• Top Real Estate Agencies in Japan: The Definitive Guide

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    Japan has long been the favorite spot when foreigners travel or relocate to Asia, in fact, there are around 3 times more foreigners living in Japan compared to China, for example. Of course, this has helped to drive up the demand for property in the residential sector and the commercial sector.

    You have a number of real estate agencies to choose among, being one of the financial hearts in Asia, every major player in the real estate industry has set up offices here. You’ll also be able to find a number of local ones that have a long history of helping foreigners who wish to buy properties.

    In this article, I list some of the biggest and most popular real estate agencies in Japan.

    Introductory remark

    The real estate agencies are listed in a random order.

    1. Ken Corporation

    Ken Corporation established its first office in 1972 and currently has seven offices in Tokyo and one in Yokohama. With an impressive number of 480 professionals and managing around 13,000 properties the company has established a great footprint in Tokyo.

    You’ll also find a number of affiliated companies directly connected to Ken Corporation, working with a number of services like hotel management, investment advice, design & construction and more.

    Property types

    Includes mainly residential properties like apartments, condos and houses.

    Services offered

    • Sales and leasing
    • Property management
    • Expat assistance

    Office address

    1 Chome-2-7 Nishiazabu, Minato, Tokyo 106-8640, Japan

    2. Cushman & Wakefield Japan

    Cushman & Wakefield is one of the biggest real estate agencies in the world with around 45,000 professionals working in 70 countries. The company opened their first Japan office in 1997 and currently have around 100 professionals offering services nationally.

    Todd Olson is currently the company’s CEO and has more than 25 years experience of working in the real estate industry in Japan, he’s also fluent in Japanese. Prior to joining C&W, he held different management positions in other companies, for example, he worked for JLL Japan during 10 years.

    Property types

    Includes both residential and commercial properties, for example:

    • Apartments
    • Houses
    • Hotels
    • Office space
    • Retail properties

    Services offered

    • Tenant Advisory
    • Agency Leasing
    • Capital Markets – Investment Sales & Asset Management
    • Valuation & Advisory
    • Project & Development Services
    • Retail Services
    • Logistics Services
    • Japan Desk

    Office address

    Sanno Park Tower 13F 2-11-1 Nagatacho 2-11-1 Nagatacho Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo,, Japan, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-6113, Japan

    3. CBRE Japan

    CBRE is one of the largest real estate companies in the world and opened up their first Japan branch in 1970. The company has grown quickly and currently serves a number of other cities: Sapporo, Sendai, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Kanazawa, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

    CBRE’s management consists of many foreigners who have long experience in the real estate industry, the current Executive Chairman is Rob Blain, he’s residing in Hong Kong and responsible for 17,000 employees located in over 100 offices.

    Property types

    CBRE has over 850,000 properties in their portfolio, you can find all kinds of residential and commercial properties available.

    Services offered

    • Sales and leasing
    • Valuation
    • Property management
    • Consulting
    • Others

    Office address

    Meiji Yasuda Seimei Building, 2-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005

    4. Colliers International Japan

    With more than 15,000 professionals working in 69 offices worldwide, Colliers is one of the biggest real estate agencies globally. It was originally founded in Canada in 1898 but became a major player as a result of the merger with three other companies, they moved to the United States in 1976.

    Even if Colliers is one of the biggest real estate agencies in the world, they first announced in September 2017 that they will set up their first office in Tokyo. Katsuji Tokita will be acting as the branch’s Managing Director, while Hazumu Iwase will act as Executive Director. Together, they have more than five decades of experience working the real estate industry in Japan.

    Property types

    Colliers manages both residential and commercial properties, including apartments, houses, factories, retail properties, office space and more.

    Services offered

    • Tenant representation
    • Corporate solutions
    • Project management
    • Capital markets
    • Investment services
    • Valuation & advisory

    Office address

    6 Chome-9-6 Shinbashi, Minato, Tokyo 105-0004, Japan

    5. JLL Japan

    JLL established in 1783 and is currently one of the biggest and oldest real estate agencies globally. The company has almost 80,000 employees working in 80 countries worldwide, not surprisingly, it’s a Fortune 500 company.

