We did it, we bought a house in Japan!
Several weeks passed already since we signed the deed. In fact, it is after we missed what we thought was the house of our dreams, that we found this wonderful house:
And now, I would say we are happy to have “missed” the previous one, because this one is much better. It is a large house (140m2) on a beautiful parcel (240m2), with a little garden South. The house is already twenty years old, but it is in concrete with light steal structure, and it was built by a famous company (Sekisui House, 積水ハウス). Built during the economic “bubble” in Japan, its owner did not hesitate to pay the price and carefully chose every material. Great, really.
The neighborhood is also perfect: in an old “bunjôchi” (分譲地, that is, a residential area divided in similar parcels, quite spacious, at some point in time). It is very quiet, with woods nearby. What else could we ask for?
And when I think about it, I think it is by taking the time to visit many houses, and to compare them, that little by little, we discovered what we wanted. A house is something very personal: what I like, you may not necessarily like it. In our case, we realized what was important for us: a large house, a residential area (the neighborhood is almost as important as the house itself) and quiet, a strong construction, a house having its own caracter, something unusual. And we also found what was not so important for us: the distance from the station (we have a 15min bus ride to the station), newness (we actually didn’t want of a new house), services (eg: concierge) which you get in big buildings, nor even the distance from the center of Tokyo (although, all in all, it takes no more than 45 min by express train).
Once we found what we wanted, we had to hurry up: place an offer, and kick off loan requests to the banks. It is relatively difficult for a foreigner to get a morgage in Japan without having the permanent residence permit (eijuuken, 永住権) but it is not impossible. Large banks will generally request to fulfill the following conditions: have a rolling contract in a medium-size company, have cash corresponding to at least 20% of the total amount of the transaction, and having initiated the process to obtain the permanent resident permit in Japan (funny detail: it is enough to have submitted the file, but it is not necessary that the request be accepted, which is good because the processing usually takes a long time).
Then, less than two months later, we were in our new house. Everything went well because with the birth of our second daughter, we really started feeling a bit cramped in the appartment we occupied at that time.
To conclude, I’d say what I learned is to be patient and persevere to get what I really want.