Frequently Asked Questions
Why aren’t there any internal photos of properties?
There are actually a few listings which do have internal photos – however, Japan’s rental lease law is highly tenant-oriented. One of the implications is that no one, including the owners and property managers, is allowed to enter properties while tenanted. As a result, and since we normally recommend properties that are already tenanted, there are rarely any up-to-date internal photos available for viewing before, during or even after the purchase.
While this may seem daunting, the reality is that the Japanese are, without a doubt, the world’s best tenants – they are quiet, respectful, polite, are rarely late or miss out on their rent payment, and would on no occasion trash or damage an apartment (save for normal wear and tear, accidental damage, etc).
To further mitigate this issue, NTI demands and receives a complete repairs and complaints history for every unit sourced, prior to purchase, to ensure that any issues, if such exist, have been fully addressed and resolved. We also attempt to insert a “seller’s responsibility” clause to all purchase contracts (although this may not always be possible).
Even if intentional or serious damages were to occur – something which hasn’t happened to any of our clients to date – a complete internal renovation of a typical NTI sourced unit (usually 15-35 sqm in size) – including fixtures, floorings, wallpapers, painting and deep clean etc – is usually around the $2,000 mark – hardly a case of total loss – and as mentioned, we haven’t had to order one yet.
Do I have to go to Japan?
No – although we highly recommend visiting at least once, before or after your purchase/s, to familiarize yourself with Japan generally, and with the area/s in which you purchase specifically (contact us to arrange an investors’ tour).
NTI represents you, the investor, through the use of a limited power of attorney document and services agreement. The combination of these two documents (signed and witnessed before a valid authority, with supporting identification documents attached), enables us to represent you in all dealings with Japanese entities in Japan, and also enshrines our obligations to you, as well as your rights.
How come prices are so low / returns so high?
While this may seem “too good to be true”, not all property investments available for purchase in Japan are that attractive – the ones that we list and source are the result of extensive experience, local knowledge and research, thorough due diligence, and closely nurtured relationships with leading realtors in the areas that we deal in (to find out more about the areas we recommend at this time and why, see “Financial Data“). And the best part is – there’s usually still room for further negotiation!
One of the other main factors which account for this affordability and high return, is the fact that NTI specializes in the “opening up” of yet-untapped, promising alternative metropolitan centres in Japan to the foreign investor – areas where the market is highly localized, and of which most foreigners, particularly non-Asians, are not aware.
While this means that we work with realtors who use “old-school” means, such as low quality mobile-phone type photos, pencilled floorplans taped to shop windows, etc – it also means that prices are still very far from their foreign-influenced counterparts in more familiar Japanese cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and popular holiday spots like Hokkaido. And these aren’t little villages and country towns we’re talking about either – (Fukuoka city, for example, boasts a population of close to 1.5 million people!) – simply areas that are all but unknown to foreigners and, as a result, are still highly localized, both in price and in practice.
Locals in these areas are less inclined to do business with foreigners, and do not speak English as a rule – NTI fills this gap, however, by providing them with a Japanese entity to deal with, while at the same time providing you, the investor, with a single, English-speaking point of contact for all your property purchase, management and sale requirements.
How do I get my money back home?
You can -
1) Open a Japanese bank account – to do this you would need to visit Japan on a non-visitor visa (contact your local Japanese embassy to enquire about a business/investors visa, which may or may not be available, depending on your country of origin), obtain a verifiable Japanese address, and register your residency at the corresponding local municipality. Armed with your registration certificate, you’ll then need to attend a local bank (Tokyo branches of the “big five” Japanese banks are the preferred option), and do your best to convince the appropriate person to allow you to open an account.
This is not a simple, straight-forward procedure, and isn’t always successful – while we can and will assist you in this process if you so wish, we cannot guarantee success.
This is why the vast majority of our clients choose to go with option no. 2, below -
2) NTI can and will facilitate, at no additional fee, complete financial services through our corporate bank accounts in Japan – we will collect your rent from the property management firm, hold it for you until a sufficient amount to profitably justify a transfer is accumulated, and then transfer it to your nominated offshore bank account (transfer fees apply).
These transfers carry a much more attractive exchange rate than that available through normal banking, conducted through our foreign exchange suppliers. We will also advise you on profitable exchange rate trends, discounted withdrawals achieved through conducting electronic wire transfers for several clients simultaneously – or we could alternatively utilize your collected funds in any other way you instruct us to, such as further purchases, insurance policy purchases, advance payment of housing company fees (eq. of body corp or HOA), etc – all of the above aimed at further minimizing your expenses, and maximizing your profits.
This service comes with a live balance sheet, updated automatically, with all incomings or outgoings fully documented, and provided to you on a regular basis.
To set your mind at ease regarding our reliability and professionalism in managing your investment portfolio and funds, please feel free to request our credibility pack, consisting of letters from our legal and financial representatives in both Japan and Australia – these are registered and renown lawyers, accountants and judicial scriveners, whose livelihood and reputation depends on associating themselves with reputable companies only – and NTI is one of the more reputable companies around.
Ask away – we pride ourselves on providing complete transparency to our clients at all times, “bombarding” them with all and any information until they are completely satisfied and comfortable with our principals, staff and services – whether prior to, during or after any dealings with our company – this is what enables us to stay on top of our market, provide cutting edge services, and maintain the stellar reputation we hold.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you in person, and serving you at the highest professional standards.