Any one from japan??please

18 Replies

I'm from Japan but currently in Portland, OR. 

Would love to connect with other Japanese investors/investors in Japan. 

I've been expanding my investor network here in Portland, OR. There is a strong Japanese business/investor presence in OR, I feel like.

Hey @Sujan Ghale - welcome to BP.  

Your introduction was a bit brief - where are you in your investment journey?  What are you hoping to do next?  What are you hoping to learn/glean from BP?  

I was in Tokyo for a bit and recently moved back to the US.  I'd be happy to share thoughts on investing in either of those places.  Where are you looking to invest?

In any event, I'd be happy to connect.

Hi @Miho Hatanaka - would also love to connect and learn about what you're doing in Portland.  I'll reach out to you on IM.



@Sujan Ghale there are BP meetups every month in Tokyo on the 3rd Thursday of each month. 
As @David Gotsill mentions, there is a group of us in Japan (or still here as David used to be here) and we are always happy to share our experiences. Happy to connect as well, but knowing a bit more about what you are looking for is useful. 

@David Gotsill currently I haven’t started any but planning to start it as fast as possible. So I am trying to find some friends or groups with same vision . I want to start it from Fukuoka prefecture where I spent my whole 6 years . I have many different experiences there and know that place really well. So that I can fix many problems which will occur starting real estate there rather than starting in Tokyo . I have been in Tokyo a few month before and starting in new place where I know nothing might be huge risk . Thank you for replying. Waiting for your reply

Hey @Sujan Ghale - I've heard that Fukuoka is a great market.  One of the few areas in Japan that is consistently experiencing population increases, I think, and a fantastic outlook for foreign tourism, particularly from China and Southeast Asia.

I'm tying to piece together what you're looking for, tell me if this sounds right.  You're trying to raise money (you're looking for an investor) to purchase property in Fukuoka, that you will then rent out and manage (you can fix problems that occur).  

Are you looking to borrow money from a bank?  Or instead looking to raise private money?  Do you intend to put in some of your own money (most investors would hesitate to invest with you if you didn't have some of your own money in the deal)?  Do you have an eye on any particular type of property in Fukuoka?  Starting with one apartment/condo or looking at a whole building?  Do you have connections for a real estate agent or broker there?  Taking a step back, do you speak Japanese?  The answers to these questions and others will inform what kind of guidance is best for you.

I think you'll find that the BP community is very supportive - I would suggest you take @Bruce Crawford 's advice and try to attend the BP meetups when you can.  

I'll tag a few more Japan-based investors, just to help you grow your network.

@Daniel Mills @Shu Matsuo Post @Matthew Pinkston

@David Gotsill thank you for you help. It’s true that you heard more from southeast foreigner are there. Aside from that Fukuoka is a beautiful place with beautiful lifestyle with beautiful natural scenery. One of the reason I want to start there is it’s still Fukuoka is still underdeveloped and prices of real estate are far cheaper than Tokyo . Many opportunities to build something new And the next good thing is you can make a cash flow same as Tokyo if you want as the rent are almost same as Chiba or Tokyo . To be truth I am looking for an investor and I do want to invest too. Moreover sure Bank loan is also needed because I am planning something vast something new . A new beginning .. hope I could meet good friends here so that we can do something new and good. And thank you very much for your good suggestions. I really appreciate it👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

A question to all, how is/was renting places in Japan as a foreign person? How did was your interaction with the landlord? 

 I hear Japanese landlords are not friendly to a foreigner. I had several friends from U.S. having trouble finding places to live in Japan. I was reading a blog about a girl from China trying to purchase an 8 unit in Saitama and she had a hard time purchasing the property. 

It really bugs me as a Japanese native, their small island mentality.. -_-  

@Sujan Ghale @David Gotsill @Bruce Crawford

Those are some interesting questions @Miho Hatanaka .  

