Frequently asked questions about purchasing property in Japan.
Can foreign non-residents buy real estate in Japan?
Yes, they can. There are no restrictions for foreign non-residents to purchase real estate in Japan.
Is the land in Niseko free hold title?
Yes, land is free hold title, with the exception of some areas around the Annupuri ski field.
How are property taxes levied?
Fixed asset taxes are levied once a year based on the size and construction of your property or land. Kutchan town council is responsible for calculating the amount of the tax. This tax is calculated based on a 365 day year. When purchasing a property, initial fixed asset tax will be calculated from the date of settlement until December 31st of the same year.
Please Note: If you do not reside in Japan, you are required to have a ‘tax manager’ to coordinate the payment of fixed asset tax. West Canada Properties can assist in appointing a ‘tax manager’ if so required.
Is it possible for foreign non-residents to obtain financing through a Japanese bank?
In general, it is extremely difficult for foreigners to obtain financing through a Japanese bank. At a minimum, permanent residency status and collateral (in Japan) is needed for your application to be considered.
Are there any building restrictions in Niseko?
The following building restrictions are in place for Hirafu Village (under the jurisdiction of Kutchan Town):
The Center Village area (Upper Hirafu Village and along Route 343):
Building footprint: 40%
Coverage ratio: 300%
Building height: 22m max
The Pension Village area (Middle and Lower Hirafu Village):
Building footprint: 50%
Coverage ratio: 200%
Building height: 13m max.
In addition to the above, building setbacks are in place. These will vary according to the size of your building as well as the adjoining road.
For full details on building restrictions, including restrictions for areas outside of Hirafu Village, please contact us.
What is the sales process?
The purchase and sale process in Japan is smooth and predictable. The rule of law is strong here, and the culture extremely organized and on time to say the least.
You will find the purchase process very similar to many other countries. For a detailed breakdown of the process read below.
Key milestones and deliverables are as follows:
- Offer and Acceptance:
- Generally a 20% deposit paid within 2 weeks of acceptance is acceptable.
- Balance to be paid within 2 or 3 months.
- Necessary Information:
- West Canada Properties collects all the necessary information from the vendor and buyer.
- Draft Contract Documents:
- Contract documents are comprised of the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA), and the Statement of Important Matters (SIM). Both documents are prepared by West Canada Properties.
- Introduction to Solicitor:
- West Canada Properties shall Introduce the Solicitor by email.
- The Solicitor shall oversee the conveyancing process, and shall assist with the preparation of all required documents for settlement and title transfer.
- Completion of Due Diligence:
- The Statement of Important Matters covers most due diligence items. West Canada Properties is a licensed agent, and is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the SIM.
- Contract Signing:
- Upon approval of contract documents by both Vendor and Buyer, contracts shall be signed using the online signature platform RightSignature.
- The Vendor shall sign first; followed by the Buyer.
- RightSignature secures your executed document with a complex hash algorithm to ensure the permanent record is tamper-proof.
- Electronic signature contract documents are legally binding in Japan.
- Once both Vendor and Buyer have signed the contracts, West Canada Properties (WCP) shall print, bind and seal hard copy documents.
- Funding for Deposit:
- Deposit is due to be paid at time of contract signing.
- Once contract documents have been approved by both Vendor and Buyer, West Canada Properties shall send a request for funding for deposit to the Buyer.
- Deposit funds shall be sent to the West Canada Properties Trust Account as detailed in the Sale and Purchase Agreement.
- West Canada Properties shall confirm bank details verbally prior to requesting the bank transfer.
- West Canada Properties shall not release the deposit to the Vendor without prior written approval from the Vendor.
- Very Important: Funds must be sent to Japan from an account with the same name as the Buyer, and registered to the same address stated on the Sale and Purchase Agreement. This applies to both a individual and a company as the purchasing entity.
- Title Transfer Required Documents:
- Solicitor Yoshida's team shall liaise directly with the Buyer to assist with the preparation of all documents required for the settlement of the Property.
- These documents shall include but are not limited to the following:
- Power of Attorney (POA) giving the Solicitor authority to transfer title on behalf of the Buyer
- Affidavit stamped / sealed by a Notary Public confirming identity of the Buyer
- Certificate of Incumbency with a Notarial Certificate in the case of the purchasing entity being a company.
- Funding for Settlement - Pro-forma Statement of Settlement:
- Approximately two weeks prior to settlement, West Canada Properties shall send a Pro-forma Statement of Settlement, and request funding for settlement.
- To ensure a smooth settlement, we shall request funding for settlement has a value date of five (5) business days prior to settlement.
- Very Important: Funds must be sent to Japan from an account with the same name as the Buyer, and registered to the same address stated on the Sale and Purchase Agreement.
- This applies to both a individual and a company as the purchasing entity
- Non compliance with this point shall result in funds being returned to the sender.
- Provided that:
- The Solicitor has received all required documents from both Vendor and Buyer
- West Canada Properties has received required funding for settlement in the West Canada Properties Trust Account
- Executed hard and bound copies of the Sale and Purchase Agreement and Statement of Important Matters have been received
- The Solicitor shall confirm the following:
- All Vendor required documents are in good order;
- All Buyer required documents are in good order;
- All executed contract documents are in good order;
- All funds required for settlement are in place;
- The Property is clean and clear of all encumbrances;
- The Buyer has authorized the release of funds for settlement;
- Upon confirmation by the Solicitor all of the above items are in good order, the Solicitor shall lodge title registration with the Sapporo Bureau of Legal Affairs, and authorize the release of settlement funds simultaneously.
- New Title Deed:
- It will take approximately ten business days from the time of settlement for the original hard copy new title deed to be issued by the Sapporo Bureau of Legal Affairs.
- The Solicitor shall receive the new title deeds on behalf of the Buyer, and shall contact the Buyer to ask for the sending address for title deeds to be couriered to the Buyer.
DONE!! You own a piece of the dream.