January 12, 2018

Dear Rica, I have heard that Japan requires registration for almost everything!

Get Answers about Owning, Renting and Living in Greater Kobe. Please submit your comments to Dear Rica, I have heard that Japan requires registration for almost everything! I am feeling a bit nervous about our upcoming move to Kobe from Tokyo this spring. My husband is Japanese and I am on a spouse visa. Since my husband works full-time, the task of getting all these registrations done has fallen to me. I am feeling a bit daunted by it all! Daunted Debbie Dear Daunted Deb, Fortunately, although it can definitely be time-consuming, Kobe City has provided careful instructions for 3 different moving scenarios. Please check the scenarios below and click

July 2, 2017

What Professionals are Involved in a Home Purchase?

Ben Y., a 40-year old Australian telecommuting computer engineer, has been eager to purchase a home for his growing family (a Japanese wife and 2 children under 5) for several years. He already owns a house in Australia, but wants to live in the Kansai area near his wife’s aging parents. Ben has limited Japanese skills, and even less knowledge about buying property in Japan.  From the outset, he has been concerned about the differences between Japan and Australia in this regard. We spoke with Sachiko Inoue and Fumihiro Saeki, both  shihoushoshi-lawyers and co-founders of Kobe Legal Partners, to get the scoop about the various players involved in a home

July 2, 2017

Ashiya-Okuike—Hyogo’s Up-and-Coming Shangrila

For many city dwellers, the word “Shangrila” conjures up images of a remote, beautiful, peaceful, yet mythical place where life approaches perfection. Ashiya-Okuike, located 500-600 meters above sea level in the Rokko mountain range north of Ashiya proper, may be pretty close to this Utopian ideal according to local residents. Okuike is a world unto itself. Surrounded by national forests on all sides, yet only a 15-minute drive to the conveniences, restaurants, and culture of the greater Kobe area, Okuike offers an almost retreat-like atmosphere of serenity and solitude that attracts many who desire their own secluded oasis. Until the 1990s, Okuike’s generally affluent residents co-existed with hundreds of corporate

May 18, 2017

Due Diligence—10 Things to Check Before Buying a New Home

Before buying your new home in Japan, there are certain things that you need to check out. Due to language barriers and differences in disclosure requirements between your home country and Japan, it is advisable to use your bilingual real estate agent to gather information and field questions for you. In addition to the physical structure of the building itself, there are a number of concerns and possible risks stemming from Japan’s unique geography—earthquakes, tsunami, etc. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. The questions you need to ask will depend on the type of property you buy and want you would like to do with it. Check

May 18, 2017

7 Steps for Buying Residential Property in Japan

So, you have decided to give up your  gypsy lifestyle as a renter and take the big plunge of becoming a homeowner—king or queen of your castle! However, you have never bought residential property, let alone in Japan. Read on to see the 7 steps  involved in buying a condo or home in Japan for your residence. After an offer is made, a purchase agreement is usually signed within 1-2 weeks, with the closing occurring 3-4 weeks after that. Finding the Right House or Condo (and the Right Real Estate Agent!): Although you can search through ads and online listings, this can be very time-consuming and may not provide you

May 18, 2017

Dear Rica, I am seriously thinking about buying a home in Japan

Get Answers about Owning, Renting and Living in Greater Kobe. Please submit your comments to Dear Rica, I am seriously thinking about buying a home in Japan—either a condo or a house. I have always been a renter, so buying my first home in a foreign country is a bit unnerving. What are some of the major differences between buying a home in Japan and elsewhere, say the U.S. Nervous Nellie Thanks for the great question! As the lead English-speaking real estate agency in the greater Kobe area, CoreEight is very aware of anxiety foreign buyers feel when buying a home in Japan, especially if this is your first time!

April 6, 2017

Real Estate Investment in Kobe

If you have a bit of extra money on your hands and are looking for new investment possibilities, you should consider the possibility of real estate investment in the Kobe area. Now is a prime time to invest in the Kobe area where the prices are relatively low compared to real estate investment in other countries and the ROI can be relatively high. Foreign real estate investment in Japan has soared in the past few years.  Real estate deals in Japan in 2014 totaled JPY 5.6 trillion, representing an increase of 16% over 2013. One reason for this unprecedented level of foreign investment was the 14% plunge of the value

April 6, 2017

Dear Rica, Are there restrictions on foreigners owning real estate in Japan?

Get Answers about Owning, Renting and Living in Greater Kobe. Please submit your comments to Dear Rica, I am a 50-something foreign professional and have lived in Japan for the past 20 years. I like it here and would like to retire here. I have a small nest egg that I would to invest, possibly in real estate investment. I have been warned by friends that there may be restrictions on foreigners’ owning or investing in real estate in Japan. Is this true? Todd S. Hi Todd, Now is the perfect time to join the wave of foreigners (mostly from China and other places in Asia) who are investing in

April 6, 2017

6 Things to Know About Property Managers

Core Eight has more than 10 years’ experience managing investment properties of foreign nationals, ranging from whole-building investments to single unit investments. We are proud of our reputation as a reliable, hands-on property manager. As the top English-speaking real estate and property management company in the Kobe area, we have broad market knowledge of the real estate investment market and an extensive network of professionals to handle anything from locating tenants, repairs and renovations, to complete build outs. One of Core Eight’s unique strengths is its ability to put together a team of creative professionals (designers, architects, high end suppliers, and construction companies) to reform (or renovate) your investment property

March 15, 2017

Preserving Japan’s Legacy— A Chance to Give Back

Kobe and Architectural Heritage Preservation Inspired by the cultural diversity of Kobe’s architectural treasures, which range from streamlined, modernistic Tadao Ando masterpieces to Meiji-era, Western-influenced residences and office buildings, Rica Bradshaw Otani, Core Eight’s founder, has become increasingly concerned about the fate of these legacy buildings and saddened by the increasing disappearance of these legacy buildings in the Kobe area. In her 15-years’ experience as the leading English-speaking real estate agent in the Kobe area, she has become keenly aware of the importance of these heritage buildings in attracting both foreign residents and tourists to Kobe. With a surge in the number of foreign tourists visiting Kobe each year, it