Pinpointing a reliable housing agency in Okinawa for non-military members can be difficult. It is not that there are housing agencies in Okinawa that are out to get you but if you’re not careful you may find yourself in a less then desirable situation.
There are three types of housing agencies here in Okinawa. The first specializes in working with military members. The second specializes with the local residents and the third works with foreigners. Each has a specific set of guidelines and each is only willing to do so much for certain groups of people. It may seem harsh to hear but it’s the way things are so there is no reason to dance around the bush. Seeing as how we are talking non-military housing agencies we will be focusing on the third type of housing agency.
Again pinpointing one specific agency which is reliable is difficult because of the way that housing agencies work. Let me explain and it will hopefully clarify. Landlords will work with a housing agency to get tenants. They work together to fine tune the details such as whether pets are allowed or if the rent price is negotiable. This allows the housing agency to find tenants. Somewhere along the line you will come along to check out the property. Let’s suppose for the sake of discussion you decide that you like it. You’ve already talked to the housing agency and determined what you can pay on a monthly basis, explained that you had pets and so on. The housing agency still has to get the “ok” from the landlord. This is where things can sometimes get tricky. They might not like your particular pet and deny renting you the apartment. They may also decide that although the apartment was negotiable on price they now no longer want to negotiate. As you can imagine this can make the process of finding an apartment incredibly strenuous.
With this being said is there anything that you can do in order to make the process of finding an apartment easier? Yes. The first and most important piece of advice is know exactly what you are looking for. For example we were looking:
– Minimum 1 bedroom
– Under 80,000 yen per month
– 2 parking spaces
– Pets allowed
– Japanese style (This was key to us finding a good apartment. Many of the non-military “american style” apartments that they tried to push on us were from the 70’s and had been in great disrepair. I honestly kid you not when I say that they looked like abandoned buildings with tiles chipped, splintered wood as cabinets in the “kitchen” and a bathroom that would make you cringe.)
We approached every housing agency that we could with this list. At first they tried to get us to move into apartments which did not accept pets and were on the up side of 200,000 per month but with a little bit of determination and stern voice they started showing us only what we were looking for. It still took a lot of determination, effort and let downs before we found a landlord who was willing to take us but had we not known what it was we were looking for we would have been shown every piece of property on the island.
Happy house hunting!