Trustworthy Tokyo Real Estate Listing Sites



It can be quite intimidating to find a new home in a foreign location – navigating not only different standards, but a different language as well. Fortunately, Tokyo has several real estate agents and listing sites that cater to foreign residents. Below are our top picks of trustworthy Japanese sites and SEO sites specifically geared towards expats.

Tokyo Real Estate Listing Sites in English

Only a few sites offer full search functions in English, as this is a fairly small market in Tokyo. The most comprehensive site of all is realestate.co.jp, which offers the most detailed filters for rental and purchase listings. In addition to standard properties, they list furnished and short-term rentals, making them a great starting point for your research.

Housing Japan and Plaza Homes are real estate agents specializing in serving expats and international investors. They both offer filtering options (but not a lot) and are geared towards luxury properties (i.e. they don’t even care about rental properties below JPY 150,000 per month).

Japanese Real Estate Listing Sites

Your Google search for a Japanese-language real estate listing site will likely return Suumo and Homes among the top results. These sites are, unfortunately, laden with properties that have already been sold or rented – agents leave expired listings of properties that are too good to be true as bait for new potential clients.

If you want to search in Japanese, we recommend using at home. The database backend of this site is connected to REINS, an official Japanese real estate database to which licensed real estate agents have access. Therefore, the home results are in fact still on the market.

If you are looking to rent, another site you should consider is Urban Renaissance (UR). Renting in Japan typically requires a down payment of around 3-4 months’ rent on top of your actual rent. These costs are made up of agency fees, the famous door step, the deposit, and possibly the costs of the guarantor company. UR is a government-backed agency that manages approximately 750,000 properties across Japan with market indexed prices. Buildings are generally recently renovated to a high standard and available to Japanese and foreign tenants without having to pay a key, agency or other fees. Only a deposit is required, which can amount to more than a month’s rent depending on the property. However, it will be returned to you in full if you leave the item in good condition.

Rents from URs are also often lower than those from private landlords in the same neighborhood. The only downside is that the apartments are available on a first come, first served basis or by lottery for newly opened complexes. As a semi-public service, it is naturally in Japanese. Agencies like Whitestone offer foreigners full support in the UR process. Although this is in addition to the initial fee, it may be worth considering if you are looking for a place to stay for at least 2 years and don’t speak Japanese. For those who speak Japanese, a visit to the UR office in person is the best way to find out what properties are currently available.

By Mareike Dornhege

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