Normally, if you are being represented by an experienced real estate agent in Japan, there is a possibility of getting 0-5% discounton the asking priceof a real estate property. In Japan property owners don’t normally like to negotiate and it is not always easy to negotiate in Japan the way it is in Western countries. You directly trying to negotiate means you feel that they are asking an unfair price. Hence, it is very crucial that you enjoy a good and confidential relationship with your real estate agent when you are trying to invest in good property in Japan.


In Japan, there is no direct interaction between a buyer and a seller. It is also often difficult to talk to the seller’s agent directly as a buyer. Interaction at every level happens between real estate agents. Hence, the information about the possibility of negotiating when buying property in Japan is presented here just for the sake of having an awareness of how the entire process works. Ultimately, it is in the hands of your capable real estate agent who is well acquainted with the Japanese real estate market.

Although the property owner or the real estate agent who is listing the property takes into account many factors before deciding on the listing price, if you have ground level knowledge of the market, there is some good scope for negotiating and saving money when buying property, or getting more money when selling property. An experienced real estate agent can help you with that.

Negotiation can happen at both ends. It isn’t necessary that you would want to negotiate only when you are buying property or when you are investing in property. When you are negotiating, the property owner or the real estate agent promoting the property will also negotiate. Then both the parties will have to find a common ground, the final price.

The scope of negotiating when buying real estate property in Japan

First of all, if you’re buying property in Japanas a foreigner (let’s suppose someone who lives in another country and doesn’t speak Japanese), your best bet is working with a local real estate agentbecause, since he or she is in the thick of things, the sort of information that you need to be able to negotiate, can best be provided by your local real estate agent from Japan.

You must have heard or read somewhere that people in Japan don’t like to negotiate, especially when selling property. This might be true, but it doesn’t mean there is no possibility of a satisfying negotiation. There are some conditions in which you can ask for a discount. Listed below are a few things you should keep in mind when coming up with a negotiation strategy on the asking price of a real estate property.


Negotiating an offer, or a request for a discount, should be in written

Being very polite and cordial people, the Japanese find themselves in an awkward position when they have to refuse a discount to the face of the other person. Hence, it is always better to offer a counter price in writing. Better, negotiate through your real estate agent.

Find out for how long the property has been on the market

If the real estate property has been in the market for a long time, it means it isn’t able to find many buyers. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is some problem with the property and you should reconsider buying it – there can be many factors that have nothing to do with the condition of the property that may cause the property to remain in the market for a long time. Anyway, if the property has been in the market for a long time, there is good scope for negotiation and your real estate agent can advise you on that.

What is the urgency of the real estate owner?

How much you can negotiate when buying real estate property in Japan also depends on how urgently the owner desires to sell the property. If speed is more important than the final selling price, the seller may be open to some negotiation just to be able to sell the property quickly and move on.

Your cash readiness

Cash buyers are in a better position to bargain especially when the real estate owner has had some problems with previous prospects due to cash issues. As the proverb goes, one bird in your hand is better than two birds in the bush, sometimes, just to quickly get the cash, sellers are ready to negotiate. It may not happen all the time but try to obtain this information from your real estate agent to improve your scope for negotiation when buying property in Japan.

Your financial preparedness

If you are applying for mortgage, make sure you have got all the paperwork done to prove that you are eligible. Everything you need to make you eligible for a mortgage, including your income tax statements, bank statements, credit rating, medical certificates and a slew of other necessary documents, must be ready and duly attested. If you can prove to the seller that your mortgage is preapproved or there are many banks ready to give you the needed loan, you will be in a better position to negotiate because then the seller will know that he or she is going to get his or her money without much problem.

The competency and professionalism of your real estate agent well-versed with the Japanese market

Whether you can negotiate successfully also depends on how much knowledge of the local Japanese real estate marketyour agent has. Many agents personally know property sellers and they enjoy a rapport that someone from abroad may not enjoy. The local agents can obtain the needed information to instill legitimacy and power into your negotiation tactics.

How many offers the seller has received

If the seller has received many offers, then naturally he or she is in a better position to negotiate than the person who wants to buy the property. This might be inside knowledge and sometimes it may only be available with your real estate agent. When you have the right information with you, you know when to persist and went to explore other options.

Negotiating with the builder when buying real estate property in Japan

Whether you can negotiate or not rests a lot on the type of seller. Your seller may be a direct property owner or he or she may be a builder.

Builders – construction companies who build multi-storied residential complexes for selling individual living units – are normally not open to offering discounts because they have set procedures of selling their properties. Also, there is great demand for such properties. Most of these properties are pre-sold even before they are completed.

But, it doesn’t mean properties from builders cannot be negotiated for. If there are some units remaining unsold and the builder hasn’t been able to sell them, he or she may be open to negotiations and offer you a discount. In fact, you will have great bargaining power and may enjoy bigger discounts if, as mentioned above, the properties in question have been in the market without being sold for a long time.

Due to various economic or natural reasons, market prices fluctuate. If the property prices have fallen, you may get a discount from the builder. On the other hand, if the property prices are rising, the builder may not offer you a discount because when property prices are rising, it normally means there is more demand for these properties.

Is there another way of negotiating a discount?

If the seller is a real estate company instead of a direct owner, there is a possibility of getting a discount in the commission fee.

A real estate company is an entity that builds new houses as a builder, or remodels or renovates an existing property for the sake of selling it at a premium. Such a builder pays the agent responsible for the sale 3% of the sale price plus ¥ 60,000 plus tax (applicable according to the sale price of the property). Although this may not be possible all the time, as a buyer, you can request a discount on the commission fee from the real estate agent you are dealing with.


Concluding a negotiation when buying real estate property in Japan

Negotiation is a natural process when you are buying property not just in Japan but anywhere in the world. Aside from various market factors, property prices are also decided by the property owners or the property sellers. This means they are not written in stone and there is scope for negotiation. Access to the right information is the key. In this regard, partnering with a capable real estate agent in Japan is invaluable.


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