Real Estate Transactions in Japan for Foreign Nationals | Role of real estate agents and attorneys

Recently, we receive many inquiries from overseas about purchasing a vacant house (Akiya) in Japan.

In Japan, real estate brokers must support their clients’ real estate transactions through nationally licensed personnel. This license requires knowledge of fundamental laws, such as the Civil Code, and specific laws related to real estate transactions. As a result, attorneys are not commonly involved in routine real estate transactions.

However, when foreigners purchase real estate in Japan, various procedural considerations come into play, which not all real estate agents may be familiar with. Therefore, consulting with a registration specialist (judicial scrivener), a tax specialist (licensed tax accountant), or a legal specialist (attorney) can be beneficial.

If the buyer is unable to come to Japan, a representative is needed to finalize the transaction. An attorney can act as your representative, ensuring a legally compliant and smooth transaction process, while also protecting your funds from potential fraud.

It’s important to note that attorneys cannot assist in the search for real estate. During the search phase, it is advisable to find a trustworthy real estate agent. Once you have located a property, you may contact an attorney for representation in the transaction.

See also:
Real Estate in Japan | Inheritance | Sales
Real Estate Procedures
Practical Guide to Real Estate Transactions in Japan

Published by

Kei Sumikawa

Attorney at Law (Sumikawa Law Office), Kawasaki city, Japan