October 30, 2020
③ Key points for property search

Key points for property search

This website lists at least 4,000 real estate properties, updated daily with information mostly on properties located in central Tokyo. Do you know that there are special tips on how to find an excellent property, just the right one for your purpose, from a vast amount of properties? You might find two properties similar in details, but they can prove to be quite different in terms of “asset value” and “how comfortable to live in.” On this website, you can browse our list of properties that also shows where they are located on a map, which means you can check property details and locations at the same time!

 

―Condominiums―

For those who want to buy a condominium for an investment purpose, is it the yield rate that matters the most? Of course, the higher the yield, the better. But be careful with the coupon yield, which is usually calculated on the assumption of “full occupancy” and does not include the expenses necessary for maintenance. This considered, even when the property is expected to have a high yield by calculation, we cannot rule out the tragic possibility that, after the investment is actually started, unexpected expenses become so large that the yield turns out to be extremely limited. Whatever the case may be, the key here is how to minimize the amount of unexpected expenses after the actual launch of investments. The amount of the expenses will largely depend on whether the property provides an environment which the tenant chooses to enjoy over a long period. In this sense, you are required to look at a property through the eyes of a person to live in it.
Below, we would like to share with you our key points that will safely lead you to the right choice of condominiums.

  • Is the nearest station convenient for transportation? (* Several stations are located near this station, several railway lines stop at this station, this station is a terminal for arrival and departure of expressway buses, etc.)

  • Does the distance to the nearest station represent a realistic number of minutes of walk? (* When tenants search a property for rent, they normally filter properties by the categories of within 10 minutes, within 7 minutes, or within 5 minutes.)

  • Is it involved in any redevelopment plan? Are there a certain number of commercial facilities or shopping arcades around the nearest station?

  • Is it a property/area that has a specific target population for renting?
    (* In areas where the population size of people seeking properties for rent is small, we need to struggle just to shorten the vacant period, and needless to say, to find the right rent amount and tenant.)

  • Is it possible to confirm in some way the earthquake resistance of the property, irrespective of its property age? Or is its property age applicable to the new earthquake resistance standard (around 1984 onward)?
    (* This mainly affects the asset liquidity.)

  • Does it have a large-scale repair plan, or can you confirm that a large-scale repair has been previously performed?

  • Is the condominium managed with great care?
    (* Residents’ impressions are affected by conditions such as whether the entrance is clean and how the mailboxes, garbage dumps, and surroundings of the site are managed.)

  • Is the repair reserve accumulated (collected from each unit) almost as planned?
    (* It is physically “feasible” upon arrival of the planned timing or has been “completed” in the past.)

  • Can you confirm a plan for accumulating management fee/repair reserve
    (whether there are changes in amounts or lump sum payments)

  • Did the property sell slowly when it was newly built in comparison with other neighboring condominiums for sale over the same period?
    (* In some cases, it becomes more difficult for the property selling slowly when newly built compared with other neighboring condominiums to have liquidity after the elapse of years.)

  • Do the room layout and equipment items suit the latest lifestyle?
    (* If they are too old-fashioned, a tenant may not be found or repair costs may become too high.)

  • Do the condominium management rules include restrictions on reforms or renovations?
    (* If renovations are not allowed as intended, the property may become a negative legacy)

  • In the case of purchasing a second-hand property that has a built-in home electric appliance originally installed at the time it was newly built and sold, is a replacement appliance with the right size for replacing the original one still available? How about the price for such replacement?
    (* Although it depends on the size in cases such as built-in drum-type washing machines, appliances are installed to fit into the counter, etc. when the condominium is newly built and sold. Therefore, appliances with the same format may no longer be available and alternative appliances may cost much more than expected.)


When you want to buy a condominium for a residential purpose, your target property will largely depend on the length of the period you plan to reside and with whom to reside. You have decided to buy a property instead of renting one, so you will need to consider not only the comfort it offers you, but also the safety and asset value in the case of emergency.
Below is a checklist for choosing a condominium for a residence purpose. The property need not meet all requirements, but we advise you to understand the key points you should check.

