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Christine Schindel

Calculating utilities for your new home

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - Article by: Christine Schindel - Prospect Financial Group, Inc. - Message

When searching for a new home, most people's primary monetary concern is their mortgage payment. But the cost of your new walls and roof aren't all you'll be paying for. The next biggest house expense after your mortgage is paying for the things that help run it: utilities. In some places you could be paying over $500 a month for combined utilities. Before you decide on how much house you can afford, make sure to add up all the other living expenses you'll incur. Make sure to get a ballpark figure of these extra costs, so you can weigh the decision to buy a home with everything accounted for.

Take inventory!

Your list of utilities will probably be a long one. Not only will you be paying for water, gas, trash pickup, and power, but there are also added expenses like cable, internet, phone services, and maybe even the extras: lawn care and landscaping, premium TV channels, digital cable, Netflix, et al. Separate what is essential and what isn't to try to figure out how much you'll be paying and decide what you can afford. Some things are options, and some are not. If your mortgage payment is stretching your wallet, you'll need to cut down on all of the non-essential items, at least for a little while.

Your utility bill will be determined by how many people live in your household and where your property is located. Water for a small apartment can cost $10; whereas water for a household of four can cost $200 dollars. You'll want to make sure you include your household's headcount in your projected costs.

There are many websites that can help you estimate the costs of your monthly utilities. Some are more in-depth and ask questions about specific appliances and types of lightbulbs, and some just ask about family size and location.

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