Follow this link to some people who have bought properties in Japan. All of these cases represent people who have bought property through the traditional broker market. The problem is they paid maximum price, when they bought of secured property more cheaply through the foreclosed market. There are however benefits to going the private route. When price is no object, or you want a customised property, the private route offers more choice. The foreclosed market however is surprisingly large, and don't under-estimate the opportunity to refurbish the frame of an old home. i.e. We might my place at less than land value. The house was essentially a gift 1 hour from Tokyo. We could have stripped this two story house like our neighbour who paid full (market) time for the same dormitory next door. The previous owner bought that property for just Y2.23 million. I know because I missed out by $1000. :) It was my intention to set up a school to teach investment and English to Japanese kids, as there is a private school next door. I have just one neighbour - the 'distressed' person who sold me the property by default. He is a lovely guy though. Learn more about people who have bought properties in Japan here. The other attraction of foreclosed property is that you can actually buy cheap properties without needing a loan. I just paid Y2.3 million in cash for the 1st property, and we paid Y3.8mil for a second property which was ready for occupancy/rental at Y60,000/month. A lovely place too.
It took me about a week to clean that house up in outer Saitama. Really enjoyed the mountain biking in the mountains around that town. Some of the best trails I've done.