I have also had some foreign friends tell me about the difficulty of renting an apartment in Tokyo.  In some cases the reasoning makes sense to me, as a property owner myself: it's not a smart business practice to rent to a tenant who is only in the country under a short-term status, who does not have proof of sufficient employment, who does not have a guarantor (we'd often just call them a co-signer in the US), and with whom the landlord cannot communicate (if the tenant doesn't speak good Japanese).  In other cases, I think landlords are being close-minded, as you say.

From personal experience, I was definitely turned away from units the moment the real estate agent told the landlord I was foreign.  There's no rule against refusing to rent to foreign persons.  It was frustrating, but I tried not to let it bother me, and I was always able to find something nice.  The same thing as if someone said they wouldn't rent to me because I'm obnoxious or I smell.  It's not nice, but it's kind of true...

I think it's a different story when you talking about sales, however.  Not sure about the woman in Saitama, but my guess is there's more to the story than her just being Chinese.  Some could be cultural.  To use a common example, bargaining/haggling is not common in Japan.  It's the norm (I hear) in China.  Suppose the Chinese buyer was constantly haggling to lower the price for this and that?  It would certainly turn off a seller.  Still, Japan has no rules against foreigners owning real property, unlike some other countries, particularly in south east Asia.  The difficulty that most foreign buyer's have, I think, is with financing.  Most Japanese lenders won't lend to foreigners who aren't long-term residents or permanent residents.  That's different from the US.  A non-US person can still get a loan for investment property in the US.  Of course, the terms are tighter - for example, 50% down and 2% higher interest rate.  But it's possible.  My understanding is that non-Japanese buyers who aren't long term residents have only one real choice: an all-cash purchase.  That may work for some wealthy non-Japanese people (for example, it's popular among affluent Chinese), but it's not a strategy that makes sense for most.  Most Americans would be much better off to invest in the US with a loan than to invest in Japan all-cash.  To me, this is more the investment background than the opinions of individuals.  I'm willing to bet most Japanese sellers would be fine to sell to foreigners, that it wouldn't really matter to them.  Plus, property rights in Japan are strong, and there is very little corruption.  So foreign buyers can be very confident of what they are getting.  It's a pretty safe bet.

I'm going to ping @Kiley N. and ask his thoughts.  

One last thought: It's not a purely Japanese problem.  I'm not sure how things are in Portland, but I'm pretty sure there's some discrimination  based on national origin in a lot of places in the US too.  Granted, there can be better chances for remedy/compensation here, I think.

@Miho Hatanaka

I am almost certain that @David Gotsill was turned down by landlords due to either obnoxiousness or smell.  

Seriously though, from the Japanese side I have heard stories of the difficulties in renting to foreigners as opposed to renting to Japanese.  To be fair, almost any generalization of a population is sure to be inaccurate in some or even most instances.  In the case of Japan, homogeneity (whether real or perceived) lends itself to comparison with other populations as a whole but does not necessarily reflect the actual reality of each situation.  ESID (Every Situation Is Different), as they say.  Also this comparison very much occurs both ways.  

I would second @David Gotsill 's final thought that it is highly likely that the same, or arguably worse, generalizations occur in the US as well.  Were it allowable to screen tenants based on nationality, I imagine the US tenant experience would be dramatically different.  

A big part of investing (or living) in a particular country is one's level of familiarity and comfort with that particular area's way of doing things.  For these inter-cultural agreements to exist harmoniously it is generally not a requirement that either side needs to acquiesce to the other per se, but rather that shared respect for a minimal level of common laws/truths/norms are upheld by both parties; the clearer the better.  

My personal experience renting in Japan was fine and I was never turned down for a place but I also was fortunate enough to have a connection to either the landlord or the current tenant that I was replacing at the time.  One of my landlords actually enjoyed me stopping by each month to chat and practice her English.  I purposely chose manual payments over automatic bank debit because of that.  I suppose this familiarity, and having a trusted individual vouch for me, is what may have made the difference.  Another example giving credence to the BP podcast slogan that your network is your net worth.  

I think the overall point is that there will be varying perceptions of any single event, whether positive or negative, by all involved and it is the generalization of those perceptions that often results in misaligned expectations.  I wouldn't say that the Japanese as a whole are close-minded to outsiders, but I would also admit that it can and does exist.  ESID.

