Home Inspections in Japan

Poste date: Monday, March 26, 2018

While common in Western countries, in Japan home inspections before purchasing or selling a home is rare. The Japanese government is currently pushing forward the development of laws regarding effective use of home inspections when purchasing or selling pre-owned homes. The purpose being not only to raise the standards of home inspections but also to stimulate the pre-owned housing market.

We have prepared a brief explanation of what is involved in the newly advised “Home Inspection” after the amendment to the “Building Lots and Buildings Transaction Business” Act that will into effect in April 2018.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection involves visually checking for deterioration or defects (cracks or leaks in foundation or outer walls) and measuring various parts of a home to make sure everything is level. This process takes place when selling or buying a pre-owned home. The home inspection will be conducted by a qualified architect who has completed the relevant training course and has been registered in Japan as a technical expert for inspecting pre-owned homes (Licensed home inspector specializing in pre-owned homes).

Inspection objectives of a Home Inspection

Objectives of a  includes major parts of the building that pertain to its structural integrity as well as parts that are intended to prevent the ingress of rainwater.

Major parts to be inspected that pertain to structural integrity:
Foundation, sill and floor framing, floor, column and beam, outer wall and eaves back, balcony, inner wall, ceiling, roof truss, ect.

Parts to be inspected that pertain to the ingress of rainwater:
Outer wall, inner wall, ceiling, roof, ect.
*Water supply, drainage pipelines, and the plumbing equipment are usually not included in the inspection but the option to have them inspected as well is available.

The following illustrations and images have been acquired from a document by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

Measuring compressive strength of concrete with a rebound hammer.
Measuring tilt of walls utilising a level gauge.
Checking for loose tiles with a tapping rod.

Advantages of a Home Inspection

Advantages for the Seller

Having an inspection done by a licensed inspector may reduce the chance for complaints or claims by a new owner once the transaction has been concluded. This is due to both parties agreeing upon the condition of the property before the the transaction is complete. An added bonus would be that by disclosing the result of a home inspection during the advertising of a property, a buyer may be more inclined to purchase as there is a lower chance of hidden damages appearing after purchase.

Advantages for the Buyer

The results of a home inspection may be the deciding factor when purchasing a home as it allows the buyer to confirm its condition before all transactions are finalized. The information from the inspection will help the buyer to know if renovations or repairs are necessary after the house is purchased. Furthermore, a buyer is able to use “building defects” insurance for pre-owned housing transactions when the inspection results meet certain criteria, such as no signs of deterioration nor of malfunction.

Client and Fee

The client of a home inspection may either be the seller of a pre-owned home, or the person intending to purchase it. In the event that the buyer is the one requesting a home inspection, they will need to request that a real estate company mediates between them and the seller. The mediating real estate company will then ask the seller to consent to having a home inspection.

*In the case of inspecting a condominium or apartment, you may need to have the consent of the management association as shared spaces may be included in the inspection.

The standard cost of a home inspection is not set and will vary depending on the inspection contractors. Though it also depends on the size of the location to be inspected, such as stand-alone houses or apartments, the current market price can be around 50,000 to 60,000Yen. The fee is usually paid by the client requesting the home inspection.

In Japan, in regards to pre-owned homes, home inspections are still not a very common practice. When a buyer requests an inspection, it is necessary to gain the consent of the seller before proceeding. Once consent is given, various arrangements with the seller such as deciding on an inspector, the time of the inspections, and who will pay for it will need to be settled. We here at PLAZA HOMES are able to provide assistance in the process of a home inspection from the introduction of an inspection contractor, to arranging an inspection upon request from either party. If you are interested in getting a home inspection, please feel free to contact us at anytime.


Exterior of Crest Prime Tower Shiba 12F
Sale Property tag

Crest Prime Tower Shiba is a large-scale tower apartment with 483 units, 39 floors above ground and 2 floors below ground, built in August 2007 by Shimizu Corporation. The high-ceilinged lobby and entrance hall are impressive, with a sense of luxury and serenity. The apartment has a full range of common areas, including a fitness studio, piano hall, guest suites, sky lounge, etc. In addition, attentive concierge services provide ideal support to the residents. The location is very convenient for daily life with Lawson Kanasugibashi convenient store 120m away, Maruetsu Petit Hamamatsucho 2-chome store 400m away, and many other restaurants and cafes scattered around, which makes a life in this apartment not only convenient but also enjoyable.


Exterior of RESION Shirokane Cross 5F
Sale Property tag

RESION Shirokane Cross was built in March 2000 by Shimizu Corporation and formerly sold by Nissho Iwai and Nissho Iwai Fudosan Co. The stately stone entrance faces Meguro Street and is within living distance of the Shirokanedai and Azabu areas. The building is a 5-minute walk from Shirokanetakanawa Station on the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line and Toei Mita Line, and a 7-minute walk from Shirokanedai Station. Sengakuji Station on the Toei Asakusa Line is also a 14-minute walk away, providing access to airports and the Shinkansen. Pets are allowed (subject to certain conditions) and the property is well managed with a front desk services.