Hello from Susie

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susie2609
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Hello from Susie

Postby susie2609 » Fri May 25, 2018 6:22 am

I'm so happy to have stumbled across this forum :)

We live on the south coast of NSW and have recently returned from another trip to Japan with our minds set on buying a property in the alpine areas of the Nagano prefecture. Since discovering this forum and finding many useful links I've spent many hours trawling real estate sites and navigating local areas on Google Earth (whole afternoons can just disappear!) If all goes according to plan we would spend a few months each year in Japan renovating a property with a view to longer stretches of time once our teenagers are more self sufficient.

I'm really keen on information about the process and practicalities of buying property, the best ways to join a local community in a culturally sensitive way, buying and registering a car.

In my life away from Japanese real estate websites I'm a part time high school English teacher and freelance writer. My husband is a carpenter and keen surfer. We have two children 17 and 13.

Thanks for including me in this group!

Regards,
Susie

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Re: Hello from Susie

Postby Shizuman » Fri May 25, 2018 6:28 am

Gday Susie!

Nagano is a beaut place! I i recently met an Aussie bloke who bought a chateau in Niigata next prefecture up and hes renovated it and gets people to stay there in the winter, that areas an awesome place! Good luck I hope you find something really cool!

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Re: Hello from Susie

Postby Zasso Nouka » Sat May 26, 2018 6:14 am

Hi Susie,

And welcome to Japan Simple Life, thank you very much for taking the time to join. We really appreciate that and also thank you so much for your kind words.

Sounds like you guys have an interesting project ahead of you and we'd love to hear how you get on. Would you guys be doing most of the work yourselves ? Given the line of work your husband is in.

Buying a property here is pretty straightforward and there aren't any restriction placed on you currently being a non resident. You find a property you are interested in and engage a solicitor/lawyer and providing they don't find any hidden surprises you go ahead with the purchase. There are a few things to consider apart from that but please feel free to ask any questions you might have.

Buying a car is also straightforward but no need for a solicitor this time.

Fitting into a community is pretty easy if you are friendly and make an effort. Maybe have a chat with some of your potential neighbours before buying a property to gauge what the community is like and when you have but a place purchase some small presents for people around you. Nothing fancy, small hand towels seem to be a popular choice. Don't over do it, just something small and not expensive, you'll likely have a shop somewhere nearby selling things like that. Then join the local neighbourhood association and join in the local activities like village cleaning days and whatever.

susie2609
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Re: Hello from Susie

Postby susie2609 » Sat May 26, 2018 1:01 pm

This is great! I'm so glad I found this forum - already helpful info that makes the prospect of buying property a reality :)

When we were in Japan we started asking around about the process and the advice we received made it sound almost too difficult/expensive (ie: the need to hire a middle man/agent to negotiate with local vendors on our behalf, difficulties for foreigners to own/register a vehicle). Good to know that it's relatively straightforward. My husband spent a few months around the Nagano/Niigata region and absolutely loved it - the people, smaller townships and communities, natural beauty of the place.

In answer to your question Zasso - we're keen to take on any necessary renovations ourselves, although I've seen some really attractive properties that only require minimal work/maintenance.

I'm curious about the property market in these regions - there seems to be a wide range of properties available, some of which appear to have been abandoned. As Shizuman mentioned another Australian who bought a chalet - it seems there are quite a few vacant lodges/chalets in different areas (with furniture). They list prices are quite low, so I'm wondering if they come with a tax debt attached? Is this sort of info only revealed once a solicitor has been engaged?

If I should be posting this sort of question on another part of the forum, please let me know!

Cheers,
Susie

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Re: Hello from Susie

Postby Zasso Nouka » Sun May 27, 2018 6:01 am

You can ask questions wherever you like to be honest, either here or start a new thread or if you want we can split these off from this thread into a new one, we're hardly overworked worked here moderating JSL :lol:. Let me know what your prefer and one of us will make it happen.

The real estate agent should take care of any negotiations for you but normally it isn't that convoluted a process, it can be slow but that can also be a good thing as it gives you plenty of time to think about the purchase. You can haggle over the price if you think it is too high or if your solicitor finds an issue that isn't a total deal breaker. You should also make sure that any boundaries are clearly demarcated or get the land surveyed if they are not, you also need to find out what the land is zoned as. Buying registered farmland can be problematic. You could also talk to the local council and see what sort of attitude they have, that's not really necessary but doesn't do any harm but you can find out what taxes you will have to pay and if you have to register with them while you are there.

