How to Use Apartment Search Sites - Suumo
1. Go to Suumo's site.
2. Choose the region you'll be moving to.
3. Make sure you're looking at rentals (賃貸), as some sites will want you to choose what exactly you're looking for, whether buying or renting.
4. Choose how you want to search, perhaps by train line or area, commute time, map, road map, rent, or real estate office. If you know some Japanese, you can also search using keywords.
5. For this example, I chose to search by area (エリア) in Aichi prefecture (愛知県). As you can see below, a list of cities (and wards in Nagoya city) appear. I'll click the box next to any of the cities or wards I want to search in. After that, click the blue button at the bottom of the page. (If you click on the city or ward name, rather than check the box next to it, it will go straight to the results for that location.)
However, if you want to choose other options first, scroll down the page before clicking the blue button (see second image below).
As you can see below, you can choose any options or preferences (although the less you choose, the more listings you'll see, which is good to keep in mind for smaller cities).
Once you've chosen your desired preferences, click the blue button at the bottom.
6. The next page shows the results. If you didn't set any preferences on the previous page, you can adjust them in the left sidebar below.
As you browse through the listings, you can select and deselect various options in the left sidebar to change or narrow the listings you see. For example, if you want an apartment with parking, check the box next to "駐車場あり". For this section (and on other sites as well), here are some words to know:
|管理費||かんりひ||kanri hi||management fee|
|共益費||きょうえきひ||kyoueki hi||community fee|
|敷金／保証金||しききん／ほしょうきん||shikikin / hoshoukin||safety deposit|
|駅までの徒歩分数||えきまでのとほふんすう||ekimadeno tohofunsuu||walking distance from nearest train station|
|指定しない||していしない||sitei sinai||no preference|
|築年数||ちくねんすう||chikunensuu||age of building|
|バス トイレ別||ばす といれべつ||basu toire betsu||separate bath and toilet|
|ペット相談||ぺっとそうだん||petto soudan||open to discussion regarding pets|
|2階以上住戸||２かいいじょうじゅうこ||2kaiijyou jyuuko||unit on the 2nd floor or above|
|室内洗濯機場所||しつないせんたくきばしょ||sitsunai senntakuki basyo||location for washing machine indoors|
|エアコン付||えあこんつき||eakon tsuki||air conditioner included|
|フローリング||ー||furo-ringu||wood (or hard) flooring|
|間取り付き||まどりつき||madori tsuki||floor plan included|
|物件動画付き||ぶっけんどうがつき||bukken douga tsuki||video of building included|
7. The following image is an example listing. You can see an image of the apartment in the far left column, followed by the location, distance to train station or bus stop, monthly rent plus additional fees, key money and safety deposit, size, which direction it faces, what type of building it is and how old it is. You might see an area (such as in the yellow box in the image below) describing what pictures are available for the unit or house. To see the listing, click the address link (in blue) or the image.
8. The following image will be at the top of a listing's page, with essentially the same information as the previous page.
9. There are three tabs below the top part of the listing page. The first (which should appear by default) is the unit information, followed by neighborhood information and finally the real estate office info.
10. If you scroll down the apartment information page, you'll see a section with specifics about the place (what's included and other details). Next is a summary of info such as transportation, layout, the floor it's on in the building (if applicable), when you can move in, damage insurance, building structure, age of building, parking, conditions, number of windows, nearby stores and others. Included info will vary by listing.
12. The final tab lists info about the real estate office.
13. If you're interested in the apartment, you can make an inquiry directly from the page (translations for the input fields below) or you can contact the real estate office directly if you prefer.