    They opened their first office in Tokyo in 1985 and has continued to open two other offices in Tokyo, one in Fukuoka and one in Osaka. In total, the company has 1000 professionals working nationally, helping both local and foreign buyers.

    Toshinobu Kasai is acting as the company’s CEO, he has a long experience in real estate and an impressive track record. Holding various positions in the banking industry, he previously Headed Goldman Sachs’ Japanese division and launched Goldman Sachs Realty in Asia.

    Property types

    Include both residential and commercial properties, for example, retail properties, office space, apartments, houses and more.

    Services offered

    • Sales and leasing
    • Facilities management
    • Consulting
    • Portfolio management
    • Others

    Office address

    JLL K.K., Prudential Tower, 2-13-10, Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0014

    6. Century 21 Sky Realty

    Century 21 is together with RE/MAX one of the largest networks of franchised real estate agencies globally. Over 100,000 professionals work in 7000 different offices in almost 80 countries.

    Century 21 Sky Realty was founded by Kenneth Arbour in Tokyo in 1985 and currently has 11 employees, including both foreigners and Japanese nationals. Kenneth has resided in Japan for decades where he also has his family.

    Property types

    The company mainly sells residential properties like apartments and houses in Tokyo.

    Services offered

    • Residential leasing
    • Office leasing
    • Asset and property management
    • Investment transactions

    Office address

    Century 21 SKY Realty, Inc., Yatsuka Bldg. 1F, 1-3-8, Higashi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0044, Japan

    7. RE/MAX Japan

    RE/MAX is together with Century 21 one of the biggest franchised real estate networks in the world. The company was founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1973 and have more than 90,000 professionals working in over 7000 offices worldwide.

    The first RE/MAX office was opened in 2013 in Japan and they have managed to expand since then.

    Property types

    Include all kinds of residential and commercial properties, for example:

    • Houses
    • Land
    • Condos
    • Retail properties
    • Office space
    • Others

    Services offered

    The company helps locals and foreigners to buy or rent properties.

    Office address

    Access map 4th Floor, Yotsuya ISY Building 2-12-5 Yotsuya Ward, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0004

    8. Savills Japan Co., Ltd.

    Established in London in 1855, Savills is one of the oldest and biggest real estate agencies in the world. The company has 30,000 professionals working worldwide, with hundreds located in Japan.

    Savills Japan Co., Ltd. has grown rapidly since it was established through Savills acquisition of GMAC Commercial Mortgage Japan in 2004, at that time, part of General Motors. Christian F. Mancini has been the branch CEO since 2007, he has over 15 years experience in real estate and is also the CEO of their complete Asia Pacific operations.

    Property types

    The company manages both commercial and residential properties, for example, apartments, houses, office space, retail property and more.

    Services offered

    • Investment Advisory
    • Research & Consultancy
    • Valuation
    • Tenant Representation
    • Property Management
    • Office Leasing

    Office address

    15F Yurakucho ITOCIA, 2-7-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0006, Japan

    How high are the agent commissions in Japan?

    You generally need to pay 3% + JPY 60,000 – consumption tax as brokerage fee. Just making some comparisons, in Hong Kong you pay 1% and in the Philippines 2-3%.

    Can I get a mortgage as a non-resident foreigner in Japan?

    Receiving a mortgage as a non-resident foreigner is not an easy task, foreigners can be granted a mortgage in case they manage to fulfill any of the following requirements:

    • Be married to a Japanese spouse
    • Previous work experience in Japan
    • Having a spouse that possesses a residence permit
    • Be a permanent resident (fortunately, it’s getting easier to become one)

    Should I hire a Solicitor in Japan?

    Even if Japan has a transparent and well-functioning legal system, you need to hire a local Solicitor to help you in the conveyancing process. The seller might not be able to speak Japanese and a lot of documents will be written in the Japanese language.

    The Solicitor can help you with a number of items, for example:

    a. To communicate with the seller and his or her side

    b. Draft the contracts

    c. Talk with local authorities involved in the buying and transferring process

    d. Check the title deed at the LAB (the Legal Affairs Bureau)

    Keep in mind that you can deduct Solicitor fees from the withholding tax, that’s applied to the rental income with a rate of 20.24%.

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