Monday, 13 February 2012

Buying imposter

Just a warning: This will be in no way informative, totally refer to the Salaryman for his series on buying a house in Japan, I am buying a house, but it doesn't really count in my opinion...

So when I first got knocked up and Ryota refused to stay in my beloved Osaka, we were really in a bind as to where to live. We wanted near the in-laws, (easy baby palming) not too country, (errr, fuck that!) and not too city (his choice not mine, I'm totally a city girl). So when we were sitting at the in-laws' thinking about where we should live, we were actually staring at a vacant house directly across from the in-laws', until it dawned on someone that it was the perfect place for us to live, and may be cheaper, seeing as though the owners were previous neighbours of the in-laws. And the wheels were all set in motion, to my disgust, we were living 2 steps away from the in-laws, in a place that required more than walking to get to a station, and that had a rice field right down the road. I believe I got royally screwed on our living arrangement compromise, but for 30,000 yen a month and with Ryota's promises of new walls and floors ringing in my ears, I really couldn't refuse. As it's turned out, it has been a pretty good place to live, of course I'd love to put a few more metres between me and the dog-fucker, but it really is a small sacrifice for the amount of times I've dumped my darling son there, I don't even have to dump him anymore, I just tell him to bugger of and he toddles off on his own.

So at the start of this year, our 3 year contract was up for renting the house, the owners were happy for us to keep renting, but I threw the idea out that if the owners were willing, we might be interested in buying it, not because it's my dream house, but because I fucking despise paying rent, the waste just annoys me. And the owners were open to this idea and had the property valued. Now the house is worth shit. Less than shit, it's just in the way. Over 40 years old and already been through a big earthquake in Japan literally leaves you with zero value, so it was the land price only, and based on size, surrounding properties that had sold, and a bit of bullshit from the real estate agent, it was valued at about 6.5 million yen (About $68,000??) So cheap by most standards, but still not cheap enough for us, unless it was dirt cheap I didn't want it, I was afraid I'd get lazy and never re-build or buy another house if it was too expensive, so when this figure was put forward, MIL and I ummed and ahh-ed and sucked air through our teeth exclaiming almost to ourselves that it was 'a little more than we wanted to pay' as the very Japanese-style negotiations began. It was at this point, as we were all seated on our feet Japanese style drinking tea, that Ryota came home from work: Dirty, red faced and stinking of sweat. He hadn't known the negotiations were going on that day and said "It's fucking cold!" as he walked in to see the thin little real estate agent wide-eyed and staring at the big, dirty man spouting filthy English. After Ryota apologised for his less than classy entrance, I thought he might redeem himself, but he took one look at the offer that had been put forward and said "Are you kidding?? We'll pay 3 million, that's it!"

After all mine and MIL's efforts at being totally Japanese, the actual Japanese man bustles in and demands half the price. And fuck me, they agreed! So we will buy our house for 3.5 million yen with all legal fees included. Pretty damn good considering we were looking at paying about the same for a new car this year! We figure even if we go back to Australia, it can be a base, we'll have it paid off within 5 years so then we can either bugger off to Australia, or tear down the house and build a new one if we will stay in Japan forever. I think this is a good in between for us, I'd love a new house, but with property pretty much never gaining value in Japan, it would mean a life-sentence to stay in Japan, and honestly, even the thought of that suffocates me.

I took out our life savings today and Ryota is off to pay the deposit tonight, despite having a man-cold that he has self-diagnosed as the flu the big twat. I hope we've made the right decision!

36 comments:

  1. WTF? $30,000ish for a house, that's a bargain. I bought my investment house for $45,000 and thought that was cheap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is insanely cheap, the owner saw Ryota grow up and was pretty much like 'OK, whatever you want to pay Ryota-kun'. Score!

      Delete
  2. Great job Ryota! I can't believe how well that worked out. They just took the offer lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never know if you never ask I guess! I would never do that but that's why I get ripped off a lot! :D

      Delete
  3. OMG! That is the bargain of a lifetime!!!!
    That is sooooooooooooooooooo cheap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Does it come with some land? Can you grow your own food?
    If so, it will gain in price eventually because of the way times are changing. Rural is becoming 'in' again.