@Miho Hatanaka small island mentality..I don’t think you are right... listen if property belong to the owner and he 100% have the rights whom to rent and whom to not. And this question to you “ if you were the owner then would you rent your properties to the strange face people that seem like they disappear tomorrow and never show their face to you until you die?? As for your question renting problems I have been Japan for 6 six years and rented many apartment As well as a whole building for company without having trouble. Without a permanent resident visa I have solved many problems where permanent visa was needed . As per your is friends having trouble in renting first of all it depends on what type of apartment or house they are searching. Second of all they must know Japanese to convince the owner . And Not only language they must Have the capacity to convince them. Some lies are needed😄😄.third of all they must have a Japanese citizen for guarantee or 連絡先 など…それは友達とかも簡単に出来ますよ.last of all stop saying Japanese a small minded people. It’s a nice country with nice people. It’s their country and there rule . The rule that rule Japan🎇🎆😁😍🤩🌸🌸🌸a piece of artical posted in newspapers or your 4/5 friends from USA cannot define Japan as a small island per me I have more than thousands friends on ma Facebook And they are in different parts of the world although we are from same country and listening to their lifestyle there I still feel Japan is best. And I do have friend who left Japan after certain years and shifted to Japan. They say they miss Japan and it’s culture and entertainment they had here .

Re-reading my post, I may have come off a bit too strong.  What I should have said is this:

I agree with you @Miho Hatanaka .  I am bothered by those landlords in Japan that have a small island/closed-minded mentality.  In exactly the same way, I am bothered by similar landlords here in the US (and presumably other countries as well) that have a similar closed-minded mentality.  In some ways it's more open in the US, because discrimination is often talked about and is rightfully looked down upon.  I don't think it's out in the open as much in Japan, and so the victims of discrimination there may have a more difficult time dealing with it.  But as we all are/become landlords, it's something we should keep in mind, and it's a small way that we can have a positive impact.   

Sorry for my late reply as I haven’t been on BP for a few days. I agree with @David Gotsill about other reason - financing, trying to haggle too much or some other reason. I have been able to buy property here without much of a problem except getting the loan. Now I’m in the process of trying to refi to a lower rate. More to come on this after it’s done. . . 

@Miho Hatanaka undefined I am really late to reply, but though I agree with all comments offered before based on individual perspectives and opinions, I want to add my voice to the discussion just to broaden the dimension. I have a completely different experience because of my situation. I work on a US navy base and rather than turned down, we are heavily sought after tenants because owners realize that there are several advantages to leasing to military connected people: Rents are significantly higher, tenants don't disappear in the middle of the night although the required notice is quite short as people may receive relocation orders that require them to move quickly. There are numerous companies dedicated to market properties to tenants attached to the US base. Agents speak English and serve as intermediaries between owners and tenants. Helping to bridge the cultural gap as well. 

What is absolutely true and affects landlord, tenant and neighbor dynamics is the cultural differences that invariable create friction. For example, Americans in general love to grill at home. Japanese people hang clothes outside and if the neighbor fires up the grill right bellow, clothing will be smelly and neighbors will be upset. Same with loud music at parties, parking on the street and a really big one is the garbage recycling. I've been told by Japanese friends that it is a big problem because Americans don't understand the recycling rules and sort the garbage incorrectly. These things can cause a landlord to turn a foreigner down because of not wanting to deal with neighbor complaints. The difficulty with communication may cause the foreigner to feel discriminated against when it can very well be that in true Japanese style, the landlord simply wants to avoid conflict. 

In terms of purchasing, I agree that having to pay all cash for property is a deterrent. However a big positives to landlording in Japan is that your property is not likely to be destroyed by the tenant or vandalized during a vacancy.

I wish I could attend the BP meetups, but 2 hours away on a weeknight makes it rather tough, especially because if I stay to the end, the  trains  stop running before I can make it home. Anyone in Yokohama or Yokosuka wanting to get together?