These tips may not be applicable to everyone, so it's important to conduct your own research (as we did). However, if I had known everything I know now when I started the process of purchasing a home, here are some key points I would have noted:
1. Non-Japanese residents may not qualify for a home loan. If you don't qualify, it's important to have a financial plan in place before proceeding. By "plan," I mean being prepared to make full payment before engaging with real estate agents.
2. Opening a Japanese bank account. Having a Japanese bank account greatly facilitates establishing trust and can simplify the payment process.
3. Investing in the ability to communicate effectively in Japanese is crucial. This can be achieved either by developing your own language skills or by hiring a translator. However, it's important to note that using another real estate agency for translation services can be considered taboo, as the first company typically has the right to collect agent fees. Therefore, exercise caution in this regard. The ability to communicate in a clear and appropriate manner is absolutely essential when purchasing a home.
4. Ensure that you come prepared with documentation confirming your residence, proof of address, marriage license, or any other relevant records.
5. When negotiating, it is advisable to approach the process gently and in a non-abrasive manner. For instance, if you are suggesting a price reduction, it should be accompanied by a valid reason. For example, you could say, "I really love this home, but the lack of parking and absence of nearby public parking might pose some difficulties for me. Do you think we could negotiate the price?"
6. Inquire about how utilities will be set up, how to schedule maintenance, the trash disposal schedule, and any other daily-life requirements that need to be addressed.
In conclusion, the process of purchasing a home in Japan has been a significant learning experience, one that I genuinely appreciated.