During my search, I went on property tours where I saw exclusively 3 bedroom condos. None of them did it for me.
Many 3 bedroom apartments, especially in large multi-unit condos, have layouts featuring two normal proportioned rooms and then a third, ugly duckling of a bedroom.
This ugly duckling can often be identified by its odd layout, weird proportions, lack of storage/light or being thinly divided from the living room.
Property developers have deployed layouts like this, especially when targeting mid-market domestic buyers. The third-bedroom / tatami room layout is especially common, as it fits an older Japanese lifestyle and would have been seen as a plus point by its original owners.
After several unproductive tours, I realized I need to approach this differently. I knew I needed at least 70 sqm meters of space and thus asked my agent to include minimum 70 square meter 2 bedrooms in the search. My thinking was that if there was enough space and the layout was just right, I could add another bedroom to a large 2 bedroom.
Lo and behold more options opened up and my property tours started to be much more enjoyable. Rather than thinking I had to settle for something, I began having hope that I could find the best place for me, albeit maybe requiring more work then I originally intended.
In the end I found a property that fit the bill without requiring renovation but the decision to buy something that needed renovation or not could have gone either way. One thing was for certain; the experience became much more positive the more options I was looking at.
Editor’s Note: Robin is the Marketing Manager for Housing Japan. In addition to having to deal with being a non-broker in a brokerage, he recently bought a 3-bedroom home in an area not covered by Housing Japan; the experience of which inspired this article.