    So happy for you.
    This really is an amazing deal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! We can always knock the old house down and do whatever we want with it, Ryota's trying to find a way to kill the old man next door off so we can swoop in for his house too...

      Delete
  4. $35K US? Hell, even if it's a mistake, it's not an expensive one! I couldn't get a tear-down near my native Toronto for ten-times that. And your husband's negotiation style: awesome!

    You might have the cash in hand, but since you can borrow yen for close to nothing it might be better to get your money overseas where cash and assets appreciate even now, and let the J-banks give you the money that won't be appreciating. However, do get a better opinion than mine...

    If you build a house on it, get a foreign kit. They have shit like heat and insulation if from Finland or Canada. hell, you'd be better off buying a big van and parking it on the land than paying for a J-built garden shed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like excellent advice - a Japanese mortgage, and Australian term deposit could give u much more in the long term. And INSULATION, never thought I would miss it so much!! Congrats.

      Delete
    2. Actually, we were going to borrow but the interest rate was really high because it was only a small amount :( So we were fortunate enough to work out a family loan with Ryota's father who we will pay back interest free. So 0 interest is great, but good advice, thanks!

      Delete
  5. 350 man? God, what a bargain - even if you do knock it down in ten years and build again. Very exciting. Not wasting money paying rent will feel good :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks GW. Right?! I was a bit pouty that it was such a crappy house (you've seen it! :D) but for that price I can still dream about my perfect house so happy with it.

      Delete
  6. Woah, that's cheap as!!!
    Prob couldn't even buy a small apartment in Darwin for that much or even a house-shed (you can rent out shed's with homes inside them here).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is cheap, and it's true, even tiny apartments are more than that, this is an actual house and even though old, still very live-able.

      Delete
  7. That is super cheap!! We made sure when we drew up the ownership of the property that it was half and half (me and hub)...we got a lawyer to do it..just don`t let them make you think you can`t be an owner cos you aren`t Japanese, is BS.
    Yes, hate paying rent too, reason why we did it too...
    congratulations on being a property owner!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I don't think I'm co-owner, but that's because I'm incredibly lazy and couldn't be arsed with paperwork. It is a very good point though, I better make sure I don't get screwed out of my bargain if things go South!

      Delete
  8. And you get to live close to SIL FOREVER since she'll never be able to live alone! Talk about a silver lining!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DIE. A slow and horrible death Salaryman!

      Delete
  9. #1 Ryota is a man. (Intimidate the skinny dude and throw down the fucking gauntlet) I like your man.

    #2 I own Property in Hawaii and the numbers you just spouted off threw me.....that is fucking CHEAP!! I know that depends on your perspective but with you and Ryota's age and future earning potential you just invested a much smaller portion off your estimated life value into your future home. You are IN A GOOD SPOT!!

    #3 Why did you throw away rent for 3 years......

    ***taps finger on desk waiting for a good answer***

    No good answer so forget it ....renting is a sucker move and it nagged at you cuz you knew that. I'm happy as fuck your investing in yourself now whatever the cost!!

    Congrats Corrine!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true, Ryota is an absolute asshole to me at times, but it really does come in handy.

      That's what we figured, we'll still be in a position to buy again when we pay off this house because we're still relatively young.

      I know, 3 years was a waste but to be honest, the rent was only 30,000 a month which is dirt cheap for a house and I had no idea if I would be fleeing the country with baby in arms or if we would move back to Aus or what was going on. Now we're fairly settled here the timing was right. But it did really nag at me, even 1 yen in rent is a waste to me :)

      Thank you!!!

      Delete
    2. 30,000 yen is amazingly cheap rent!!!!!

      Delete
  10. Chris, rent can be a sucker move: it depends on the rent market, property prices and mortgage rates. You know that, of course. It also depends on how long you'll be there, etc. The days of the boomers buying in and being certain to make a killing are well over. Fucking boomers.

