The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

According to the Mortgage Rescue Association, the number of consultations with property investors facing challenges with their investments is increasing rapidly. More than 60 percent of inquirers fail to realize a return on investment (ROI) and file for voluntary bankruptcy.

Many in this group made bad bets based on advice from brokers who were far from transparent about the risks. In fact, such investors were often victims of agents concerned more with off-loading properties than being forthcoming and providing long-term ROI.

And it is not just Japanese investors who are experiencing such sharp practice in the industry. Foreign investors, most of whom are not experienced in the market, often feel taken advantage of or under-informed, Tsuyoshi Hikichi, managing director of Tokyo-based Axios Management KK, told The ACCJ Journal.

Hikichi’s sentiments are shared by others. “I’m in the process of buying property, and one thing I have found is that real estate investing here is extremely confusing,” said a long-term Japan resident who is an aspiring investor from Australia.

“I sat in a five-hour meeting with an agent and had to go through all these terms. The question that came to my mind was: ‘Why?’ I remember thinking: ‘One, I don’t understand the language; and two, the process is very cumbersome.’”

Fortunately for this investor, his Japanese spouse was able to help him through the sometimes laborious and often obscure process. Another investor, also a long-term resident but from the United States, shared an equally unsatisfactory experience.

“I once spoke to a real estate company that told me, ‘You can buy this place and easily raise the rent.’ He effectively rushed me through the process in an effort to get me to sign only to find out that raising the rent after the tenant has signed the lease is difficult.”

Both investors felt shortchanged; but their stories are not unusual. Indeed, they appear to be on the rise. For Hikichi, this means finding transparent, professional, and trustworthy asset managers who are bilingual and focus on long-term returns can be a challenge in Japan.

Axios was established to fill this gap. Through their asset management strategies—including exacting due diligence, property management, market research, valuation, and a focus on long-term ROI—the company has become the go-to property investment partner for expats.

“For someone like me—a foreign investor in Tokyo that is in need of someone who can connect me to local property managers—there just aren’t that many companies out there like Axios,” said the American investor.

Axios’s portfolio of residential properties includes individual units and whole buildings. What sets the company apart is a focus on honesty and a desire to go above and beyond.

“Sometimes I have to tell clients that the rent is too high, and that is why there are empty units in the property. But I also go out of my way to find solutions for them. Or, when my foreign friends ask for advice, I tell them exactly what I think. I’m always direct and honest with them.”

From initial consultation to tenant exit procedures, Axios Management offers its clients a full range of customized property management services, focusing on both maximizing owners’ ROI and protecting their interests.