4-Step Guide to Buying Property in Japan for Foreigners: Own a House in Japan
It is not rare for one to move all the way to Japan for its unique and magnificent culture. However, due to the stressful process of buying a house, oftentimes people give up on that dream. Therefore, in order for more foreigners to live their dream life in Japan, this article will introduce a four step guide to buying property in Japan.
Can foreigners buy property in Japan?
Firstly, can a foreigner buy a house in Japan? In Japan, anyone can buy a house regardless of their citizenship, as long as they can afford it. However, it is strongly advised to go to Japan to view the property prior to purchasing, and finish the transaction.In addition, foreigners residing abroad must submit certain documents, thus prepare the following before leaving for Japan:
Items to Prepare
1. Document proving current address
For foreigners residing in Japan, prepare a Residence Certificate (住民票 juminhyo) which can be obtained from the local City Hall or Ward Office. The transaction fee is 450 yen.
For foreigners residing abroad, an Affidavit proving your current address will be the substitute for a Residence Certificate. The document can be obtained from a public office, and must be confirmed by a notary of the buyer’s country.
Make sure the passport has current address.
3. Registered Seal (実印 jitsuin) and Seal Registration Certificate (印鑑証明書 inkan-shomeisho)
A seal (印鑑 inkan) registered in a City Hall or other public offices is called a Jitsuin. For those residing in Japan, buy a seal in a seal store, have it registered, and obtain a Seal Registration Certificate from a local municipal office. For those residing abroad, as a seal cannot be registered without a Japanese address, prepare a Signature Certificate which can be obtained from a public office of the buyer’s country.
Fees for Buying Property in Japan
-Property Value-Stamp Duty (varies with the property value)
-Registry License Tax
-Property Tax and City Planning Tax
-Judicial Scrivener Fee
-Insurance Fees: Fire Insurance, Earthquake Insurance-Agent Fee-Real Estate Acquisition Tax (due approximately a year after purchase)
-If borrowing loan: Stamp Duty for Loan Agreement, Loan Transaction Fees, Loan Guarantee Fee
Step 1: Choosing of Property
For the first step, choose a property while consulting with a real estate agency.
Consultation with Real Estate Agency
Before choosing a property, consult with a real estate agency. As the relationship with them will be of importance in the upcoming procedures, choose an agency which is trustworthy. In addition, find out if they will suit your specific needs.
Based on your conditions and information, such as financial situation, the real estate agency will recommend a few properties
If you find a property you’re interested in among those suggested by the agency, schedule for a viewing. You will be able to see the property’s actual condition which cannot be conveyed through the Internet or word of mouth.
Check the property’s deterioration, distance and time until the nearest station, and the safety and noise of its surroundings.
Step 2: Application
After viewing and determining your desired property, send an application form to the property’s owner.
-Identity Document (Passport, Driver’s License, etc.)
1. Purchase Application Document (買付証明書 kaitsuke-shomeisho)
A Purchase Application Document includes information such as the property overview and the buyer’s conditions. It is sent to the property owner to convey your desire to buy the property. The document also includes specific information such as the buyer’s desired property price, deposit price, contract day, closing day, and utilization of home loan.
2. Apply for a Home Loan
If you are thinking of using home loan, submit a pre-application to a financial institution (e.g. bank). However, note that certain types of visas (i.e. Permanent Resident Visa, Work Visa, Spouse of a Japanese National Visa) are required in order to apply. For foreigners living abroad, check if a financial institution in your country grants loans for overseas properties.
If your desired property is popular, there will be a chance of lottery even with the submission of a Purchase Application Document. It is advised to sign the contract within a week after getting approved.
Step 3: Sign the Sales Agreement Contract (売買契約書 baibai-keiyakusho)
A Sales Agreement Contract is a document to prove the buyer and owner’s agreement to the property transaction and its conditions.
-Residence Certificate (if unobtainable, an Affidavit proving your current address) of everyone who will reside in the new property< br> -Document confirming income (Withholding Tax Statement, Tax Payment Certificate, etc.)
-Registered Seal and Seal Registration Certificate (if unobtainable, Signature Certificate)
-Identity Document (passport, driver’s license, etc.)
-Revenue Stamp Fee-Deposit
Contract Signing Process
1. Explanation of Important Matters
Before signing the contract, the real estate agency representative will explain important matters regarding the property and contract. The document will include information such as property overview, method payment, and procedure in the case of contract cancellation.
Once the buyer and owner are satisfied with the conditions, both parties will sign the contract.
2. Payment of Deposit (手付金 tetsukekin)
A deposit guarantees that the contract has been signed, and will be a part of the initial payment once the whole transaction is complete. On average, a deposit ranges from 10 to 20 percent of the property value. If your application for a home loan was denied, the deposit will be returned.
3. Payment of Stamp Duty
Stamp duty (印税 inzei) is a type of tax due when buying products of high value. It is necessary for products costing more than 50,000 yen, thus required when buying property.
Take note that the required stamp duty varies depending on the property value.
Step 4: Closing
Once the contract is signed, the transaction will proceed to the closing stage. On closing day, the buyer will meet with the owner, a real estate agency representative, and a Judicial Scrivener. They will sign necessary documents, and the buyer will pay the remaining fees. Afterwards, the buyer will receive the keys, and the transaction will be finished.
-Identity Document (passport, driver’s license)
-Seal registered at the bank
-Registered Seal and Seal Registration Certificate(if unobtainable, Signature Certificate)-Bank Passbook
1. Ownership Transfer
Under a Judicial Scrivener’s supervision, the property’s ownership transfer will be conducted. They will check if the necessary documents have been signed, and will register the property under the buyer’s name.
2. Payment of remaining fees
The remaining fee for the property will be paid for during this stage. If you are using loan, it will be sent to the buyer’s bank account, which should be then transferred to the owner’s.Other remaining fees will be paid as well, including Registry License Tax, Property Tax, City Planning Tax, Judicial Scrivener Fee, Insurance Fees (Fire Insurance and Earthquake Insurance) and Agent Fee.
3. Collection of Keys
Lastly, once all the fees have been paid, the buyer will receive warranty documents and manuals, and the key to the new house. This symbolizes the end of the transaction.
After purchasing, the buyer will need to pay Real Estate Acquisition Tax. Around 6 months to a year and a half after the transaction, a form will be sent by the government. Fill in the necessary information and pay the tax.
This article has introduced how to buy property in Japan for foreigners. Owning a house in a different country may be difficult, however, thorough preparation will make the process easier.