How to find a sharehouse in Japan
Sharehouse hunting in Japan is a little different
Where to start when you try to find a sharehouse in Japan? Of course, the first step is property search. But sharehouse is a rather new thing in Japanese society, and the way to search sharehouses is a little different from ones in other countries. Also, this column will introduce other tips to find a sharehouse in Japan.
The first step to new life in Japan, how to find the right sharehouse
How to search sharehouses, difference between Japan and western countries
Study, work or working holiday, no matter of the purpose of your travel to Japan, the first thing you have to do after arriving in Japan is finding a place to live. Most commonly, people just visit real estate agents to find an ordinary rental property. However, no matter of their nationalities, students and new employees tend to be attracted by budget properties. Reflecting their demands for affordable accommodations, sharehouses are rapidly gaining in popularity in Japan. If you are from a western country, you must have been familiar to sharehouse culture, but the things are slightly different in Japan.
Where to find sharehouses in Japan
Web portal is the most commonly used tool
Probably, looking up in classified ads on newspapers is the most commonly used way to find a house share in your country. Generally in western countries, house share seekers pick up houses advertised on media and directly contact to the advertisers by themselves. But this is not the case in Japan. Sharehouses in Japan are normally ran by corporate entities for their own businesses or upon requests from their clients, and they hardly advertise their houses on newspapers. Instead of classified ads, they use web portals on the internet. Similar to real estate agents’ websites, you can pick up houses that meet your request and check descriptions on web portals by specifying city, area, railway line. Depending on each site, you can use detailed search by selecting words such as “meals” and “smoke” or entering key words. Once you find a house you like, you can send an inquiry to the management company via web site to make an appointment for inspection.
What to watch for when searching a sharehouse
3 things you should watch for
To find a sharehouse best suit you, gathering information is crucial. Description on a web portal only tells you the basics about the property. There are many things you can never notice, for example an atmosphere of the house, until you visit and see the house. Ask the property manager about the following points at an inspection.
Check before signing
In addition to basic information you can check on a web site such as rent and minimum stay, ask about responsibility for recovery cost of damaged property and procedures when making or terminating a tenancy contract. Unlike hiring an ordinary rental property, no deposit and key money required when renting a room in a sharehouse most of the time, but some sharehouse owners charge you front-end payment. Therefore ask the property manager if you are required to make any payments other than monthly rent.
Check it with your own eyes
Check through public areas, bed rooms, defects if any, disaster prevention, security system to see if these facilities meet your requirements. Also, look around the surrounding area of the house to check the environs and public safety of the area.
Most important part in sharehouse
Other than rent, location and facilities, ask about house rules, cleaning of public areas, if there is an on-site care taker and other things relating to everyday life. You will be sharing a place to live with many other people, so don’t forget to check the number of sharemates and their personalities.
You need pass a screening
House manager screens tenants
Even though you have found a house you like most and applied for it, it doesn’t mean that you can move in straight away. Before you start living in a sharehouse, you need to pass a screening by a house manager. At an interview, you will be required to provide basic information about yourself including age, income and occupation. Some share-houses set their own concepts and only take tenants who match their concepts. In such a case, a house manager will check if you suit their concepts.
Do your homework to find a sharehouse best suit you!
A picture is worth a thousand words
Considering all the things mentioned earlier, the most important point when searching a sharehouse is taking yourself down to the place. You can preview inside the house on your computer or smart phone, but it is hard to capture the accurate size of the house or environs of the area on the computer screen. Collect as much information as possible beforehand to find the best sharehouse for yourself.