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Buying Land and Building

Japan With Kids - Forums: Shopping in Japan: Real-estate, Purchase/Rental: Buying Land and Building
By Emi on Monday, November 8, 1999 - 12:17 am:

We are thinking of buying some land and building a house. We just started looking at model homes and we are overwhelmed with the choices. Do those of you who have bought land and built a house have any advice for us? Or any gripes about the company that built your house? Can anyone out there recommend their builder?

We really liked the "Genius" model house in Komazawa Koen Housing Gallery that was built by Misawa. But we have heard conflicting reports about Misawa from friends.

Please share your happy / horror stories! Remember you can post anonymously, too!

By Anonymous on Monday, November 8, 1999 - 2:59 pm:

In November of 1998 we purchased land and had a home built. Drawing from our experience and the numerous conversations that I have had with others, I would advise that you be very careful and take things slow. Please remember that homes are being built daily here in Tokyo so there really should be no rush. If someone purchases your gdreamh today, another gdreamh will most likely be available next month.

Once you find a site of interest, I strongly suggest that you ask the builder about everything (and to view as many photos as possible):

- Front door
- Genkan (Tile?, etc)
- Shoe Box in Genkan
- Doors inside the house
- Closet Doors
- Flooring (Type?/Colors?Thickness?)
- In-Floor Storage Areas
- Windows (Size?/Frosted or Not?/Single or Double Paned?/Bay Windows?
- Skylights
- Stairs (How steep will they be?/Will there be a handrail along the wall?)
- Attic (Height?)
- Bathroom Colors/Tiles/Cabinets/Sink/Tub/Shower/Mirrors/Ventilation System
- Toilet/Ventilation System
- Kitchen Colors/Tiles/Cabinets/Sink/Stove/Oven
- Wallpaper
- Indoor Lights (Plastic-Glass Covers?/Pull-string?)
- Balconies (Dimensions?/Materials?)
- Outside Siding/Tile/Colors
- Outside Gates/Fences/Concrete Walls/Tiles/Lights
- Mail Box/Intercom
- Car Space (Dimensions)

Other points to note:

- It is probably best to build in the winter months (November to February) because it is much drier.

- Try to receive a detailed presentation from the builder before putting any money down.

- Confirm the exact placing of outlets/phone jacks/TV jacks/light switches (Remember outlets for your refrigerator and air conditioners).

- Boundaries - are they on your land or on both your and your neighborfs land? If they are on both, they cannot be altered without your neighborfs permission.

- Land Use Regulations - can a taller building/karaoke box/pachinko parlor be built next door?

- Warranties/Guarantees on Building Materials and other (hot water heater, etc.)

- Width of space for refrigerator and washing machine/dryer?

- Will there be insulation under the first floor?

- Spraying for termites?

- About how much will annual property tax be?

- Fire/Earthquake Insurance (Try to insure only for the value of the house and not for the value of the land, which is usually about 70% of the value of your total investment)?

- Wait until you have lived in the house for a few months before entering into any formal contracts with your neighbors.

Good Luck!

By Natasha on Tuesday, June 25, 2002 - 9:45 am:

There is the Design Your Home Suite from Abracadata Software:, which includes architecture, landscape, interiors and costing. Basically a drag and drop type of software though the 3D ability is there but limited.

"A friend is going to build his home and wants to make some floor plans on his computer. Is there some architectural design software easier (and cheaper) to use than CAD?"

By Steve K on Wednesday, August 7, 2002 - 1:25 pm:

Can anyone recommend an architect or general contractor who can take charge of a complete home renovation?

By Scott Hancock on Wednesday, August 7, 2002 - 2:32 pm:

Steve, you might give a call to Sugano-san at The Design Studio ( ). Although they are more oriented to commercial work, they are easy to work with and very professional.

If you call him, you can mention I referred you.

Scott Hancock

By Steve K on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 11:34 am:

Someone recently sent me e-mail with housing loan questions. I thought I'd post his questions so that he might get answers much better than my answers.

> Some friends of mine and i are buying a house here
> in Tokyo, and I was
> wondering if you know anything about home
> inspections. In other words, did
> you have an independant person inspect your house
> before you bought it or
> did the bank? And how much did it cost? Do you have
> a contact number for
> someone?
> Also did you find out about the area you purchased a
> home in as far as
> future development plans? If so where did you go?

By Steve K on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 12:01 pm:

Oh yeah, my answer was as follows:

"I'll try my best to answer, but I'm not sure how much help I can be.

Most banks request a home inspection, but not all do, especially if the bank manager has a good relationship with the real estate agent. Banks are mainly interested in the value of a home (i.e., appraisal), not its shape, so I wouldn't trust their inspectors to tell you what you want to know.

I don't know any home inspectors, but you could look at:
As for cost, I don't know. I believe there's an association of home inspectors in Japan but am not sure about that.

To find out about planned developments in your area, go to your local ward office. You can also ask your real estate agent. Also, a publishing company is offering a Tokyo atlas showing expected developments in different areas of the city. It's quite popular, from what I hear.

The following link was posted by Cornelia, I believe:
Good luck with your loan application. I hope you have a good real estate agent who tries to get you the best deal in terms of interest rates. Once you're approved, the agent probably doesn't care how much interest you end up paying."

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