Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chapter 31: Tax Breaks (Day 105)


Besides the fact the land prices were coming down this year, another great incentive was the “special tax deduction on purchase of a new dwelling or house”. Essentially, if you bought a new house from 2009 to 2010 and lived in it for more than 6 months you are eligible up to a maximum of 500,000 in tax credits FOR TEN YEARS. That’s up to 5 Million yen! Now this is an awfully simplistic explanation as there are conditions but they are not unreasonable. Go to the link if you A) don’t believe me and B) want all the gritty details (use Google Translate if you can’t read the Japanese):

The link below is a tax credit simulator which takes inputs such as your yearly income, Loan amount, term and interest and deduces how much you’ll save from the Tax man.

In our situation since we won’t be living in the actual house until 2011, the maximum credit drops to 400,000 for 10 Years, which is a bit of bummer. But I’ll take it :)

Not much information in English about this but if you want to research more and are adept at reading broken Google Translate English use the following search terms:
住宅ローン控除 (じゅうたく ろーん こうじょ)
住宅ローン減税 (じゅうたく ろーん げんぜい)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chapter 30 – Bath, Electrical, and real wood floors. (Day 92)

Lately Sakamoto-san and us have been exchanging emails almost daily on all sorts of details. Exterior colors, AC piping, etc. When we signed the building contract we had a general idea on colors and the estimate was based on the grade or quality of the materials. This allowed us to start construction without having to wait and decide every fine point. This is a major money saver considering how much one spends on rent in Tokyo. I’ve heard couples taking 1 year to plan everything, but we can’t afford to wait that long and so far it’s working out.

Below is one of the sketches which Sakamoto-san suggested in terms of color coordination and which we agreed with.


Below was the other option which we passed on. Unless you are an artist or are great at visualizing materials and color coordination then I would make sure your architect is willing to sketch out their ideas and suggestions. It’s really helps to make a decision quickly. HUGE TIME SAVER!


On terms of building progress, the bathroom is being installed this week. A last minute add-on was the Jacuzzi function. One of those things little touches…:)


The exterior of the house has been wrapped in felt and wire. This is the preparation for the stucco siding.


Our second floor patio has been water sealed using a fiberglass compound. This crucial or else our bedroom just below will have water leaking through. This is really the under deck as it will get covered with a wood deck. There are 2 main drainage area and 3 extra overflow holes just in case for those sudden heavy down pours.


Most of the electrical wiring has been run throughout the house along with Gigabit Network wiring. It will all terminate in the Utility Room and there will be a special shelf for all the networking equipment.


And finally REAL WOOD floors, not plywood with something pasted on top of it. This is real oak. Price wise it’s a little more expensive but mainly because you have to add coats of paint and/or varnish. The kids can’t wait to be able to roam around a little. We’ve been asked to keep them away from site visits until the big power saws are taken away. A very sensible recommendation by our builders.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chapter 29 – Building Update (Day 88)

Here’s a quick update on the home building.

New move-in date has been pushed back about 10 days due to interior cabinetry production delays. So we are now scheduled for Mid-February.

A bit of a surprise here. We live within 10 minutes from a busy train station which means stricter fire regulations, hence more fire-proof windows. All this makes sense until we got the unfortunate surprise that all our windows need to have wire meshing which is not ideal from an aesthetic perspective. We are exploring options for the windows with views of the garden and deck areas. Stay tuned.


More Insulation:
Wall insulation has been installed. It’s fiberglass wool but we doubled the standard thickness to 10cm thick. Not only is this better for insulation but also for sound proofing. We considered polyurethane foam but we were left unconvinced by the higher price tag and the fact that there is not much data out there about effects of exposure. The guys spraying the stuff wear masks and gloves…maybe we’re just ignorant but we stuck with the tried and tested.


Once they fill the cavity they cover it with plastic sheet before the dry wall is installed.


Below is our ventilation system with air heat exchange unit from Daikin. This is only on the first floor where there are more walls and airflow is lesser than on the second floor. Fresh air while minimizing energy loss! While I’m on this topic, I got my estimate on the AC units we will need for the home. Though Sanryo builders had offered 25% discount on the MSRP, I’ve managed to get an additional 20% with free shipping from a online vendor. Less convenient but the extra coordination effort on my part will pay for my dishwasher.