When choosing a place to live or invest in Japan it comes down to 2 main options: Mansion or Detached house? Mansions are newer type of apartment complexes or condominiums in Japan. Old type of apartment complexes are called Apa-to but we will include them under mansions for easier classification.
Main advantages on Mansions:
1- Mansions are concrete or steel reinforced concrete buildings. It provides better heat insulation especially if you are in a mid floor. It also provides better sound insulation. You may be worried about sharing a wall with your neighbors but you will have better sound insulation thanks to concrete walls and you will hear less from your family members in other rooms. Most importantly it has a higher life expectancy, concrete buildings age better and look better for a longer time.
2- Maintenance and cleaning of common areas and maintenance of the building is taken care of. You don't have to worry about anything as long as you pay your maintenance fee and repair fund fee.
3- Convenient and secure! There is usually a common area where you can dispose of your trash 24/7 as long as you separate them properly. There is an autolock door to stop unwanted people coming in and knocking on your door. Your orders and packages are delivered inside of the building, either to the delivery boxes or to the building manager. You don't have to worry about not being at home and missing your package.
4- In mansions usually every room is on the same floor. You don't lose space for the stairs and you don't have to go up and down all the time. It may not look important now but you will appreciate it when you get older. Also, no stairs, no dangerous house accidents on the stairs.
Main disadvantages of Mansions:
1- You have to follow building rules. This could be a problem if you are a pet owner. You need to find a pet okay mansion. Even if you are the owner, mansion rules can forbid pets. Even pet friendly mansions have rules regarding the size and the number of pets. Also a previously pet friendly mansion may change the rules with enough votes.
2- You must pay the maintenance fee and the repair fund fee. If you rent out your house your tenant may burden the maintenance fee however you still need to pay the repair fund fee which will be collected in a fund and be used for the reinforcement and repairs of the building.
3- It may be difficult and expensive to secure a car parking space in the building.
4- You don't own the whole land, just a piece of it. So you don't have the freedom to decided what to do with your land and you may be outvoted in any decision. It is not as bad as it sounds since the piece of land you have is more valuable than detached house land because it is fit for a mansion, and the building will probably replaced only with something even more profitable.
Main advantages of a detached house:
1- Your house, your land, your rules. You can decide on your own how to remodel or rebuild your house and how many dogs you have as long as you follow city laws. There is a certain romanticism about detached houses. You can have a garden, a roof balcony and a garage. Your house will be your castle.
2- Ideal for big families with children since you don't have to worry about your child jumping up and down. You don't share walls with your neighbors.
3- You don't have to pay a fixed maintenance fee and repair fund fee. Of course you need to take care of your house and time to time pay a lot of expenses for the repairs but at least you can arrange these repairs according to your budget and financial situation. Also you don't have to worry about paying maintenance fee when you keep the house empty or when you are looking for a new tenant.
Main disadvantages of detached houses:
1- In Japan detached houses are mainly build with wood sometimes only the basement floor has concrete. Which makes them less durable compared to concrete mansions, prone to water damage and termites. A careful house owner would prevent these problems and keep their house in good condition for a life time.
2- Detached houses has worse heat insulation and difficult to keep warm and cool. They are usually bigger and open all round, it could be tricky to keep it in ideal temperature.
3- Less convenient. You have to follow the neighborhood rules for trash collection. You can't throw your trash any time. You may need to wake up early to not miss the collection time.
4- The maintenance of the house is your responsibility! Buying a detached house may save you from paying expensive mansion repair fund fees and maintenance fees but with a detached house you need to observe your house very well for possible problems or pay the price later.
When it comes to Mansions vs Detached houses, it is hard to say one is better than the other. We ask our clients to think carefully about their life styles and decide which one is better for them. For further consultation feel free to get in touch with our agents.