Getting a mortgage in Japan

In What is Yakudoshi? I told you that Mami and I were looking for a house and being a foreigner, I might encounter some problems with getting a mortgage. This post is an update on that.

Assuming I wouldn’t be able to get a loan from a Japanese bank because I don’t yet have permanent residency, we took a break from house hunting for a while. However, we still got the odd fax from the real estate agent about new houses on the market. So, a couple of weeks ago I went to check one out. Although 15 years old, it seemed in pretty good condition and was in a very nice area so I took Mami to have a look later that day. She liked it too, so we made an appointment to see inside.

Five rooms plus a combined living room, dining room and kitchen, it is pretty big by Japanese standards. It has a small garden and parking for three cars. The inside was spotless with three beautiful tatami mat rooms, and fairly modern kitchen. We instantly knew it was the house we were looking for. Of course, at over 20 million yen, we still didn’t think they’d be any chance of getting a mortgage.

Surprise, surprise. After long discussions with the real estate agent, and having to produce every document under the sun, one bank has agreed to lend us the money. The mortage will be in my name, with Mami as guarantor. The fact that she is a qualified nurse has helped tremendously because she will always be able to find work to pay off the loan, in the unlikely event I did a runner!

Anyway, we’ve filled in the preliminary forms but will sit down and go through a stack of paper work with the bank and real estate agent in the next week or two to finalize the contract. Until that’s signed, I’m not shouting for joy yet.

Can a foreigner in Japan really get a mortgage without a permanent residency visa? Stay tuned!

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

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