Upfront Costs for Apartments in Japan | Why so High and How to Avoid it
When people complain about how expensive apartments in Japan can be. They are usually referring to the upfront cost. This can be a bit confusing to foreigners if inexperienced with receiving an apartment in Japan. In this article we are going to explain the reason for this. Also give you some tips and what to look out for.
Japan is one of the most expensive countries for land per square meter. This results in some pretty creative ideas to make things as compact as possible. For example there are no heating ducks in most Japanese houses or apartment buildings. Instead most people use gas powered space heater's that simply plug into the wall. Bathtubs are much shorter than average and as for the kitchens normally you will only get two stove tops with no oven.
Most people understand the limited amount of space and expect Japanese apartments to be smaller. What people do not expect however is the expensive initial cost that comes with renting an apartment in Japan. Although the rent for apartments in Japan is about 30% less expensive by average than the United States. The initial cost however can be much more expensive. An average initial payment in Japan is usually five times the rent. That can be even higher with larger apartments for example a 3LDK. A good deal is considered anything that is three times the rent or lower.
The Initial Cost For Apartments In Japan
Most Common Fees
The owner or management company will have a guarantor company involved. This company acts as insurance for the rent to be paid. To learn more about this you can take a look our article about guarantors. The insurance for the apartment usually covers any water and fire damage. The realtor, guarantor and insurance fees are the most common and usually the most necessary.
There also can be some additional fees. These fees depend on the apartment. One of these fees is called key money which is usually considered the most hated. To learn more about this fee you can take a look our article about key money. Deposits can be involved but be aware that not all deposits are refundable. Cleaning and changing lock fees are also something that you can find on an apartments initial cost. This is something that we Gaijin Apartment Helper try our best to avoid as much as possible.
How To Avoid Higher Initial Cost
Although most apartments are on one single database which all realtors have access to. Some realtors have a few special deals that can only be available through them. Here at Gaijin Apartment Helper we are one of those realtors that have many deals that are much cheaper than average.
If you do not go through our services here are a few tips.
- Find a realtor that you can trust.
- Do your homework to know a good deal when you see it.
- Don't be too picky, for example trying to find the apartment that you are looking for in one certain station.
- You could also try to negotiate the price down. However this usually works with apartments that already have an expensive price.
Things That You Should Watch Out For
Hidden fees are extremely common with most apartment listings especially on Japanese websites. Usually the listing will not show the total initial cost. If the listing has hidden fees the only way to find out the total cost. Is to either give them a call or go to the realtors in person.
There are many different tactics that realtors use to either get you to see the apartment or to lure you into their shops. Before I mention these tactics to you please understand that there are many good realtors out there. These tactics are only used by a few and give the industry a bad name. It's simply something that you should watch out for.
One tactic is that they post fake apartments. The reason for this is to lure you into their shops. If the apartment is fake the realtor can come up with all sorts of excuses why the apartment is no longer available. Than they will try to push other more expensive apartments on to you. Fake apartments are pretty hard to spot but we have found a few post that are a bit too obvious. This problem is only getting worse. Some realtors are actually going as far as to advertise that they do not take part in this.
Another tactic is to advertise an apartment with no key money. Because this fee is the most hated and well known realtors will sometimes use this against you. An apartment with no key money will not necessarily mean it will be a better deal or less expensive. There can be many other fees involved that can drive up the cost.