17 September 2010

TwoStyle Architects

     After considering various architectural firms to design our home, we finally settled for TwoStyle Architects.  Their office is located in Musashino-shi, near JR Mitaka station.  This firm was introduced to us by our realtor, Mr. Fujimori from Landmark.

Not knowing anything about the process of building a home in Japan (or anywhere else for that matter) a lot of investigating was needed just to understand who would do what and at what cost.  There was also the major communication barrier to cross and we needed our architect to speak English.  A lot of firms could not meet this requirement.

We were immediately taken by the charismatic Director of TwoStyle, Shioda-san, and Architect Yakushiji-san.  They were by no means fluent in English but together they were able to respond to our initial questions and concerns by mixing languages a bit and using drawings and charts to explain away the complicated details.  We left the office feeling that they were a conscientious team, eager to help us build a quality home, knowledgeable about the building business, and on the same page as us regarding cost containment.

Shioda-san explained that he had created TwoStyle a few years back, after leaving a large House Maker firm where he felt the clients' interests were not being met adequately.  He felt the need to provide a service that would satisfy his work ethics: offer unique, quality home designs at controled pricing. Adding to our peace of mind, Shioda-san is also one of two architects in Western Tokyo with a JIO license to inspect construction quality.   I'll be posting more about TwoStyle Architects as we proceed further along with our design plans.

3 September 2010

Financial Matters

     The price tag attached to our dream piece of land had us plunge into all kinds of calculations and financial projections.  Buying property in Tokyo is costly!  Most banks are reluctant to loan past a certain amount, but they are willing to consider it if you can provide a sizeable downpayment, in our case, 20% of the cost of the land and house. After submitting our request for preapproval last week, we got good news today!  Our formal loan application was successful!  So now, there is no way to back out of this...

     What makes this purchase financially plausible and emotionally manageable is that the location of the land is outstanding and so is the reputation of the neighborhood.  And that's not even considering the fact that it's located only 8 minutes walk from Kichijoji station.  So, if at some point we were to decide to move to some other place, like say Bolivia (a bit unlikely), we could easily sell!  Here's  a photo of the beautiful stairway leading from Inokashira Park to our street.

     Now we need to start designing our home!  One of the conditions of our bank loan is that we start builiding 6 months from the signing of the contract and finish building within a year. A fun but slightly overwhelming project, considering all the ground we need to cover.  Let's now  focus on finidng a good architect and builder that will not default midway through the construction...
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