Since its foundation in 1972, Ken Corporation has amassed more than 5,000 high-grade residences across the Tokyo metropolitan area and Yokohama, earning a reputation as a pioneer for luxury properties for foreigners in Japan. Built on a policy of trust over profit, and thanks to the removal of tiresome intermediaries such as bureaucratic housing agents, Ken Corporation has solidified itself as foreigners' first choice for high-end residences in and around Tokyo. Such a reputation has earned the company more foreigners than any other real estate business in the country.
Managing director Yu Saiki and general manager Nobuyuki Kaneiwa say to find the right property for their clients’ lifestyle, Ken Corporation conducts in-depth research on the neighborhoods of their properties before proposing a property. Such quality control has earned more than 50 percent of Ken Corporation’s clients as repeaters or referrals.
“We try to remove all the stress foreigners might encounter during their transition to Japan,” says Saiki. “We are the only G7 country that doesn’t speak English. It can be difficult for expats and their families to set up lives here.”
Ken Corporation not only finds its foreign clients housing based on their budget and commute to work but also based on their familial composition. When international company employees or government workers move to Tokyo, their families will move with them. It can be extremely frustrating for individuals having to conform to Japanese culture and housing regulations, let alone an entire family.
“It’s difficult for them to find the apartment without speaking or reading Japanese,” says Saiki. “Tenants need to be able to understand and read housing laws and the contract they are signing. Because some communication problems can arise, it can be difficult to persuade a landlord to rent to foreigners.”
Who does Ken Corporation help?
Foreign residents in Tokyo who work mainly as so-called "advanced human resources" in industries such as technology, humanities and international business. They typically have a housing budget, allowances and other benefits from their companies, enabling them to live in the city center when they are transferred by their companies to Tokyo.
For such people coming to Japan to work, Ken Corporation can help them find a place where they can live in a comfortable and organized environment (especially foreign-friendly, like in their home country) in order to achieve the best performance in their professions.
Tokyo is home to many major international companies and educational institutions, and the ratio of so-called advanced human resources and international students is higher than that of the rest of the country. Advanced talent has been consistently increasing since 2008.
Consulting service is one of Ken Corporation's strengths
Ken Corporation also has a consulting service for developers and landlords to build high-end and sophisticated apartments. With high expertise cultivated by specializing in luxury real estate in the city center, Ken Corporation provides rental management planning that achieves high profitability and stable operation on a bespoke basis. This includes construction of large rental housing and designer apartments targeting foreigners, renovation of not only a building but also one room in the apartment, for example. As a premium rental management partner, Ken Corporation provides total support from business planning to design and managing the operation of the apartments.
Saiki and Kaneiwa say that the real estate network of agents for expats in Japan is very small.
“They work for commissions, and unfortunately, that takes precedence over finding the right home. Because we have grown into such a large company, and developed such a large network of properties, we have the capability to find the best residence without being too bureaucratic. We manage the sales. Other companies only list for only Japanese or only for foreigners, but we list for both.”
Properties on the Ken Corporation website are updated daily so as not to disappoint potential clients, and photos are professionally done for a complete and honest look into the property. Most importantly, there is no runaround between Ken Corporation, the client, and the landlord.
“We are the closest source to the property,” says Kaneiwa. “We don’t want to waste anyone’s time. We are able to negotiate with the owner what the client is looking for, and we work out what’s best for everyone.”
Customers first, profits later
“The number of properties renting for less than ¥200,000 a month in Tokyo is enormous,” says Saiki. “Likewise, property more than ¥400,000 is quite limited. We focus somewhere in the middle. Primarily over ¥300,000, but more companies in Japan seeking residences for their employees only have a budget for less than that.”
By focusing on specific areas and clientele, Ken Corporation can provide foreigners who are seeking high-end real estate with accurate data such as property value and vacancy rates without the guessing games that typically come with house hunting in Japan. High quality and a wealth of hard information are what differentiates Ken Corporation from its competitors.
“Customer satisfaction first, profits later,” says Kaneiwa. “That's the key point for us because our clients—or our company client’s employees—are repeaters, and high quality, stress-free service is expected of us.”
For further information, call 03-5413-5666 or visit Ken Corporation's website.