We don’t need to tell you about the brilliance of Japan quality: detailed, good service and competitive price etc etc. But for how good Japan quality in general is, it’s equally easy to screw up. Badly.
Japan’s real estate industry and construction industry are full of fraudulent companies.
A number of them are rogue (of course, there are good and trustworthy companies, too.)
You need to be very careful to deal with them.
When you build your brand-new house in Japan, you must be extra mindful because it could be a disaster if it goes wrong.
It is widely known to the industry professionals that the laws are not necessarily protecting the consumers
Why is the owner (consumer) in so disadvantageous position ?
There are five main reasons.
1.The industry is not seeking a repeat business so they don’t look after customers well
2. High overhead cost
3. The related laws have many loopholes
4. The owner(customer) trusts the contractor (real estate agents and builders included) too much
5. Victim’s tragic stories are not widely reported in the media.
In today’s uncertain economy, dynamic growth potential with low risk is tempting.
Real estate companies are constantly manufacturing the opportunities to captivate the naive investors.
Kabocha no Basha was one of them.
Suruga Bank Scandal background
Japan’s Financial Services Agency has launched an emergency inspection into Suruga Bank over investment irregularities involving women-only shared houses.
Suruga Bank extended over 100 billion yen ($915 million) in loans to about 700 people, mainly middle-aged salaried workers, to invest in Kabocha no Basha — or “Pumpkin Carriage” ; women-only shared houses operated by Smart Days.
Tokyo-based Smart Days also worked as a middle man between Suruga and investors and solicited investment from salaried workers, pledging to pay them rents for 30 years.
But Smart Days struggled with low occupancy rates and stopped paying the rents to owners they promised in January 2018.
Smart Days filed for bankruptcy in April 2018.
(kominka in snow)
* Foreigners can buy a property in Japan without having special qualification.
Do you want to be close to beautiful Japanese mountain with your pet ? Or you love skiing ? Want to spend your weekend in real Zen（禅） surroundings with onsen(hot spring 温泉) within 15 mins drive ? Living in kominka could be a good choice.
The term kominka （古民家）refers to traditional Japanese houses, especially ones built a long time ago.
Kominka are not defined by the period they were built or how old they are, but usually the term is used when referring to houses built before the World War II, and especially to those built before the Taisho Period.
We have recently made the strategic collaboration agreement with a renowned kominka renovation specialist(工務店) in Nagano prefecture.We will find an appropriate kominka for the investors or conventional home buyers and renovate outside and inside the house into the pristine condition. We have a list of 100+ kominka properties for sale/rental.
If you want to buy kominka, it is essential to pay attention to what you are doing as you purchase a very unique Japanese traditional house. You want to get this right.
While inspecting any property is important, it becomes even more uppermost to check for defects found in second-hand property especially akiya (空き家abandoned houses)
In Japan’s real estate industry, it is generally assumed that there are four types of risks of ‘defects’ （瑕疵）the industry professionals usually recognize.
They are physical defects, psychological defects, environmental defects
and legal defect (issues).
1. What is a physical defect?
Physical flaws are situations where the building leaks, termites occur, and the earthquake resistant strength is insufficient.
Some common physical issues
For example, with 8 million akiya (Abandoned house, 空き家),
old houses are usually very affordable in Japan these days. However, those old houses could also come with a lot of issues that you may not be prepared for.
What seems like a great deal at first may ultimately cost much more than you originally thought.
It is always recommended to do your research before investing in real estate, particularly when the property in question is old property.
The following checklist will give you an idea of what issues to watch out for when buying a second-hand property especially an older home.
Due diligence always pays off.
You want to avoid common physical defects, problems with the construction structure.
As the book ‘Freakonomics’ (2005 by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.) describes
“information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent―all depending on who wields it and how.
It is common for one party to a transaction to have better information than another party.
In the parlance of economists, such a case is known as an information asymmetry.
