Home Inspections in Japan

Poste date: Monday, March 26, 2018

While common in Western countries, in Japan home inspections before purchasing or selling a home is rare. The Japanese government is currently pushing forward the development of laws regarding effective use of home inspections when purchasing or selling pre-owned homes. The purpose being not only to raise the standards of home inspections but also to stimulate the pre-owned housing market.

We have prepared a brief explanation of what is involved in the newly advised “Home Inspection” after the amendment to the “Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business” Act that will into effect in April 2018.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection involves visually checking for deterioration or defects (cracks or leaks in foundation or outer walls) and measuring various parts of a home to make sure everything is level. This process takes place when selling or buying a pre-owned home. The home inspection will be conducted by a qualified architect who has completed the relevant training course and has been registered in Japan as a technical expert for inspecting pre-owned homes (Licensed home inspector specializing in pre-owned homes).

Inspection objectives of a Home Inspection

Objectives of a  includes major parts of the building that pertain to its structural integrity as well as parts that are intended to prevent the ingress of rainwater.

Major parts to be inspected that pertain to structural integrity:
Foundation, sill and floor framing, floor, column and beam, outer wall and eaves back, balcony, inner wall, ceiling, roof truss, ect.

Parts to be inspected that pertain to the ingress of rainwater:
Outer wall, inner wall, ceiling, roof, ect.
*Water supply, drainage pipelines, and the plumbing equipment are usually not included in the inspection but the option to have them inspected as well is available.

The following illustrations and images have been acquired from a document by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

Measuring compressive strength of concrete with a rebound hammer.
Measuring tilt of walls utilising a level gauge.
Checking for loose tiles with a tapping rod.

Advantages of a Home Inspection

Advantages for the Seller

Having an inspection done by a licensed inspector may reduce the chance for complaints or claims by a new owner once the transaction has been concluded. This is due to both parties agreeing upon the condition of the property before the the transaction is complete. An added bonus would be that by disclosing the result of a home inspection during the advertising of a property, a buyer may be more inclined to purchase as there is a lower chance of hidden damages appearing after purchase.

Advantages for the Buyer

The results of a home inspection may be the deciding factor when purchasing a home as it allows the buyer to confirm its condition before all transactions are finalized. The information from the inspection will help the buyer to know if renovations or repairs are necessary after the house is purchased. Furthermore, a buyer is able to use “building defects” insurance for pre-owned housing transactions when the inspection results meet certain criteria, such as no signs of deterioration nor of malfunction.

Client and Fee

The client of a home inspection may either be the seller of a pre-owned home, or the person intending to purchase it. In the event that the buyer is the one requesting a home inspection, they will need to request that a real estate company mediates between them and the seller. The mediating real estate company will then ask the seller to consent to having a home inspection.

*In the case of inspecting a condominium or apartment, you may need to have the consent of the management association as shared spaces may be included in the inspection.

The standard cost of a home inspection is not set and will vary depending on the inspection contractors. Though it also depends on the size of the location to be inspected, such as stand-alone houses or apartments, the current market price can be around 50,000 to 60,000Yen. The fee is usually paid by the client requesting the home inspection.

In Japan, in regards to pre-owned homes, home inspections are still not a very common practice. When a buyer requests an inspection, it is necessary to gain the consent of the seller before proceeding. Once consent is given, various arrangements with the seller such as deciding on an inspector, the time of the inspections, and who will pay for it will need to be settled. We here at PLAZA HOMES are able to provide assistance in the process of a home inspection from the introduction of an inspection contractor, to arranging an inspection upon request from either party. If you are interested in getting a home inspection, please feel free to contact us at anytime.


Exterior of Akasaka Apartment 3F
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Akasaka Apartment is located in Akasaka 8-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo, and was built in March 1999. It has 10 floors above ground with one basement floor and 111 units in total. The apartment building is conveniently located within a 6-minute walk to Aoyama-itchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, a 6-minute walk to Nogizaka Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, and an 11-minute walk to Roppongi Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, providing access to three major lines in the heart of the city. The Aoyama and Roppongi areas are within walking distance, where you can celebrate the arts and cutting-edge trends, and the surrounding area is dotted with embassies, making it a sophisticated and relaxed area. The entrance of the apartment, surrounded by plantings, is colorful and elegant, and also provides a sense of privacy. FamilyMart Aoyama Gaien Higashi Dori Store is about 270m away, Nogi Shrine is about 350m away, Hinokicho Park is about 750m away, Tokyo Midtown is about 800m away, and Akasaka Imperial Palace and Meiji Jingu Gaien are also within walking distance.The room is a 2SLDK type, 71.94sqm of private area, 10.25sqm of balcony, on the 3rd floor of a 10-story building with 1 basement floor. Upon entering the entrance, you will find a spacious shoe closet with a bay window inside the shoe closet. The washroom is a two-bowl type, which avoids crowdedness during the busy morning hours. The service room, although compact, can be used as a third bedroom as it is equipped with a desk space and an open closet. The bedroom facing the balcony has an abundance of storage space with one wall of closet space. The bay window can be used to display small items, adding depth to the room itself. The living/dining room is equipped with floor heating for comfort even in cold weather, and the open-type kitchen makes it easy to communicate with others. The room has been newly renovated, and the main features are as follows. System kitchen, unit bath, washstand, new fittings, replacement of cloths and flooring, etc. Please take a look at the beautifully renovated room through the viewing.


Exterior of Proud Nakameguro 12F
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PROUD Naka-Meguro is an apartment in the PROUD series, formerly constructed in November 2021 by Seibu Kensetsu K.K. and sold by Nomura Real Estate Development Co. It is an 11-minute walk from the popular Naka-Meguro Station, and Meguro and Ebisu areas are also within living distance. The cherry blossom trees along the Meguro River and Nakameguro Park are also close by, creating a green living environment. The building is designed with hotel-like internal corridors, having a 24-hour monitoring system, 24-hour refuse disposal and home delivery lockers in front of the entrance of each unit, which could enhance the quality of safety and convenience of daily life. There is also a dedicated space for pet foot-washing, and therefore, the building is pet-friendly (with detailed regulations for pet-ownership).The apartment is on the 12th floor of a 14-storey building and has a south-west-facing balcony with a lot of natural sunlight and views. The balcony is on the opposite side of Yamanote Dori, so noise should not be a problem. The 2-bedroom type with a private floor area of 60.12 square meters is equipped with storage space in every room. The room facilities include floor heating in the dining area, a dishwasher/dryer, a kitchen faucet with a built-in water purifier and a bathroom heater/dryer. This fabulous apartment is highly recommended to consider for your own residence or as an investment purpose. The internal viewing is highly recommended too, so please contact us for arranging an internal viewing!


Exterior of Kamiyoga 1-chome House
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