has a guest room and Shibuya station is easy for them to access.
What are your favorite things about your new apartment?
I really like that it’s only a 6 minute walk to the JR train station and 10 minutes walk to Daikanyama. At first, I wanted an apartment in Daikanyama but it wasn’t possible with my budget. However, even though my budget was ¥120,000, Apts.jp were still able to find me a furnished apartment in Shibuya that’s close to the station and even has a guest room.
Have you bought anything special for your new home?
The only thing I had to buy was a washing machine. Not only is it furnished, I also don’t need to decorate because it came with some decorations such as flowers on the wall. It’s great because I don’t have to worry about how to make my house look good, it’s already done for me!
What is your advice to people searching for an apartment in Japan?
First, contact Apts.jp! 😉 Secondly, try to narrow down a few areas and decide what you’re prepared to sacrifice. There are three main things when looking for an apartment in Japan; Size, price, and distance from the station — and you can only have two.
That means if you want to live near the station but also have cheap rent then you’ll have a small apartment. If you want a big apartment but you want it cheap, then you have to live far from the station. You can’t have everything so figure out your budget, decide on how far you’re willing to walk to the nearest station, and know whether or not you want somewhere big or small. For me, I prioritized living centrally and near my workplace over having a bigger house.
Finally, before you come to Japan, make sure you prepare for the initial upfront cost of renting an apartment. It’s super painful! And make sure you find a real estate company that is accommodating to your needs.
Thank you, Winnie!
We hope you enjoy living in your new home.
Are you looking to rent in Tokyo but having trouble with Japanese real estate agencies?
Apts.jp can help!
Send us your criteria and one of our Residential Specialists will contact you with the properties we have available.