  • Do the noises of the trains, cars, and busy streets disturb you?
    (* If the property is located too close to stations or airports, or right in front of a highway, you need to be careful of what you are sacrificing for the convenience you enjoy.)

  • Do you fully understand the risks that may affect the living environment, such as salt pollution caused by sea winds, strong winds blowing through tall buildings, and unusual smell from surrounding facilities?

  • Did you check hazard maps, etc. for water damages, floods, tidal waves (tsunamis), etc. that are published by the administration?

  • Are a sufficient number of people walking and street lights lighted during the night between the nearest station and the property?

  • Will you need to pass steep slopes and/or stairs due to the location?
    (* This kind of location has unexpected, hidden risks that can occur in the event of heavy rain or snow, disasters, or emergencies)

  • Does the front road of the condominium have enough width?
    (* There are many roads that are not wide enough for other cars to pass when only one taxi, fire engine, or ambulance is parked.)

  • Are the residents of the condominium the kind of people you can blend in with?
    (* The family structure and differences in time schedules of other residents may lead to your discomfort in living in the condominium.)

  • When you have children (or might have children in the future), have you checked the school district and the potential dangers of the routes to schools.

  • Are the seller and construction company credible?
    (* When they are major groups, problems seldomly occur, but when they are middle- or small-sized companies, it is important to check whether they have extremely bad reputations, or whether they have previously received administrative punishment for malicious acts, etc.)

  • Do the management company and system convey safety.
    (* Condominiums largely differ in whether they have a concierge, whether the concierge is open for 24 hours or during daytime hours, or whether only cleaning services are available.)

  • Do you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the total number of units comprising the condominium?
    (*You had better check the resolutions concerning the whole condominium and the ratio of cost sharing, and whether second hand properties are subject to conditions that hinder the use of housing loans.)

  • Does the property ensure safety mainly through its earthquake resistance, energy storage facilities to be used in the event of power failures, periodic inspections of elevators?

  • Does the price of the property fit your living standard?
    (* In addition to loan payments, payments of management fees, repair reserves, and other expenses will inevitably be required. Therefore, you should check beforehand not only the property price but also the total amount to be paid.)

  • When housing loans are used, is the property eligible for tax deductions, interest rate incentives, etc.?
    (* If the property is a certified excellent long-term housing or fulfills other standards, it may receive a certain level of incentive.)

  • Do you feel comfortable with the lump-sum payment for large-scale repair of the entire building to be incurred in the future, and the possibility and intended purpose of other expenses to be incurred?
    (* When the common use area has too many features, the amount of costs to manage and maintain the area might make you suffer later on…)

  • Does it give minimal consideration to security, such as using automatic locks and entrance door double locks, and tying up with major security companies?

  • Do the balcony boundaries with neighbors have specifications capable of keeping enough privacy?

  • Is there any possibility that the inside of the room is completely visible from the opposite building?

  • Have you considered the risk that a new high-rise building is built and the view from your window changes in the future?

  • Does the direction the room faces suit your lifestyle and comfort?
    (* Some people say south-facing properties are the best, while others say the sunshine is too strong in south-facing properties on upper floors. For those who need to wake up early, an east-facing property might be a perfect fit.)

  • For those who intend to buy a property on an upper floor, are you aware of the strong wind and difficulty in connecting to Wi-fi networks and radio waves that are usual for units on upper floors?

  • Does it have a structure that ensures noise barrier performances and freedom in reforming it, such as double floorings, double ceilings, and pair glass windows?

  • Can its room layout respond to changes in family patterns and lifestyles?

