Budgeting for your home starts when you decide to buy or sell a home and ends when you understand your monthly costs for the length of your loan. A common mistake for new homebuyers is to prioritize the expenses at the front of the home buying process and unfortunately get surprised by the expenses that come after they close on their home. Lending companies typically include your home insurance, HOA fees, and other fees associated with the monthly mortgage amount, but remember they are not quoting you for your monthly utilities. Here are 5 common utility expenses to budget for when considering the home buying process.
Depending on the location of your new home, companies such as Comcast and DirecTV offer bundled discounts for TV and internet. In the Puget Sound area, Comcast/Xfinity offers simple plans that fit your lifestyle. The internet plan ranges on how fast you require your internet to be in your home, and the cable plans range by how many channels you want access to. DirecTV partners with CenturyLink in Puget Sound and breaks down their plans in a similar fashion. To ensure the best service, talk to some community members in your new neighborhood to see how they like their cable and internet utility service.
Sewer is an every other month expense. Total amount is based on if your family is a single family home or multi-family home. In Pierce County the single family home ranges $10-$14 more per bill. Contact your HOA or community members to see who your local provider is. This expense remains constant from bill to bill.
The electricity and gas expense differs from month to month depending on how much you use. It’s typical for this bill to be lower in the summer and higher in the winter. The electric portion of your bill is based off the usage of your lights, as well as thermostat. Since summer brings lighter days and warmer weather, this portion of the bill tends to go down in the summer months. The gas portion of your bill is based on the usage of your gas fireplace and your gas stove. Contact your community to see who the local electricity and gas provider is for your new neighborhood.
The water expense also differs from month to month depending on how much water you use in your home. This includes, showers, cooking, watering the lawn, washing your car, and so forth. Contact your local community to see who your water provider is for your neighborhood.
Garbage, recycle, and yard waste is a constant expense from bill to bill. Once you move in, you will decide if you need yard waste or not. This adds about $10 per month to your total utility expenses. This is dependent on your lifestyle. Once you find our who your disposal company is, they will send you a schedule for pickup and will contact you with any changes to the schedule.
While there are other monthly expenses you may want to include in your budget (i.e., home security, garden maintenance., etc) these 5 utility expenses are mandatory to budget for when moving into your home. If you don’t budget these into your monthly expenses, you may be surprised with hundreds of unexpected dollars you need to pay to keep your home functioning. Understanding these expenses before deciding to buy a home will help you stay on top of your expenses and will allow you budget for other things you want and need in your life.