Buying Real Estate

There are several differences between purchasing real estate in the United States and purchasing real estate in Japan.

In the United States, all properties for sale are registered in the MLS (Multiple Listing System), managed by the real estate association. The listings in the MLS are automatically linked to several major real estate search websites, giving people the ability to search for a listing that matches their requirements from any place around the world.

When purchasing real estate in the United States, there are no fees for the buyer. The agent fee is typically paid by the seller to the listing broker who, in turn, shares part of it with the agent who brings a buyer to the table.

Once a transaction has been finalized between the buyer and the seller, the property goes into escrow, where a third party is hired to handle the property transaction, exchange of money and any related documents.

Our dedicated real estate agent will provide you with the support needed to allow you to choose an ideal property from a large list of available properties as well as negotiate the best deal. Our real estate agents bring extensive knowledge and experience in the industry to the table and are able to serve our clients at the highest level.

1. Consultation

Prior to selecting a property, our agent will work closely with you and recommend properties and ideal neighborhoods based on your budget and requirements.

2. Selecting a Property

Our agent will provide a list of properties from the MLS system that match your requirements.

3. Property Tours

We will schedule a tour of the property you are interested in and provide you with detailed information for the area as well as for the real estate market in that area.

4. Submitting an Offer

When submitting an offer to the seller, the buyer can include the price that they are willing to pay as well as other details that they would like to negotiate with the seller.

5. Financial Balance Certificate & Applying for a Loan

When an offer is submitted, the buyer will also be required to provide a proof of their financial balance (e.g. a bank statement). If applying for a mortgage loan to purchase the property, the buyer will be required to provide a loan pre-approval letter.

6. Finalizing the Sales Contract

Once both the buyer and seller agree to the conditions in the contract, the sales contract is finalized.

7. Opening an Escrow Account

An escrow account is set up with a third party that will handle related documents as well as hold money until the property is transferred to the buyer. By using an escrow account, the down payment paid by the buyer is managed by the third party in the escrow account. The full payment for the property is released to the seller only after the property is transferred to the buyer, giving the buyer some peace of mind.

8. Payment of Down Payment

The down payment is due when the contract is finalized.

9. Property Owner Name

The property owner name will need to be registered.

10. Property Inspection & Due Diligence

A property inspection is conducted by a home inspector. If the buyer is not satisfied with any of the results of the inspection, the buyer may cancel the contract. The home inspector will review the disclosure statements in which the seller indicated any repairs made to the property and review the registered owner name for the property. If the property is a single-family home, a land survey will be done and any existing building permits will be recorded. If the property is a condominium, condominium documents which include information about the operation status of the condominium will be reviewed and a termite inspection will be performed.

11. Final Inspection (3 to 5 days prior to property transfer)

Prior to the transfer of the property, a final inspection is done to confirm that all information regarding the property has been disclosed and to confirm that there are no defects or problems with the property.

12. Document Notarization

The documents need to be notarized for transfer of the property. Documents can be notarized in Japan, if needed. Around this time, the buyer can apply for home insurance, set up utilities such as electricity and internet, prepare to move their belongings and set up automatic payment for any property maintenance fees.

13. Payment of Remaining Balance

Payment will be made by the buyer for the remaining balance, which will also include the property registration fee.

14. Registration / Transfer of Property & Moving Preparations

Furniture can now be moved in. If an elevator is required to move furniture and other items into a condominium, the building must be notified prior to use. If the property is an investment property, take photos of the property and list the property for rent to look for a tenant. It is also strongly recommended that the locks are changed.