When you find a property you’re interested in, it’s usual to look at it before deciding to sign a contract. There are many things you should check during the viewing. However, many people may need help knowing what to check.
So, this time, we will share what you need, a checklist, and some tips you should know for when you visit apartments. If you plan on visiting apartments, use this article as a guide.
Village House offers wonderful apartments throughout Japan. If you are looking for a property, please take a look at our website.
How Many Viewings Can I Do in a Day?
Generally, people do about 2 to 3 apartment viewings per day. However, if there are properties you want to view nearby and you have a tight schedule, you may be able to view 4 to 6 properties in one day.
But, if you spend one hour viewing each property, it will take 4 to 6 hours just for the tour. You must visit the property during the real estate company’s business hours, so if they are only open for 8 hours, the total travel time will be limited to about 2 hours.
In other words, if there are other properties in distant locations, you may be unable to visit them in time if there are many properties to tour. Therefore, we recommend viewing 2 to 3 properties in a day to have plenty of time to look around.
Rendezvous at the Meeting Point for Tours
Most of the time, with real estate companies, you visit their office before doing apartment tours. Sometimes, it can take 1 to 2 hours for agents to discuss your desired conditions and interview you.
On the other hand, you could meet at the location for the preview. We recommend this as the interview time will be shortened, and you will have more time to inspect the property at your leisure.
Meeting on-site for viewings is also an effective way to avoid “decoy properties” that continue to be listed even though they are not available for applications. Even if you request to meet on-site, you may be told, “You can’t view the property until you come to the office,” or “We do not do on-site meetings.” So be careful, as it may be a decoy property.
If you are planning to meet at the location, share your room search conditions with the real estate company in advance by email or phone. They will research the properties with your conditions in advance so you can move on to the next property.
Example Room Search Conditions:
・Within 20 minutes of walking from 〇〇 station
・Rent up to ~00,000 yen (management fee included)
・Washing machine space (indoors desired)
・Separate bath and toilet
・2nd floor and above
What to Bring to an Apartment Viewing
- Tape measure
It is useful to have a measuring tape to measure the size of the windows and the room. In particular, measure the space to see if large furniture, such as sofas and beds, can be moved and set up. Later on, writing those dimensions on the floor plan will be helpful. Also, if you measure the width and height of the window(s), you can get the curtains before you move in.
Smartphones are equipped with the features needed for apartment showings, such as a camera, compass, level meter, and light. It is convenient to take pictures of the interior and exterior of the property when viewing the property so that you can look back on them later (please check with the person in charge in advance for permission to take pictures).
They can also be used in various ways, such as checking the level meter to see if the floor is sloped or using the compass to check the direction of a place you’re concerned about.
- Pen and paper
Even if you have a smartphone, bring a notepad and something to write with. It is important to write down the room’s dimensions on the floor plan and to take notes so that you can review the explanations and information from the agent.
- Floor plans
Print out the floor plan yourself or have your real estate agent print it for you. A floor plan is helpful because it allows you to write down the room’s measurements and the locations of electrical outlets. Also, check to see if there are any discrepancies between the floor plan and the actual room.
- Slippers and socks
Often, the rooms of a property are dirty before the house cleaning is done. Also, as a general rule, you cannot go inside barefoot, so have socks ready.
Slippers are generally provided by the real estate agent. It’s a good idea to check if you can borrow slippers when you make a reservation for the viewing.
It is important to look at the property you like and check the condition, construction, size, and impression of the rooms. Let’s review the following checklist for your apartment.
|・Size of entrance and hallway ・Door installation ・Intercom (with or without monitoring or recording) ・Amperage ・Door key security ・Door chain availability
|・Size of the room ・Damage/Stains ・Lighting conditions ・Location of outlets ・Storage size ・Cellphone reception ・Sound insulation
|・Kitchen (storage, sink size, number of burners) ・Toilet (check for bidet and/or strange smell) ・Bathroom (size of bathtub and washing area, shower water pressure) ・Washbasin (storage space, showerhead?) ・Washing machine (dimensions of washing machine space, waterproof pans?)
|Windows and Balcony
|・Sunlight ・Balcony (ease of drying laundry, security, bird droppings, screen door?) ・Window measurements
|・Common areas (are they cleaned and no personal items left out?) ・Security equipment (auto lock, security camera) ・Postbox (size, keyed?) ・Shared facilities (elevator size and presence of delivery boxes) ・Trash storage area (is it cleaned?) ・Parking lot (size and availability)
|・Transportation access (distance to nearest station/number of transfers) ・Convenience (Clinics/hospitals and shopping areas) ・Noise (distance from road to residence/heavy traffic volume) ・Security (location of police box, number of streetlights)
What are Properties that are Currently Unavailable to be Viewed?
Even if a property is looking for a tenant, you cannot view the property if the previous tenant is currently living there. Landlords begin recruiting new tenants when they receive a Notice of Intent to Vacate from the previous tenant. So, an apartment may take up to a month to become available.
Generally, you cannot view the inside of a still-occupied property. Also, in some cases, even after the previous tenant has moved out, you may only be able to view the property if the house has been cleaned. However, signing a contract for a property without seeing it inside can feel worrisome.
You may take the following measures for properties that cannot be viewed.
- Apply in advance
Advance application refers to applying for a property before viewing the property. You complete the screening before the showing and then decide whether to sign a contract after viewing the property on-site later. Advance application is suitable for people who like the property and want to keep hold of it or who want to see the property before signing a contract.
- View similar properties
Try viewing properties of the same type with similar floor plans and arrangements. If there are vacant rooms in the same building, you could also check the soundproofing and surrounding noise levels.
If You Live Far Away, Use a Virtual Tour
If you are too far away to go to the location or busy with work to go to a viewing, you could try a virtual tour. Virtual tours are a service where you can see the interior of a property while making a video call.
You can also request measurements for windows, walls, interior, etc., or ask real estate agency staff questions online. Also, suppose you have multiple properties you would like to view, but it doesn’t seem easy to go and see them all. In that case, you can first view them online and then directly see only the properties you like.
On the Village House website, you can search for an apartment that meets your requirements from over 1,000 properties across Japan. Please feel free to contact us!