If you were to assume that many experts use their information to your detriment, you’d be right.
Experts depend on the fact that you don’t have the information they do.”
A real-estate agent may see you not so much as an ally but as a mark.”
Too fazing ?Read more
Just a quick breakthrough note :
Last week, we have managed to establish the strategic alliance with one of the prominent Japanese banks who can offer foreign nationals loan for the investment property in Japan.
There are three categories.
1. Foreign nationals who reside in Japan with the permanent residence
(Individuals who live in Japan without PR could be also eligible)
2. Foreign individuals who reside in Hong Hong (Hong Konger)
3. Foreign nationals who do not live in Japan.
Category 2 and 3 are the breakthrough products.
No Japanese banks have been willing to offer the loan for foreign nationals who do not live in Japan but the window has just opened.
Obviously there are certain conditions such as down payment and taking out the mortgage.
And the approval is subject to the value of the property and financial status of each investor.
In addition, you need to carefully select a property which the bank is likely to offer the loan by meeting their criteria.
Interest rate is attractive enough to create the good cap rate.
Japan’s interest rate is historically low due to the quantitive easing by the central bank.
Anyone who is in interested in such loan, please send us a direct message via
Real estate investing consultant and author.
Toshihiko is currently writing a book about the real estate investing in Japan
for foreign investors.
Founder of Yamamoto Property Advisory in Tokyo.
International property Investment consultant and licensed
real estate broker (Japan).
He serves the foreign companies and individuals to buy and sell
the real estates in Japan as well as own homes.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from
Osaka Prefecture University in Japan
and a MBA from Bond University in Australia
Pitfall of sub-leasing(sub-letting) real estate investment
High yielding, guaranteed rent（sub-leasing) should be too good to be true ?
Recently one of the scandals which rattled the industry is KABOCHA-NO-BASHA
(Pumpkin Carriage) problem.
The background of the scandal is as follows.
Investors were guaranteed a fixed monthly amount over an extended period if they invested money by contracting with a real estate company called Smart Days(Tokyo)
that used the funds to set up and manage share house facilities under sub-leasing agreement.
Since 2015, Smart Days, operator of women-only share houses called Kabocha no Basha (Pumpkin Carriage), has promoted high yield investments through the media and has mainly acquired customers of office workers. In the sub-leasing contract, rent payment collected through the sub-leasing is sought to pay back the debt for a long period plus small profit.
For example, suppose you borrow 100 million yen from a bank and the monthly repayment amount is 500,000 yen, if you earn rental income of 550,000 yen a month, it will generate 50,000 yen a month profit. This system is typical leveraging in the real estate investing and there is no red flag about it.
In an ideal setting, Smart days as the sub-leasing company would rent out rooms to tenants and bring in a steady and continuous supply of rent, a portion of which would go to the investors.The shared house with shared toilets and bathrooms is not as wide as 7 m² in living space, but the initial cost of moving in is kept low (so they say), and it was expected that more women moving into Tokyo from rural cities will choose to stay in these share houses.Smart days also promoted the business to support tenants finding a job (This is an alarming part)
The real estate trade can be stressful in any country.
The financial commitment is substantially large, the regulations and laws are complex
and the market risk is high. Average Japanese people share the same concern.
Another problem is a large part of consumers’ assumption that all estate agents, letting agents and
landlords are all regulated. In Japan, all the agents who actually arrange the real estate transactions
(including rental contract) must be licensed.
Engaging in the marketing activity to lure the investors without holding a license is against the
Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business Law. If your consultant or agent do not hold
the license, your contract is not completely protected by the said law.
It would be treated more under civil law. But if your broker is licensed, they are regulated by the government
and thus your contract is eligible for more protection under the conditions set forth by the said law.
Nonetheless, there are some rogue agents or consultants who are not licensed in Japan.
For example, such rogue agents put up advertisements for properties on which they have not been
instructed to promote in an attempt to get a cut of the fees.