Other Words to KnowAs you begin your online search, or even if a real estate agent is looking for you and they send you apartment information in Japanese, you might also find some of the following words and phrases useful (in addition to the ones above). (This isn't a comprehensive list.)
|ガスコンロ対応||かすこんろたいおう||gasukonro taiou||can use gas stoves|
|シャワー付き洗面台||しゃわーつきせんめんだい||shawaa tsuki senmendai||bathroom sink with shower nozzle|
|TVインターホン||TVいんたーほん||TV intaahon||door intercom with camera|
|陽当たり良好||ようあたりりょうこう||youatari ryoukou||good sunlight|
|シューズボックス||-||shuuzu bokkusu||shoe cupboard/cabinet|
|システムキッチン||-||shisutemu kicchin||system kitchen|
|南向き||みなみむき||minami muki||southward facing|
|追焚機能浴室||おいたききのうよくしつ||oitaki kinou yokusitsu||bath that is able to reheat water|
|脱衣所||だついじょ||datsuijyo||changing room (space outside of bath area to "change clothes" - may have sink area)|
|洗面所独立||せんめんじょどくりつ||senmenjyo dokuritsu||standalone sink|
|洗面化粧台||せんめんけしょうだい||senmen keshoudai||sink with makeup stand|
|２口コンロ||にぐちこんろ||niguchi konro||supplementary |
|即入室可||そくにゅうしつか||soku nyuusitsu ka||immediate move-in possible|
|３口以上コンロ||さんぐちいじょうこんろ||sanguchi ijyou konro||three or more gas nozzles|
|対面式キッチン||ふたいほけん||taimensiki kicchin||open kitchen|
|全居室洋室||ぜんきょしつようしつ||zenkyositsu yousitsu||all western rooms (no tatami)|
|保証人不要||ほしょうにんふよう||hoshounin fuyou||guarantor not required|
|単身者相談||たんしんしゃそうだん||tanshinsya soudan||single people OK to discuss renting (e.g. for a family-sized apartment)|
|CATVインターネット||CATVいんたーねっと||CATV intaanetto||cable internet|
|二人入室相談||ふたりにゅうしつそうだん||futari nyuusitsu soudan||two people ok to discuss renting (non-family members)|
|全居室フローリング||ぜんきょしつふろーりんぐ||zenkyositsu furooringu||all rooms wood flooring|
|２面バルコニー||にめんばるこにー||nimen barukonii||balcony on two sides|
|敷金２ヶ月||しききんにかげつ||shikikin nikagetsu||safety deposit is two months rent|
|緑豊かな住宅地||みどりゆたかなじゅうたくち||midori yutakana jyuutakuchi||area has lots of greenery|
|外壁コンクリート||がいへきこんくりいと||gaiheki konkuriito||outer building structure is concrete|
|クロゼット２ヶ所||くろぜっとにかしょ||kurozetto nikasho||two closets (in a room)|
|ルームシェア相談||るーむしぇあそうだん||ruumushea soudan||room sharing open for discussion|
|南面リビング||なんめんりびんぐ||nanmen ribingu||living room on South side|
|学生相談||がくせいそうだん||gakusei soudan||students OK to discuss renting|
|バス2路線||ばすにろせん||basu nirosen||two bus lines nearby|
|敷地内ゴミ置き場||ちきちないごみおきば||shikichinai gomiokiba||on-site garbage collection area|
|平面駐車場||へいめんちゅうしゃじょう||heimen chuushajyou||ground floor parking lot|
|LDK１２量以上||LDKじゅうにりょういじょう||LDK jyuuniryou ijyou||LDK is 12 tatami mats or more|
|洗面所のドア||せんめんじょのどあ||senmenjyo no doa||bath area has a door|
|南面バルコニー||なんめんばるこにー||nanmen barukonii||balcony on the South side|
|礼金１ヶ月||れいきんいっかげつ||reikin ikkagetsu||key money is one month's rent|
|保証会社利用可||ほしょうかいしゃりようか||hoshougaisha riyou ka||OK to use a guarantor company|
|通風良好||つうふうりょうこう||tsuufuu ryoukou||good air circulation|
Hopefully this will get you started with your apartment hunt, but remember that you can also ask a real estate agent to search for you, and in major cities you might be able to find a real estate agency that offers services in English if you can't speak Japanese. For example, Surviving in Japan's current sponsor, the H&R Group, can help you find a place to live in Tokyo, Nagoya or Osaka. See part one for more.
Many thanks to David Thompson (husband) for doing the translations for this post!
Japan Home Search, a service provided by the H&R Group and one of the most extensive English real estate and apartment listings in Japan to help you find the perfect home when relocating or moving to Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya.