When considering purchasing a home in Tokyo, one must choose between a newly built house (新築一戸建て, Shinchiku Ikkodate) or a second-hand house (中古一戸建て, Chūko Ikkodate). Further, within the new house category, there’s a choice between a pre-built house (建売住宅, Tateuri Jūtaku) and a custom-built house (注文住宅, Chūmon Jūtaku).
In this guide, we will provide detailed insights into each option, including the process and timeline for moving in, to help you make an informed decision.
Pre-Built Houses (建売住宅, Tateuri Jūtaku)
Pre-built houses are constructed and sold often as part of larger housing developments.
Buyers start by setting their budget and desired specifications, then search for available properties through developers, online platforms, and real estate listings. After selecting a property, buyers can inspect completed houses or review plans for those still under construction.
The purchasing process includes contract signing and arranging financing.
Timeline: For completed properties, moving in can occur about a month after selection. Houses under construction may take around four months from selection to handover.
- Quick acquisition and clear pricing structure.
- Reduced need for involvement in construction.
- Limited options for customization.
- Predominantly located in suburban developments.
Custom-Built Houses (注文住宅, Chūmon Jūtaku)
Custom-built houses are designed and built based on the buyer’s specific requirements. This option involves finding appropriate land, collaborating with architects or builders on the design, and overseeing the construction process.
This process involves detailed discussions and planning, often involving more than ten meetings to finalize the design.
Timeline: Finding suitable land can take 3-6 months, followed by several months for design and planning, and an additional 3-6 months for construction, totaling more than a year in many cases.
- High level of personalization and involvement in the design process.
- Opportunity to create a unique home tailored to specific needs.
- Higher costs due to customization and construction complexity.
- Extended timeline from planning to completion.
Custom-built houses are built based on individual specifications provided by the buyer. This involves a detailed design and construction process tailored to personal preferences.
Newly Built Houses (新築一戸建て, Shinchiku Ikkodate)
Newly Built houses are recently constructed homes that have never been lived in. They include both pre-built and custom-built types.
- Fresh Start: The appeal of being the first occupant in a brand-new home.
- Modern Amenities: Often equipped with the latest facilities, such as solar panels or home batteries.
- Lower Maintenance Costs: Benefiting from modern construction, these homes typically have reduced upkeep expenses.
- Tax and Warranty Advantages: New houses often come with tax incentives and are covered under Japan’s housing quality assurance laws, offering extensive warranty periods.
- Higher Cost: Generally, new houses are more expensive, with costs significantly higher than second-hand houses.
- Suburban Locations: Many new houses are situated in developing suburban areas.
- Additional Expenses: Costs for additional installations like air conditioning and lighting may not be included in the purchase price.
Second-Hand Houses (中古一戸建て, Chūko Ikkodate)
Second-hand houses are properties that have had previous owners. These homes vary in age, design, and condition.
- Affordability: Typically 20-50% cheaper than new houses, offering significant savings.
- Immediate Assessment: The condition of the house, including aspects like sunlight and ventilation, can be directly evaluated.
- Included Installations: Features like air conditioning and lighting are often part of the purchase.
- Renovation Potential: There’s an opportunity to increase value and customize through renovations.
- Character and History: Older homes often possess unique aesthetic qualities developed over time.
- Higher Maintenance: Older properties might require more upkeep and repairs.
- Limited or No Warranty: Shorter warranty periods are common, and some properties may have no warranty coverage.
- Outdated Standards: Some houses might not comply with current building standards, posing challenges in renovation or reconstruction.
Whether considering a new or a second-hand house in Tokyo, each option presents unique advantages and challenges. Your choice should reflect your personal preferences, budget limitations, and readiness for property maintenance or renovations.
Understanding these aspects is key to finding a home that aligns with your lifestyle and financial goals in Tokyo.