Three Misconceptions about Japan’s Properties

Japan’s attractive property market draws real estate investors worldwide for its high yield, affordability, rental income cash flow and safe haven economic environment. While the real estate investment arena is undoubtedly attractive, and the second largest real estate investment market in the world, Japan is also one of the countries most affected by natural disasters. Therefore, before jumping in to buy up properties, foreign investors, new to the market, often test the waters by asking about the quality of Japan’s structures and their ability to weather the storm. Investors ask, “What is the risk associated with the age of Japan’s real estate?” To answer this question, we explore the common misconceptions of Japanese properties.

Misconception #1 – Properties are Made of Wooden Structures

Some investors have concerns about the materials used to build real estate in Japan and whether or not they can withstand the force of earthquakes and tsunamis. This misconception stems from traditional wooden houses which used to line the streets of Japan in the former imperial capital. Most investors focus on buildings for the cash-flow play, rather than houses. Therefore, the concern is an out-dated concept and no longer a consideration. Furthermore, wooden houses are being steadily replaced by earthquake-resistant, reinforced concrete apartment blocks.

Misconception #2 – Properties Built after 1981 Pose Less Risk

In 1981, the Building Standards Law was revised to protect residential and commercial structures against earthquakes. In 2006, building certificates and inspections became even more regulated subjecting builders to inspections during the construction process for buildings above three stories. Because of the revisions to the Building Standards Law in 1981, some investors consider 1981 the turning point for sounder structure. Herein lies another misconception.

A building’s condition is affected by more than just its age. A properly managed accumulated funds pool can also affect its condition. With adequate funds, buildings built prior to 1981 can be retrofitted to bring them up to code by regularly renovating, repairing and re-strengthening exterior walls and taking care of unforeseen renovations. Alternatively, a newer building could be poorly managed with insufficient funds for renovations and maintenance. As you can see, investing in an older building under these circumstances could be the wiser choice to minimize risk.

As facilitators to foreign investors, we try not to source anything older than 1973. But, those that we did source were well-maintained buildings housing 50 to 200 units, showing no signs of deterioration, beyond normally acceptable and repairable wear and tear. Generally, since the cost for renovations and repairs are taken out of the building repair fund, if funds are insufficient, then apartment owners bear the extra costs. To ensure the risk to investors is minimal, when conducting due diligence on a potential purchase, we look into the status of the accumulated funds pool, renovation/repairs/maintenance history and the building management company’s handling of the collected renovation/repair funds and provide a report to the investor for an educated investment.

Misconception #3 – Properties have Just a 20 Year Life-Span

Life-span of a house is sometimes referred to as approximately 20 years, while that of a building approximately forty years. From a value perspective, this is a misconception. This life-span refers to tax depreciation not the quality of the property.

There are other benefits to an apartment investment over a house. Houses require more maintenance and can present unexpected costs, whereas, in a building, structural expenses are known in advance and covered by pre-set building fees. And, the building management company’s monthly fees normally cover all or most maintenance expenses, so there are far less surprises.

Overall, risk is greater with speculative play for capital gain such as units in Tokyo or Osaka. Investing in Japan for its monthly cash flow environment in cities such as Sapporo, Fukuoka, Nagoya and other cities with stable or growing population can result in stable returns. For highest yielding properties, investors should focus their criteria on condo units under 200 sq. ft., one to two room units, for inexpensive interior maintenance. Alternatively, some of our clients aim for smaller and older buildings on large plots of land in key locations. The strategy in this case is to sell to a developer when the building becomes too expensive to maintain, in exchange for either compensation at a profit, or a new unit in a new residential project built on that land. The downside is that these units only have a small fraction of land attached to them, so appreciation potential is lower.

Priti Donnelly, Sales and Marketing Manager, Nippon Tradings International,

Priti Donnelly

Priti Donnelly is the sales and marketing manager at Nippon Tradings International, a proxy and buyers’ agency representing foreign investors with purchasing, selling and managing real estate in Japan. She understands the importance of transparency in today’s international market. Through her insight, she focuses on breaking barriers and helping investors feel confident about their overseas property investments.

Phone: +1 226 336 4097 / +81 3 4520 9262


Single-Family Home Rentals are Dead? Discover the #1 Investment Opportunity FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS

By Gene Guarino, CFP

Are single-family home (SFH) rentals dead? Well, that depends on who you are renting them to of course. How does $200-$300 a month in positive cash flow sound? When I was 20 years old, that was exciting. Today, that doesn’t get me very excited at all.

Lets face it, one turn over with even one month of vacancy eats up an entire year’s worth of profits in most cases. Let me show you how to get TWICE the fair market rent with a long-term, low-impact tenant or if you’d rather, how you can make $10,000 or more NET per month with Residential Assisted Living.

The Baby Boomers are here and they are driving the demographics in housing for the next 20 years. Nearly eighty million of us were born between 1946-1964. We are the Baby Boomers, and we are turning 65 at the rate of over 10,000 a day. Life expectancy is increasing and many of us will live well into our 80s and 90s. There are 4,000 a day turning 85 and 70% of those people will need help for an average of 3.5 years. The 85+ year old group is the fastest-growing demographic of all in the U.S.

It is projected to triple over the next 20 years. Senior housing is a great place to be now and will only be getting better and better for the next 20-30 years.

