So now you've found that little piece of heaven, are generally happy with price (though in truth like all things in Japan you'll always feel like you've over-paid a little), you trust your agent, you have a good image of what the place will look like. So how do you get a house loan if you're a foreigner?
As a foreigner, you're choices are fairly limited. Basically MUFJ is the only place I know that will give loans to foreigners who do not possess permanent residency (eijuken). Even then they will look at your income level, employer, how long you've been employed, etc before they lend you a dime.
Important to note that you don't necessarily need to have eijuken. As the process takes many months, many banks will accept proof that your application has been received by Immigration.
Once you have permanent residency, the options are more open. Mizuho in my experience has very good service and allows you to add things like furniture and agent fees into the loan. However, it appears they are less willing to lend you over a certain amount than say MUFJ. I would not bother talking to SMBC unless you have 20% down payment ready.
If you make a bid on land it's usually customary to provide of 10% cash while the loan is being approved. If the loan falls through you get your money back. If you decide to back out of your offer for any other reasons you must forfeit the 10%. Many feel slightly uneasy as the money is not actually held in escrow and you have no control over what the owner does with the money while the loan is being processed. Thus many people prefer to have a pre-approved loan.
The process is termed in Japanese as Jizen Shinsa "pre-determined examination". Once you've signed the home contract you must then go through the Seishiki "Formal" shinsa though in theory it should be fairly straightforward if all parameters are unchanged.
Here's a quick breakdown of the paperwork you will need:
- Certificate of Alien Registration (must include all family members)
- Most recent City Residence Tax Appraisal.
- Annual Income Certificate from Employer for the last 3 years.
- Proof of permanent residency application.
- Land cost Estimate
- Building Cost Estimate
- Design Estimate.
- Architectural schematics
- Copy of Land Deed from Real Estate Agent.
- Copy of Land on a map.
- Copy of Land Measurement Survey.
- Copy of any other outstanding loans payment schedules (e.g: car)