How to Build a Home in Japan

  • Advice

Find the land

The first thing you have to do when building a house is to have somewhere to construct it. Luckily there are thousands of plots of land up for grabs around Japan.

It can be difficult and often more expensive to buy an empty plot of land in desirable locations. Buying an old or dilapidated house then demolishing to make room for your new building is standard practice. Many owners or local governments are eager to get rid of these eyesores and sell them off cheap enough to make up for the added cost of the demolition, though it does require more effort on your part. 

Another option is to go into a long-term ground lease with a landowner. In this scenario, you don’t buy the land but rent it, though you would own anything you built on the land. This is an excellent short cut to buying a plot of land and is seen as a more affordable option for those with a smaller budget.

Prepare the land

Ideally, you will purchase land that has already been prepared for construction, known as kenchikujoukentsuki tochi (建築条件付土地). The downside of these plots is that the company that prepped the land for you may have requirements of what type of home can be built on it, giving you less freedom to design your dream house.

If you go another way and dismantle an old house or find a plot of land that has not been prepared, you will have to get a land surveyor and inform the local authority of your plans before you can move forward. 

House design

This is the really fun part. Once you’ve picked the perfect location, you need to design the perfect house. Not all of us are capable of building a home with our own two hands, so now is the time to bring in some professional help.

You could contact an architecture firm that will give you a more personalized experience. If you’ve got the money, you can make your house any way you want it. 

For those who have less specific ideas, you might want to get in touch with a general contractor who can give you a realistic estimate of what kind of house would fit your plot of land. 

The cheapest and easiest option is usually to go with a big developer. These construction companies build houses up and down Japan and often have set designs that you can choose from. Your house won’t be unique, but it will be tried and tested—a brand-new luxury home just for you. 

Things to look out for 

You will, off course, have to follow various rules and regulations when constructing a new building. Zoning regulations and laws against building in non-urbanized areas have stopped many from building their dream home in Japan. You will need to sit down with a professional and discuss the laws in your ward before you set your heart on a specific design. 

Make sure you’ve got enough money

Building a house is an expensive task to undertake. Not only will you have to pay everyone involved, but you’ll also have to live somewhere while the house is being constructed and be prepared for possible setbacks. Construction jobs rarely go off without a hitch. 

It is also important to note that loans to build a new house can only be applied for once you know the exact cost of the process. Most banks in Japan will not give out a loan before the home is completed. 

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Sources: Real Estate Japan 

About the author:

Alfie Blincowe is a writer from England who fell in love with Southern Japan. 
You can read more of his articles about the country here: https://alfieblincowe.wordpress.com/