I own a flat now
Finally finished buying our flat. I'm planning to write something longer about this in the future, but for now a few thoughts on the process.
1. It was relatively painless, mainly because I knew and trusted the estate agent. With him looking out for me I felt better about stamping random pieces of paper.
2. There is a huge amount to understand. For example, I learned that I should go to the prefectural tax office to apply to have my buyer's tax reduced. I didn't even know there was a buyers tax ;)
3. I also learned you can get a tax rebate on real estate loans for properties older than 25 years old, but only if you have some kind of earthquake-proofing certificate. I'm going to see if I can get hold of one (our flat is 26 years old).
4. The bank ended up lending me an extra 300,000 yen, because their estimates of the costs, while accurate, were thrown off by me not wanting any optional insurance (-100,000 yen) and the estate agent giving us a discount (-200,000 yen). I was expecting them to ask for the extra back, but they haven't yet.
5. The fire and earthquake insurance they initially recommended seems like a complete rip-off. We're buying a 3rd-floor flat, essentially a concrete tube in a building, but the insurance covers lightning strikes and cars driving into the building. The suggested plan was 140,000 yen for ten years, the bare minimum I ended up taking out was 40,000.
6. Variable mortgage payments at my bank seem to be a very client-friendly system. Monthly payments are set for five years, regardless of what the interest rates do. After each 5-year period the monthly payments can be changed by up to 25%.
Our mortgage is a variable 30-year loan at 0.5%, so for now our mortgage payments will be just under 30,000 yen a month.
Anything I should know about as a new property owner?