Buying a house isn’t a rushed decision. I have thought and prayed about it for over a few years. When I became sure that I wanted to work and live here in Japan for a long time, I started working on the dream.
Plan and Preparation
To acquire a property here in Japan, I needed three main things:
- a stable job
- a permanent resident visa
- financial savings
I am a full-time English teacher at a junior and senior high school here in Japan. My contract is on a yearly renewal. In my fourth year with the school, I learned that there is a law that all contractual employees can only stay at a company for a maximum of five years. After that, the company has to let you go or take you in as a permanent employee. Even though the school wanted to make my contract the same as all the other Japanese teachers, they couldn’t because I didn’t have a Japanese teaching license. Therefore, they would let me go for six months and hire me again to start another five years. If this happens, I will be unemployed for half a year from October 2021. So I thought that I had to process my permanent visa application before then.
Thankfully, the school decided to keep me, and I can work continuously for many years there. And this became a significant factor in getting my house loan approved.
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Towards the end of January, I submitted my permanent residency application. They said that it takes at least two to six months or even years for the result to come out, but I was very hopeful. I had been here in Japan for five years when I applied. My mom is a permanent visa holder. And my guarantor is a friend who just got her permanent visa, both Filipinos. I tried to prepare all the requirements meticulously since I strongly wanted to have permanent residency here. Without it, I couldn’t start looking at houses just yet.
If you are planning to apply for a permanent visa, here’s the link to the requirements. – https://www.isa.go.jp/en/applications/procedures/zairyu_eijyu01.html
Then after almost three months of waiting, I got the letter or “hagaki” from the immigration office and a new visa card. Finally, I can search for houses.
Before submitting the permanent visa application, I made sure to pay all my unpaid health insurance bills, pension, and taxes. I even borrowed money from my credit card company so that I could make all those payments immediately. There was a time when I got so stressed that I had nothing in my bank account. I never want that to happen again.
So for months, I tried saving most of my income. I still had plenty of bills to pay and also my loans. But because of the pandemic, my mom and I didn’t have to spend a lot as we never went out to eat or shop at the mall. Whenever I wanted to buy something I didn’t really need, I’d think that I could use it to buy furniture or items for our future house, so I ended up saving the money. I was also able to sell a property, I and my mom bought in Manila.
Eventually, when we saw the house we liked, I knew that the next process was to apply for a house loan. I was aware that there would be credit checks, so I cleared all my previous loans before applying. When the bank representative interviewed me, I had no existing debts anywhere except the monthly expenses and bills I’ll get.
All these are the major requirements that helped me get my own house. This is my Step 1.
So if you are thinking of buying a house here in Japan and you are from another country like me, I suggest you get a permanent visa first. Five years or more in a company would tell the bank that you have a stable job, especially if they see from your “gensen choshu-hyo” or tax withholding slip that your salary increases yearly. Although mine didn’t, as I was still a contractual employee in 2019 and 2020.
The financial savings, it’s up to you. You can loan a house in full and even loan more for your furniture and other things. Of course, it’s best to clear all your loans and debts. However, some housebuilders are willing to lend you money for your loans or others to clear your credit, for the bank to approve you of a house loan.
But, if you already have all these requirements, you can proceed to the next step: researching and looking for your dream house—my Step 2. https://kris-in-japan.com/buying-a-house-in-japan-as-a-foreigner-step-2/