Pitat House, English-speaking Real Estate Agents in Saginuma, Kanagawa
Review of Pitat House
Text by Christal Cheng
Having been in Japan for just over 2 months, needing a new place to live, and having heard of the many difficulties associated with house-hunting in Japan I was pleasantly surprised with my experience with Pitat House Saginuma.
The Pitat House Network has its real estate offices spread all across Japan with most major stations housing one within walking distance. The Saginuma Pitat House branch opened 40 years ago and has a long-standing relationship with owners and landlords. In this business where trust is imperative, that solid relationship has put them in a good position to negotiate on certain terms. I experienced the benefits of that rapport directly when my agent was able to negotiate a rental figure that better suited my budget (also impressive given that many landlords won’t even consider taking non-Japanese tenants).
When my roommate and I arrived for our appointment, we were greeted warmly and seated at one of the clean light-wood consultation tables. While we waited for our agent we were served green tea, and could catch glimpses of the backroom where photocopies were being pulled from the walls of files. The branch has more than one English-speaking staff member, and my particular agent – Matsuo-san was practically fluent – though in true Japanese fashion she apologized profusely for her “poor English ability”. Matsuo-san showed us plans for several suitable properties and patiently went through all the details answering any questions we had. After we settled on a few we wanted to view, she whisked us off in her car. Her recommended property turned out to be exactly as she had said – perfect for us.
Another big help for foreigners in particular is that they can provide a guarantor service if necessary. In Japan, the real estate industry standard requires buyers or renters to have a guarantor – a person (or company) who must meet certain requirements. Many newcomers to Japan do not have a close enough relationship with a Japanese national (one of the requirements) who can act as a guarantor. For an additional fee there are guarantor companies that will take on this role. Some agencies will require you to find a guarantor company but Saginuma Pitat House will take care of the hassle of finding a guarantor company, and will walk you through the process and paperwork.
Saginuma Pitat House serves all kinds of customers, and though they have a 4:1 rent-to-buy ratio they deal with all kinds of properties and deals. They have also developed a notable segment of young non-Japanese clients as there is a school nearby where word-of-mouth spreads amongst the students. I would easily recommend Saginuma Pitat House to anyone looking for a place in the Miyamae-ku, Takatsu-ku, and Aoba-ku (Yokohama) areas.
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
1-11-17 Saginuma Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 216-0004