Still expensive, but something I actually want now
The house-building saga continues. In part one I explained why we are suddenly looking for a company to build a house for us. In part two I shared our initial quote, an eye-watering 46 million yen.
After writing that post I wasn't really happy with spending that much money on something I didn't particularly want. It was too much compromise and not good enough.
Then I read this post by Mark Brierley, which led us to take another look at Ichijo Komuten, and to this quote for the floorplan above:
It is still expensive (keep in mind we are not buying the land, just clearing the existing house and building this new one).
However, it is 4 million yen cheaper than the last quote, and much better quality:
- The solar panels have twice the capacity (10kW instead of 5kW)
- It's a hiraya (bungalow)
- It has underfloor heating/cooling
- It has a heat exchange ventilation system that controls the humidity
- The walls use foam insulation instead of glass wool
- I loved the design when I saw the model house (it's modern simple)
- I really like the floorplan we ended up with (the 'den' is going to be my writing room, overlooking the deck and the prefectural forest park)
The guy we are dealing with at Ichijo is doing a good job on anchoring us on this. Unfortunately for him, there are three big conditions regardless of how hard he works:
- My in-laws will have to chip in 1/3 of the purchase price (so 14 million if we don't manage to bargain Ichijo down much)
- My brother-in-law will have to agree to them giving the land to my wife or I, and to them giving us said 14 million
- My mother-in-law will have to agree to get rid of a lot of her stuff, otherwise our modern simple house is just going to be 'mindless clutter style'
We're going to stay the night in an i-Smart model house (the same model as we are considering) with my in-laws next month, and then we're going to have a family meeting with them and my brother-in-law. If all goes really well, we'll move forward on the project after that.
If it doesn't work out, we'll just stay in our manshon ;)
Before signing though I have a couple of problems with Ichijo's quote:
- When we first met the guy, he said 'you can build a hiraya for the same price!', which we were impressed with. Then the third time we met with him he said 'you only have to pay an extra 20,000 yen per tsubo for a hiraya'. This is an extra 840,000 yen on the price of the house. I'm going to do my best to hold him to the original statement before signing.
- They charge per tsubo for a lot of things, including the humidity control upgrade for the ventilation system. This seems insane to me. So this machine costs 450,000 yen if we have a small house but 630,000 yen for our house? We'll be having a chat about that too.
I'm also intending to get an insane amount of detail in the quote before signing. I've heard lots of horror stories about people being upsold once they are no longer in a position to negotiate ('oh, you want stairs? That's an optional upgrade').
One thing I was very pleased though is the numbers on this purchase. It seems like it is actually going to be slightly cheaper for us to live in the new house than our current manshon. Check it out:
Current manshon costs
- mortgage 30,000 yen a month (9.9 million @ 0.5% for 30 years)
- manshon fees 20,000 yen a month
- parking space 8,000 yen a month
- electricity bill 10-20,000 yen a month
- gas bill 5-10,000 yen a month
Projected house costs
- mortgage 80,000 yen a month (28 million @ 0.6 for 35 years)
- electricity bill -18,000 yen a month (they pay us -monthly average)
We'll also make about 3 million when we sell the manshon, which invested for a 3% yield takes a further 7,000 yen off the house monthly, for a monthly cost of about 55,000 yen.
Add in the mortgage tax break and the tax break for having elderly family members living with you, and things look even better.
Now I think we'll pay more in land tax and various random bits of upkeep, but at least it isn't as bad as I first thought financially, and of course it will be a far more pleasant place to live.
What do you think of our tentative plan? Are we missing anything? What should I be thinking about?