Choosing a property manager or property management company in Japan should be a relatively trouble-free task, but it isn’t. Why is that?
The fact is that many property managers here have long-standing conflicts of interest. And that’s the case even in Tokyo, a global city where professional standards can be expected to be high.
As a result of such conflicts, closing a deal or realizing short-term revenue is often the primary goal of property managers or property management companies in Japan.
What’s more, the investor—including expat property investors—is often left feeling underserved or, in some cases, cheated.
It’s incumbent on investors then to ensure that they do their due diligence when choosing a property manager or property management company.
Failure to do so can lead to any number of liabilities, including a sudden diminution in revenue, unexpected out-of-pocket costs, hidden charges, or a lacklustre return on investment (ROI).
BEWARE—CONFLICTED PROPERTY MANAGERS IN JAPAN
There are many reasons why a property manager or property management company here may be conflicted. Often, the conflict is a result of traditional approaches to property management in Japan.
It is not unusual, for instance, for the manager of a property in Japan to be its seller too. In such cases, it’s in the interest of the manger to get the highest price for the property or services provided, rather than to find the best deal for an investor.
Conflicts of interest can also occur when the seller is paid a commission for a sale, a common practice in property management in Japan.
When this happens, it’s in the interest of the seller to reduce their time commitment to the sale to a minimum—and to achieve this, corners are often cut on critical steps in the process, including due diligence.
CHOOSE—THE RIGHT PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY
When choosing a property manager or property management company in Japan, therefore, property investors need to ask three simple—yet critically important—questions.
The first, does the property manager or property management company have any conflicts of interest?
And honest broker or agent should be able to answer this question readily, or, in an ideal situation, offer such information without prompting.
Secondly, does the property manager or property management company have a detailed, long-term ROI strategy? A lack of such a strategy should be a red flag.
And lastly, can the property manager or property management company provide their service in a common language? In most cases, that would be English.
AXIOS—COMMITTED TO EXPAT PROPERTY INVESTORS IN JAPAN
At Axios Management, we understand the deep and genuine concerns faced by many expat property investors in Japan.
At first, many of them come to us for a second opinion—having been referred via word of mouth—because they are dissatisfied with their current property manager or property management company.
And because we do not take part in the buying process, they can be sure that our advice is neutral and free of any conflicts on interest.
When the buying process is complete and an investor seeks a property manager, they often choose us because our focus is always on long-term ROI for clients.
Unlike most traditional property mangers or property management companies in Japan, we provide a comprehensive due diligence service and a clear ROI strategy—in English—from day one.
TRUST AND VERIFY
That being said, the main reason why expat property investors in Japan choose us is for our transparency and professionalism.
At Axios, difficult or uncomfortable conversations are not swept under the carpet, as is often the case—for cultural and other reasons—in Japan.
Indeed, such conversations are integral to the company’s commitment to provide trust, transparency and professional services for expat investors.
As one current customer, an investor from the United States, said when speaking of Tsuyoshi Hikichi, the company’s managing director: “Tsuyoshi is the kind of guy who you would like to call a friend, as well as being someone who is helping you with your business.”