3. Searching for a room
1. Before searching for an apartment

The followings are things you'll need to decide before going to visit a real estate agent. Please refer to (2)~(8) to order your preferred conditions.

1 What is your preferred line, and where is your preferred area?
2 What style of building do you want to live in?
3 How much is your maximum budget?
4 How old are the buildings being offered by the real estate agent?
5 Which type of room do you want to live in?・・Layout
6 What kind of furnishings and facilities do you need?
7 What type of conveniences do you want to have near your home?
8 Which aspect do you want housing to have?
9 How long will the term of lease be?
10 Who will be your guarantor?

2. What is your preferred line, and where is your preferred area?・・(Transportion)

In Japan, transportation access is usually shown in terms of proximity to local train stations. In other words, access is shown by the amount of time that it takes to the nearest train station.

For example, "X minutes on foot from XX station""X minutes by bus from XX station"
"X minutes by bus from XX station and then X minutes on foot"

Generally, 1 minute by walk =80 meter in the real estate world.

Large cities, like Tokyo, are densely packed with people and companies. This leads to a shortage of land and to tremendously high rental costs for housing. Most Japanese agree that searching for a house is a difficult endeavor.

If you are looking to find housing more quickly it is best to consider not only major populated areas but also areas that are a little further away from the big cities and prefectures.


3. What style of building do you want to live in?・・(Type of Housing)

There are three basic types of housing: (a)Apartment buildings(usually constructed from wood and 1 to 2 floors in heigth; (b)"Mansions" (usually several stories high and constructed from concrete and reinforced steel); and (c) Single-household buildings.


Apartment buildings come in two types: (a) the room type, in which an indoor corridor leads to the front door of each individual apartment, and (b) the house type, in which an outdoor path leads to the front door of each apartment. Mansions come in two types: (a) the family type, in which there are two or more rooms for a household, and (b) the one-room type, with a single room and the necessary facilities for one tenant.

1F-5F:Ground floor to the fifth floor(The ground floor is called the first floor in Japan.) B1:The underground floor.


4. How much is your maximum budget?・・(Rent)

It is usually better if your rent is under 25% to 30% of your income. The housing problem in major cities of Japan is very serious even for the Japanese. Before you rent an apartment, you must consider how much you can afford to pay for the rent. Rent varies according to area, the newness of the building, facilities, and size of the building.

Rent is typically collected monthly. There are many cases in which, in addition to rent, the tenant must pay small managerial fees. (Your budget should include the cost of rent and managerial fees.)

When signing a lease, the tenant usually must also pay a security deposit(equal to about 1 to 3 months' rent), "key money"(about 2 months' rent), a commission, and possibly other one-time costs. As it is hard to find housing if you take all these costs into consideration, please indicate only the amount of rent that you wish to pay.

The following are other costs you should consider when planning your budget.

The closer housing is to a station the more expensive it is. Housings which you need to take a bus to get to, is quite inexpensive. Housings which have no shower room is cheaper by \20,000 ~ \30,000 than others. As for mansions, the first floor also tends to be less expensive.

In Japan, rooms are normally unfurnished, so you will have to purchase new appliances, bedding, etc... before moving-in. Moreover, you must consider the cost of utilities(gas, water, electricity, etc.) which may be substantially higher than the cost in your home country.


5. How old are the buildings being offered by the real estate agent?

Usually the older the housing is the cheaper and larger it is. A building more than 10 year old is generally much less expensive.


6. What is your preferred floor plan?

Layout is shown with numbers representing the number of independent rooms and the presence of a kitchen, kitchen/dining room or kitchen/dining room/living room. For example, a "3LDK" consists of three rooms plus a single room to be used as a living room(L), dining room(D),and Kitchen(K). Other common abbreviations are "DK" which indicates a combined dining room/kitchen, and "K" indicating a kitchen.

1 jo, in most cases, is 1.55㎡, 6-jo, and 4.5-jo rooms are extremely common. LDK and DK rooms are of various sizes. There are two basic types of rooms: Japanese-style rooms with tatami flooring and Western-style rooms with wooden floors. (See the note about the benefits of tatami flooring.)


7. What kind of furnishings and facilities do you need?

Individual housing units often have their own toilets, but if they don't, there will be a common toilet, to be shared with other housing units in the building. Also there are housing units with private baths and housing with no bathtub at all. Ordinarily baths will not be shared between several housing units.


In one-room mansions, sometimes the bath and toilet are together in one room(this is called a "unit bath" and is represented by the letters "UB") and sometimes there is only a shower and no bathtub.


Most dwellings lack furniture, air-conditioners, and heaters. You, as the dwelling's tenant, are expected to provide these yourself. You'll need to bring money to buy amenities like furniture before setting up house in Japan.

Also confirm with the agent if using a heater is allowed in the apartment. To prevent a fire, some apartments do not allow a gas and kerosene stove to be used in the apartment.


8. What type of conveniences do you want to have near your home?

The environment surrounding your housing is quite important. It is important to have a public bath nearby if you do not have a bath, or to have a coin laundry in the area if you do not have a washing machine. If you have children, it is best to ask ahead of time about local child-care facilities and schools.

9. Direction・・Sunlight

In Japan, apartments with windows that face south, southeast, or southwest are considered best. Next in popularity are rooms facing east. Rooms facing west are not very popular, while those facing north are very unpopular.


10. How long will the term of the lease be.?・・Lease Duration

If the term of your stay is too short (under a year), you might be refused as a tenant. Also, if your moving date is too far in the future, real estate agents might not accept your request. It is typical to move in within 2 weeks at the latest from the day you make a contract.


11. Guarantor?

Please see here

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