One thing that a foreigner should note about Japanese Real Estate: it is not foreign friendly.
For the past 8 years of living in Japan, I have never personally deal with Japanese Realtors. Either my company rent it for me, live with a relative or stayed in guesthouses (Tokyo). But recent events and changes with my life have finally put me in the situation where I need to meet with them face-to-face.
You need some decent Japanese skill since most realtors don’t have any English speaking staff employed. One needs to know some terminology used in real estate in Japan. Then of course the different forms of payment like reikin and shikikin. Then comes the different insurance, agent fees and gurantors fee.
But of course since I am a foreigner I need to have a Japanese gurantor who needs to sign your application. It seems that some realtors don’t accept your company as gurantor because , as the agent explained to me, the company might go bankcrupt. If you can’t find a guarantor you can just pay a company to be your guarantor. The cheapest one that the agent introduce me too is around 200$ for the first year and 100$ every year. But still you still need to have an Emergency Contact Person in Japan. This can either be a relative, a friend, manager , whoever you like as long as he/she lives in Japan. The agent told me the person can either be a Japanese or Foreigner BUT it would be advisable if the person is Japanese.
Then comes the paperworks. First you need to file an application form that the agent will send to the building manager. Once the building manager approves it , then the process continues.
These are the documents that I was required to submit to the agent:
1. Pictures of the tenants.
2. A Copy of Alien Registration Card for all the tenants.
3. Residence Certificate of your former address (for all tenants)
4. Witholding tax certificate ( the main applicant )
Beside the bump with the guarantor part, everything went smoothly with my application. After 3 days, contracts were signed. 2 weeks after I finally moved.
I was happy with my agent. With his broken english he did try to explain some terms and was very patient with all our question.