    A good rule of thumb I have read is that you take your rent and multiply it by twenty years. If it comes to less than the cost of property, you are better off financially renting and investing your surplus. That has been the case in Toronto for a decade. Japan... is strange. Rents are far too high near Tokyo (elsewhere can be very cheap), but so are property prices, and the buildings on the land are more of a liability than a gain. Need a different rule of thumb here: all rent and property is a loss in Japan - pay as little as possible for either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, thank you, it makes me feel less of an idiot for renting for so long :)
      As I said to Chris, the rent was so cheap and we had no idea what direction we were going in that it was right for us at the time. But now that the price is right I'm glad we're buying.

      Delete
    2. Yep. This was difficult to explain to the folks back home when we were looking to buy. For the last few decades basically the entire UK economy has been based on the fact that property *rises* in value.

      So many people said stuff like 'it'll be an investment', frankly I just got tired of explaining repeatedly how property is an asset like any other over here, in that it *loses* not gains value over time. My wife owns and rents out another house and that was a liability as far as lenders were concerned, not an asset.

      If and/or when we sell I'll be happy as long as the drop in value isn't a ton more than we would have spent on rent over the same period. Fingers crossed, eh?

      Either way, looks like your bloke got you a bargain Corinne. Nice work, fella.

      Delete
  11. What a steal mate! Would love more details as it goes through, as I am thinking about buying a nice dilapidated house with a little farm out in the mountains.

    Do you have any idea about tax? I heard that the land tax here is a bit, do you know anything about that?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Loving the reply function, I can actually reply to comments with ease!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow congrats!! It is better than a good deal you can reform it or rebuilt or even buy a new house. I am jealous now lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what we were thinking, good result either way really. :)

      Delete
  14. Awesome! You are one of the first sane people I've come across when it comes to purchasing a home here. Buying new just doesn't make sense unless you can pretty much pay cash (in my not so humble and unsolicited opinion).

    Whenever someone talks about buying a 'new' house here, I try my hardest not to hurl 'what-the-fucks' skyward. Yes, a 'new' home does make a person feel nice while they spend years at work trying to pay off their little piece of the toxic chemical-soaked dream that they don't really seem to know or understand how to take care of because they are too busy working for the man to have enough time to actually learn how to do any of the work they were too smart to learn about when they had the chance. (Actually, youtube has some pretty informative stuff out there in terms of instructional videos, blah..blah..blah...)

    The virtually debt-free life is definitely the way to go. That's why we don't rent either. Aside from having to politely deal with another person's debt collector (mistaken identity and a forged document or whatever), termites, leaky roof, and a few other things that even newer homeowners deal with (if they are not sleeping at the wheel), -- aside from all that, having a cheap slice of the dream beats paying rent, especially here.

    And since your place is more than 40 years old, your taxes are probably pretty darn cheap.

    PS
    For people who think that 30,000 yen is cheap rent... the further out you go, the cheaper it gets. I met a hippy at a festival who said he was paying 4,000 per month for his place along with farmland... he said his neighbor was paying 1,000.

    Anyway...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've gotta admit though, 3-man is still pretty cheap for a house.

      Yep, I concur about how absolutely ridiculous it is to build a brand new house in Japan, made of toxic crap, when property in Japan isn't see in the same light as property in our respective countries.

      If I was Corrine, I'd make do with the old house, old houses have more character anyway, than put up a new one.

      Avoiding debt in life has always been my goal and finally it's paid off.

      :))))

      Delete
    2. Well, for around here 30,000 is ungeard of for a house. I say we live in the country, be we're actually only a 25 minute train ride from Osaka, not country at all. I'm just used to living smack-bang in the city, so country for me.

      And although I'd love a shiny new house (toxic or not, it's shiny! ;) I can't see the point unless I want to slave my guts out for the next 35 years and then have an old house with no re-sale value and the burden of being chained to it forever only to die and give it to my kids. Screw that, my kids can get their own bloody house!

      Delete
  15. Congratulations. Enjoy your home, and fill it with children and happy memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, children will be for sure, hopefully happy memories will follow too!

      Delete