 

 

―Detached Houses―

In central Tokyo, condominiums account for a large percentage of properties to buy. Looking at areas a little further from the center, many people probably start thinking of buying detached houses. Many families with small children, in particular, say that detached houses are convenient because they don’t need to worry that the noise made by their children might disturb the people living downstairs. We know a lot of cases where families relocating together with their children due to a transfer are looking for detached houses to rent. Needs for detached houses exist for both residential and investment purposes. Since buyers have to manage the whole building at their own cost and handle security issues at their own responsibility, detached houses need to be checked from different points of view than those for condominiums. Please use the following list to check!

 

  • In the case of a second hand property, will the seller conduct a home inspection or does the buyer need to conduct one?
    (* If the property has a recent history of being inspected, a home inspection is not required to be conducted again.)

  • Are there structural concerns about the building, such as its earthquake resistance, termite control measures, and insulation property?
    (* For its earthquake resistance, you should check if a building certification application was submitted when the property was newly built or on or after June 1, 2000, when the Building Standards Act was revised, or if a building earthquake resistance classification has been acquired. Even if the building is old, you are best advised to check if a construction to reinforce its earthquake resistance has been conducted and eventually a certificate has been issued.)

  • Are the seller and construction company credible? In the case of a major housing manufacturer, is the property still eligible for after-sales services?

  • Are there any hidden defects, such as objects buried under the ground?

  • Is the border line with the neighboring land clearly defined?
    (* When the border line is vague, in the cases of damaged border blocks or reconstructions, you might get into money trouble with your neighbor.)

  • For the reconstruction to be conducted in the future, have you checked the building restrictions in terms of use districts and road connections?
    (* There might be houses that do not conform to present building standards and therefore cannot be constructed, and standards for reconstructions might be too strict to construct a building as you wish.)

  • Do you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the direction that the house faces?
    (* Measures against humidity are vital for rooms on the first floor of wooden houses that do not get sunlight. You should also consider the fact that the temperature of rooms on the first floor tend to differ from that of rooms on the second floor or above.)

  • When the site is a flag-shaped land, have you done simulations for how to deliver luggage and for reconstructions?
    (* Detached houses on a flag-shaped land barely meet the present building standards by fulfilling the obligation that the building must not directly face a road and only a part of the building site has an access at least 2 meters wide to a road.)

  • Is the property located in an area that falls under a hazard zone for water damages such as floods, landslides, or tidal waves (tsunamis)?
    (If it does, you should check the evacuation shelter you will need to use in the event of an emergency and your fire insurance and other insurance premiums.)

  • When you have a car, is there any road that is too narrow for the car to pass in the area surrounding the house? (* This will decide the outcome in case of emergencies!)

  • Will you need to pass steep slopes and/or stairs due to the location?
    (* This kind of location has unexpected, hidden risks that can occur in the event of heavy rain or snow, disasters, or emergencies.)

  • Do you fully understand the risks that may affect the living environment, such as salt pollution caused by sea winds, strong winds blowing through tall buildings, and unusual smell from surrounding facilities?
    (* In the neighborhood, are there any sewage plants, grave yards, rust in metal products placed outside due to salt pollution caused by sea winds, corroded plants, etc.?)

  • Are a sufficient number of people walking and street lights lighted during the night between the nearest station and the property?

  • When the front road includes a private road, do you understand the difference between private roads and public roads?
    (* A private road differs from a public road, which is repaired by the administration, and basically needs to be repaired at your own expense in the event of disasters and damages. You might also need to negotiate matters such as sharing burdens according to specific ratios with neighborhood residents.)

  • Does the price of the property fit your living standard? Do you understand the repairing cycle and rough figures of the repairment fee for the exterior walls and roof, which you will pay in the future?

  • When housing loans are used, is the property eligible for tax deductions, interest rate incentives, etc.? (* There are various standards, such as whether it is energy-saving.)

  • Are there any issues that may damage the safety and asset value of the property after move-in, such as neighborhood troubles, wild animals residing a “garbage house” near the property, and unusual odor from such house?

  • Do you have some understanding of the community of the area in which the property is located, such as the obligation to join the residents’ association and pay its membership fee, and regional events?