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!