Investing in Okinawa Japan

7 Replies

Hello fellow investors,

The military threw me a curveball and it looks like I'll be stationed in Okinawa, Japan here in a few months. I already started investing in the States in New York City, Gulf Coast of Florida and Jacksonville, North Carolina. I never really expected to go to Japan for years so I am very interested in talking with people that have some experience. I feel like I am starting from scratch here and would love to hear some success or even horror stories of investing in Okinawa.

Look forward to hearing from everyone soon!

I have no input about investing in Okinawa. Just wanted to say enjoy it while you are there. It’s beautiful. I always felt like I was on vacation there.

Timothy, I would look into weather or not you are even going to be allowed to invest in oki. I know there are several things currently in place there that might affect your ability to invest in Japan. If you are unable to invest in Japan or even if you are, I would suggest talking to the people you work with in your current market.  You already have a good record with them and they would more than likely be willing to work with you while you are overseas.  Leveraging your already established relationships will be a safer and known way to continue to invest. 

Best of luck.


@Aaron Lee Thats a very good point. At this point, I'm just weighing out my options. My earliest thoughts are telling me it may not be a good idea but I am most definitely looking into all markets where I have boots on the ground. Thank you for the advice!

I am in Korea but do some long range investing because I'm in a similar boat as you.  Korea has a law that foreigners cant own property.  Or at least it used to be that way.  Not to mention, Korea is very very expensive (real-estate) and I would guess an area like Okinowa may be similar.    Long range investing is possible.  I am no guru.  I consider myself a rookie.  However, I did buy / sell 6 properties in 17 because I knew the area and the markets well and had no issue committing or networking to by and sell.  Fixing on the hand is a problem.  I often have to rely on folks off "google" which is not settling.  However, at times getting some progress, education etc is better than no progress at all.  It may cost a little more because of not being able to vet as good as I would if I were there.  If your already networked and familiar with your areas, continue to do what you were doing and more.  Some Title companies will do paperwork over computers and make long distance investing easy.  While some have not been willing to make it easy so I just went to others who did.  Some are stuck in a legacy process model.  In some cases, they were the same company (different county) but had very different policies on dealing with long distance buyers sellers.  Same with mortgage lenders. 

Smaller farm area, I have gotten better service.  Larger areas (more population and more transactions) there service was not as good or as adaptive to my needs.  

For rentals around an active vibrant military base, filling them will not be any harder than if you were there.  At least getting folks to be interested.  You still need to show the properties some how.  Since most folks search over the web these days,,,,long distance advertising is not an issue.  If you're more seasoned than I (most are), keeping pace on investing while overseas can maintain momentum.  But...if your not very familiar with your area or area markets you wan tot invest, you could be slowed down a little.  But it is not impossible!  If your not doing deals, focus on educating your self and networking.  I have met several people here I am considering buying their properties because they are not investors. They owned a home and got transferred and could not sell.  There are allot of folks like this.  Use your time in Japan to find them and solve their problems.  Good Luck     

@Timothy Casallas - I echo  @Kevin Allen , Okinawa is a great place.  There are some mixed sentiments regarding our presence there, but overall I think it's fantastic.

I do have some investments in Japan, in the Tokyo area.  Unlike what seems to be the case in Korea (according to @Jonathan White ) there are no limits on foreigners owning property in Japan.  In fact, Japan is often seen as a sort of 'safe haven' for property investors from other parts of Asia, where property ownership can be more limited.  

Others may disagree, but my initial reaction to your question is that investing in Okinawa would not make much sense because you'll likely be unable to take advantage of fundamental merit of real estate investing: leverage.  I don't think Japanese banks will lend to you since you won't have any official immigration status or documentable income from a Japanese tax perspective.  I also doubt that US lenders will lend to you for a property in Japan, where such lender is unfamiliar with security, etc.  I am unaware of an active hardmoney market here, but I suppose it could exist.  My question would be: if you can't borrow money, would you still want to invest in Japan?  Again, just surmising here, but I would think that you could better use your time and capital investing elsewhere.

Just my initial thoughts, but happy to discuss.

Thanks a lot for the responses @David Gotsill and @Jonathan White ! Turns out the military has changed its mind and is sending me to Yuma Arizona instead, so I am switching gears to that market! I Appreciate everyones input!

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