I don't know what the legal situation is regarding car ownership for non residents is but don't think it's particularly restrictive. So long as your car has passed it's shaken it will have third party insurance but you will probably want to get more comprehensive insurance on top of that.

I'd be more inclined personally to buy a property in a town or village rather than in a resort for the neighbours and infrastructure. Resorts that are being abandoned won't offer much in the way of that and others might be largely empty for most of the year with owners only coming up for the occasional weekend. That's not to say all are bad but personally I'd rather be in a living community myself.

Thanks for the follow on Instagram ;)

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Re: Hello from Susie

Postby gonbechan » Sun May 27, 2018 7:28 pm

First, welcome to JSL, it is nice to see the lady quota filling out. Makes for more diversity etc etc.... as we women have some different concerns and questions and of course also knowledge to share.

Buying property and vehicles is pretty straightforward if you have the cash to lay out.
Vehicles need a set domicile though as they require proof of parking shakoshomeisho
but usually the dealer is happy to walk you through and do all the legals for you. Rather than a solicitor, an interpreter might be a better bet.
The same goes for property bought through a real estate broker, they will arrange for all the documentation, insurance etc and tell you ahead of time what the costs will be.

When buying in mountainous regions, watch out for properties in inundation areas. Most places will list this but if you have doubts, go to the local city office and acquire an inundation map for the area. This will include flooding, land/mudslides as well as avalanche risk for the area.

Looking forward to hearing about your adventures and please, never hesitate to ask any questions. If anyone here can help, they will be glad to.

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Re: Hello from Susie

Postby Caleb Fuller » Sun May 27, 2018 8:39 pm

Hi Susie,

I spent some time in Hakuba, which is in that area, about 1 1/2 years ago for a ski holiday. It was probably the most multi-cultural town I've ever seen in Japan! Apparently, the area around there is actually very popular with Australian ex-pats - we ordered a pizza one night, and everyone else got me to call because I was the only one with any Japanese language ability. Somewhat ironically, the guy who answered the phone was an Australian! Also the only place in Japan I've ever seen an actual round-about.

As far as cars and driving - the good news is that if you have an Australian licence, you can get issued an equivalent Japanese licence without having to take any kind of test, apart from an eyesight check. You will need an "official" translation of your NSW licence done, turn up at the designated place at the designated time and day, and spend about half a day going through paperwork and rigmarole (the Japanese licence people make the RTA look like a model of convenience and efficiency), but that's it.

Not sure about any "traps" as far as buying and registering a car. I've always had the advantage of a Japanese wife when it comes to property, cars, etc... However, at least roadworthy inspection and registration only needs to be done bi-annually, not annually like NSW. The overall cost per annum is roughly equivalent or less than NSW.

Good luck!

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Re: Hello from Susie

Postby susie2609 » Wed May 30, 2018 6:25 am

Hi Caleb,

I haven't been to Hakuba myself but have heard it's starting to get almost overrun with Australians. My husband was there for a few days earlier this year and had a similar experience to your pizza phone call and even ran into people that he knew from our local area there!
Thanks for your info regarding car ownership too. The other "vehicle" the husband is keen on buying is a small snow-clearer - I've come across some properties with these included in the sale which is a bonus :)

Regards,
Susie

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Re: Hello from Susie

Postby Markuma » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:21 pm

Hello Susie,
I have a place in the mountains. Actually the first ski/snowboard resort to open in Japan, opened near my house. White Peak at Mineyama....
Check out my introduction post....just made today.

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Re: Hello from Susie

Postby susie2609 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:55 pm

Hi all,
This is probably the wrong place for this question, but I'm wondering how any (non-Japanese-speaking) non-residents here have found the whole property-purchase-process? I found a house on http://www.furusato-net.co.jp/ and sent an enquiry to see if they could give me the exact location but, so far, no response. I can't work out whether the site is only for residents of Japan? Also, any Australians here who've bought property in Japan? Wondering whether we need to hire a local legal person/conveyancer? If so, any ideas about finding one?
Cheers,
Susie


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