Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Moving: The Real Estate Agency

This post continues my chronicle of moving to a new apartment in Japan. Last post, I checked out some places online and now I'm ready to look at properties in person.

Week 1, Tuesday:
Within a day, replies come for two of the three apartments from 仲介会社, chuukai gaisha, the real estate agencies that interface between property owners and renters (or buyers) in Japan. I stop by one of the agencies when I happen to be out shopping nearby that same evening.

The agency's employees (after confirming I can communicate with them and that I haven't just inadvertently wandered into the wrong place) ask about my requirements (quiet, under ten years old or newly renovated, on-site parking, reasonable commute), then prepare printouts detailing several different apartments. The agent who emailed me, "Mr. T," offers to drive me around to see some properties that evening. I grab my camera and visit three apartments I liked on paper, but am less impressed when I see them in person.

I let things cook, busy with work for the rest of the week.

Real Mr. T pities the fool who
signs documents under pressure.
Week 2, Tuesday:
Mr. T emails me about some other apartments, and I arrange to visit the agency again. He drives me around to five more locations, three of which I am very interested in. I ask for estimates of the total cost of each, then politely excuse myself and take them home to consider, despite T.'s warnings that we're in a busy season and any one of those apartments could disappear within a single business day if I don't commit now!!


Over the next while, I drive past the properties at different times of day. How noisy are they in the evening? How much traffic goes past them in the morning? How long does it take to commute to work, and which neighborhood roads can I use at what times of day? How tight are the parking spaces?

Now to think about it.

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