Made Official

Just today, I received the documents for the property registration. That means that now Kyoto City too knows that the house is mine. I am quite surprised about the speed with which this happened – only seven days after the purchase. In Austria, this procedure alone can take months to complete. Most of the time, people are already living in their new home before the official registration is completed!

As I mentioned, this will still take a bit more time for me because of the renovations. Yesterday, I went to the house to take measurements and spend some time there, daydreaming… I mean: planning things. While I am eager to start the renovations and get moving, first I need to figure out what I actually want with the rooms. There’s not much point in hiring somebody to “fix my house” if I can’t explain what I want to have done.

Some things will also need a bit more attention than I thought at first. There are veritable holes in some walls! And where the hell do all those cables come from/lead to? But overall, I’m very happy about it. So much so, that I already left my scent mark in the form of a roll of toilet paper. Not that I can use the toilet because the water’s not turned on again, but still. Baby steps!

Mine

So, this is the “really big thing” I was talking about beginning of September. And since yesterday, it’s officially mine.

A bit of background: I’ve been looking for a house on and off for about a year now. I’ve seen around 15 houses in various stages of (dis)repair, from recently renovated to barely holding together. Finding something decent is even harder if you have specific wants, like sunlight, coupled with a limited budget. So, I’m very happy this house came on the market at just the right time.

Although, technically, it was never “on the market”, at least it wasn’t widely advertised as for sale. Back in early August, my friend Junko and I were visiting another property of a real estate agent when he mentioned “oh, this one’s just in”; it didn’t even have a price tag yet. It took a bit of back and forth on the price on his end, and a bit of back and forth on “do I or don’t I” on my end, but it’s all over and done with now.

A few details: The house is 53 years old, and around 90 square meters big on two floors. It’s a bit farther away from the city centre than I originally wanted (even farther than my place now), but it makes up for the extra travel time: It lies in the Higashiyama mountains in a very quiet neighbourhood, and it is open to the south side, so the living space is very sunny.

As you can see from the photos below, it does need some renovations before I can move in; it was empty for about a year. But these are mostly cosmetic changes, the underlying structure is very good. Essentially, I am thinking of remodelling the first floor to Western style with an office, kitchen and living room; while leaving the second floor and its tatami rooms mostly intact. Don’t worry, I’m going to post more details about the renovations, you’ll probably get sick of them soon…

I am not sure when I’ll be able to move; end of October seems overly optimistic, but then again, I’m not planning on a complete overhaul of the new place, and Japanese companies are super efficient. Wish me luck!

View from the entrance. To the right is the office, then the staircase, and then the living room. Straight ahead lies the kitchen. To the left is the tiny bathroom/toilet block.
Designated office space; overlooking the street in front of the house. According to Junko, this room was used for guests and probably had big cushy chairs in it – at the 4 white tiles, probably? Right now, it’s pretty dark and depressing, a typical 70s home as I grew up in.
Living Room downstairs. Except for the stain on the tatami, it’s in pretty good shape. This photo was shot with flash, so it’s not quite as bright in reality, even though it faces south.
Kitchen. Bright and sunny, but ancient. The furniture is all metal. Well, it’ll fit with the washing machine – there’s no space for that in the bathroom.
Upstairs living room with a balcony – you just have to climb through the windows… It needs new tatami and a lick of paint on the walls, but other than that, I want to keep it as it is.
Bedroom, with view over the street in the north. I don’t know why the wallpaper is peeling, but this is the only thing wrong with it. It’ll also need new tatami because I’ll be sleeping on the floor.