So You Want to Renovate Your Property in Japan? Here's Everything You Need to Know!

  • Advice

Before and After Home Japanimage: Yamamto Property Advisory

So you just purchased your dream "fixer-upper" home in Japan, now what? How can you as a foreigner renovate a pre-owned property in Japan?

The renovation process is actually the same for both Japanese and foreigners. Let's take a look at some of the steps involved in the renovation process.

Why should you renovate your property?

You can increase the number of prospective tenants for your property through renovation. Bear in mind that although you may spend effort making a room look nice, this may not guarantee you will secure a tenant. It is important to keep in mind that people choose the room that best suits their lifestyle. It is best to renovate your property to appropriately meet the prospective tenants’ needs.

Here are some examples of tenants and suitable living spaces:

tenants and suitable room size

Note that the demand for 3LDK and 4LDK layouts are decreasing due to the declining population and low birth rates. However, these layouts are popular choices for those seeking shared living spaces such as a "Share House".

Is renovation allowed at your property?

If your property is located in a condominium or apartment building, please check with your management association to see if the renovation is allowed.

You need to refer to management association by law which is a rule that the management company of condominiums prescribes because there are some cases in which you cannot change the communal areas and room arrangement. If you receive approval to proceed with the renovation then several companies offer re-modeling services to foreigners living in Japan. If you need help you can also try contacting your local real estate agent who may give you a list of preferred companies.

How much should you budget for the renovation?

Before and After Property Renovation in Japanimage: Katitas Co., Ltd.

Consult a real estate company and roughly configure the costs for renovation. If you renovate for "earthquake resistance, barrier-free, or energy-saving facilities" you may be eligible for a municipality tax reduction.

How to choose the right renovation company?

As mentioned above, generally, people ask more than one renovation company to give them a written estimate and proposal. Then they select the best company that can meet their needs closest. After deciding which company to go with you would then need to make a contract with the company. Before closing a contract, you and the renovation company should decide the scope of the renovation and be given a detailed cost estimate. Be sure to get a written contract and do not accept any verbal agreements.

Once you have started to renovate a room (or rooms) of the condominium, make sure you have received permission from the condo association board to use the parking lot and elevator to transport materials. During the renovation, you should make sure the work is done properly and document in writing if you make any changes to the plan. Do not forget to apologize to neighbors for the noise. If you are renovating your single-family detached house then you don't have to worry about any of the other steps, except apologizing to the neighbors!

Home renovation Japanimage: remodelista

After the renovation, make sure you conduct an inspection of the completed work and make sure there are no flaws. If you are satisfied with the work then next, pay for the renovation cost along with a commission fee, stamp duty, and insurance fee.

If you intend to renovate after you purchase a property, you should start thinking about the renovation process while you are looking at houses, your realtor can help you out with this! 

Last but not least, you should avoid expensive mistakes like, using materials that are not the standard size, a renovation job that requires many specialized companies or complex work.

Hopefully, now you feel a little more confident in re-modeling your home in Japan.

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a viewing, please feel free to contact us!

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