Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in Tokyo

Embarking on the Journey: First-Time Home Buying in Tokyo

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Imagine this: you’re strolling down a bustling Tokyo street, the neon lights reflecting off the rain-slicked pavement, the aroma of yakitori wafting from a nearby izakaya. You think to yourself, “I could live here.” Well, guess what? You can! Buying a home in Tokyo might seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, but with the right guidance and preparation, it can be a smooth and rewarding process. 🏠

Understanding the Tokyo Real Estate Market

First things first, let’s get a grip on the Tokyo real estate market. It’s a unique beast, with its own set of rules and quirks. For instance, unlike in the U.S., where the value of a home often appreciates over time, in Tokyo, it’s the land that appreciates while the value of the house itself depreciates. This is because Japanese homes are often rebuilt every 20 to 30 years. 🏗️

Another key point to note is that Tokyo’s real estate market is relatively stable, with less fluctuation in prices compared to other major cities. This stability, coupled with low-interest rates, makes it an attractive option for first-time home buyers.

Getting Your Finances in Order

Before you start house hunting, it’s crucial to get your finances in order. This means saving for a down payment, getting pre-approved for a loan, and setting a budget. In Tokyo, the typical down payment is around 20% to 35% of the property price. 💰

When setting your budget, don’t forget to factor in additional costs such as agent fees, acquisition tax, registration license tax, and property tax. It’s also wise to have a contingency fund for unexpected expenses.

Finding the Right Property

Now comes the fun part: finding your dream home! Tokyo offers a wide range of housing options, from modern high-rise apartments in bustling Shibuya to traditional houses in quiet Setagaya. 🏡

When choosing a property, consider factors such as location, proximity to public transportation, and neighborhood amenities. It’s also important to check the property’s condition and age, as older properties may require costly renovations.

The home buying process in Tokyo involves several steps, including property viewing, making an offer, signing the sales contract, and finalizing the loan. It’s advisable to work with a real estate agent who can guide you through these steps and negotiate on your behalf. 📝

Once the sales contract is signed, you’ll need to pay the down payment and agent fees. The remaining balance is usually paid at the time of property handover.


  • Can foreigners buy property in Tokyo?
    Yes, foreigners can buy property in Tokyo. There are no legal restrictions on property ownership by foreigners in Japan.
  • Do I need to speak Japanese to buy a home in Tokyo?
    While it’s possible to buy a home in Tokyo without speaking Japanese, it’s highly recommended to have a translator or a real estate agent who can communicate in English to ensure you understand all the details of the transaction.
  • What is the average cost of a home in Tokyo?
    The cost of a home in Tokyo varies greatly depending on the location and type of property. As of 2021, the average price of a newly constructed house in Tokyo is around 60 million yen (approximately $550,000).


Buying your first home in Tokyo can be an exciting adventure. By understanding the local real estate market, getting your finances in order, finding the right property, and navigating the buying process, you can make your dream of owning a home in Tokyo a reality. Remember, preparation is key, and don’t be afraid to seek help from professionals. Happy house hunting! 🏠🗼

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.