The reality is that most seniors will not need a nursing home but they can’t live safely on their own either. They do need assistance and that is what is provided with Residential Assisted Living or RAL.

Many of you have already faced this situation with your own parents. If not, well, your time is coming. This mega-trend will last for several decades to come and you can profit from this unstoppable wave and help a lot of people by “Doing Good and Doing Well”.

Senior Assisted Living is the Best Real Estate Investment Opportunity for the Next 20 Years.

This mega trend is a “Silver Tsunami”and it has created a massive opportunity for smart investors who are poised to profit. Let me explain why “typical” SFH rentals are dead. If you rent a home to a typical tenant, you will get a typical profit of a few hundred dollars a month, maybe. With a typical turnover and a month of vacancy in between you may end up with little or no profit at all at the end of the year. Now, if you were to get TWICE the fair market rent, your profit increases exponentially. Instead of a few hundred dollars in profit you would be netting a few THOUSAND dollars in profit each month.

With your typical tenant you have a one-year lease. They may stay for a second or even a third year but they are looking to buy their own home and move out in most cases. That’s not bad but, on the other hand, what if they move out after a few months in the middle of the night and leave you with thousands of dollars of repairs from the damage they left behind? Been there, done that.

Let me ask a silly question: Would you rather have a long-term, low-impact tenant? A tenant that wants a five-year lease and wants to have two or three, five-year renewals on top of that? That is what an operator of a RAL wants. That is why senior housing is the best real estate investment opportunity for the next twenty years. Long-term, low-impact tenants who are willing to pay twice the fair market rent.

Why would someone pay TWICE the fair market rent and how do I find them!

The answer is your tenant, the operator of the RAL, will still be able to make a lot of money even after paying you twice the FMR. Let me fully explain that by crunching the numbers.

The national average for a private room in a residential assisted living care home is $3,500 per person, per month. Keep in mind that there are people paying two and three times that and there are people paying half that amount. You get what you pay for of course. Remember that 70% or more of the wealth in the U.S. is controlled by seniors. You may not be able to afford or provide for your own long-term care needs, but they can. Keep reading and I will share with you how you can live for free when you need your own long term care.

How much can I really make?

With a home that is licensed for 10 residents, at an average rate of $3,500 per resident, that is $35,000 per month in potential gross income. The expenses, including debt service or rent and even vacancy is about $25,000. That leaves a net profit of $10,000 per month for an average home. That is for an average home and an average clientele. I have homes that gross $40,000 and $50,000 per month and more. The reality is the expenses are virtually the same for an average home as they are for an above average home. The difference is the cost of the real estate.

As a landlord you could be very happy to have a couple thousand dollars per month in positive cash flow. As the operator of the RAL you can earn $10,000 to $20,000 net per month. That is a true win-win situation.

If you are considering renting your home to an RAL operator…

You will be well served to learn all you can about this opportunity. You will want to know what your tenant, the RAL operator, is supposed to be doing to be successful. That way you can better choose the right tenant and be set up for success from the start. At RAL Academy, I show people how they can profit whether they are a landlord or a tenant.

When we age we become more dependent upon the help of others in order to do basic activities of daily living. These self-care activities include ADLs such as cleaning, clothing, bathing, medication management and food prep.

You can profit either way.

This is not just another real estate “fad” that comes and goes.

This is a massive shift in housing demographics. You will either be riding on top of this unstoppable wave or you will hesitate, procrastinate and potentially miss it completely. That choice is yours but you will be a participant one way or the other. I have comparatively little competition. How many people do you know that are in the business of RAL?

With RAL it doesn’t matter whether the real estate market is at the peak or coming down from it, cashflow is cashflow. After 30 years as a real estate investor, doing everything from fix and flips, short sales, REOs, lease options and more, my goal is now just one thing: Significant long-term residual cash flow. Residential Assisted living gives you the opportunity to do one deal and you are done. For life.

What is the key to success in Residential Assisted Living?

The key to success in RAL is in the details. You need to know which type of home works best, what location is best, how to find the home that no one else wants that will work perfectly for a RAL home and how to do it quickly without all the guess work. You need to know how to find the right team to make your life easy and to fill the home with high-paying residents. I’m sure there are more questions coming to mind for you like: What about the liability? What about a two- or three-story home? What about… There is a lot to know, but the good news is you are not on your own.

If you want help in learning how to do this, it is available. Learn more at The phrase, “paying for speed” is not just an expression, it’s a reality. That’s why the Residential Assisted Living Academy was founded. To show others what to do and what not to do in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process. I’ve done it, and I show you how you can do it too.

The “Silver Tsunami” is here and the opportunity to “Do Good and Do Well” is clear.

If you would like to learn more, at my training programs we go into depth so you will be totally prepared to succeed in this endeavor. Imagine having one RAL home providing your family a $10,000 per month POSITIVE CASH FLOW… Now, imagine scaling a bit and having two or three… now you’regetting the idea. It’s a new world out there. The days of making a few hundred dollars a month in cashflow per house are history. If you’d like to learn how to do one deal and make $10,000 per month or more, let me show you how you can make that happen. Gene Guarino, CFP is the founder of the Residential Assisted Living Academy. Learn more by visiting Gene can be reached at: