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Guest Blogger: New Homeowner Tips for Estimating Utility Costs

Guest Blogger #929, Entry #2301, April 16, 2013

Market price is one important consideration for first time home buyers like you, but you also need to think about what a home is going to cost after you purchase it. Home utility costs can run the gamut in pricing from highly affordable to wildly expensive. You might move into your new home only to find the cost of utilities too great to bear. Remember these tips for estimating utility costs when purchasing a new home so that you can be as informed as possible.

colorful kitchen views

Measure the home to start estimating utility costs

Image via: steveSIMMONS architect

1. Measure the Home

A home’s size is one of the most important factors to take into account when estimating the cost of utilities. Get accurate measurements of the whole house and see how they compare to your current home. A larger home will require more energy for heating and cooling, and will tend to use more water as well. A spacious lawn surrounding a home will also drive up water consumption as regular watering becomes necessary. Measure the size of any home you’re considering to get a better idea of the cost of utilities.

2. Check All Appliances

When you tour a home that you may be considering for a purchase, be sure to take a good look at any appliances that might come with the deal. A fully equipped kitchen can be a major selling point for a home, but not if every appliance is over 20 years old. Outdated appliances will cause energy consumption to skyrocket, making the cost of utilities higher. Inspect kitchen appliances, water heaters, air conditioners and any other appliances that will come with the home.

kitchen dark appliances view

Are the kitchen appliances in good working order?

Image via: Benjamin Benschneider

3. Inquire About Insulation

A house needs to be insulated in order to achieve a decent level of energy efficiency, so you should ask about insulation whenever you look at a possible new home. Inquire about insulation in outside walls: when was it installed, and what materials were used? Be sure to look for an insulated attic as well. Lots of heat can escape a home through its roof in the winter. A well insulated home will reduce energy consumption, so remember to ask about this to help estimate utility costs.

4. Conduct a Professional Evaluation

An energy auditor can help you learn the facts about your possible new home’s energy consumption and efficiency, and hiring an auditor is one of the best ways to estimate utility costs. A comprehensive energy audit will inspect all appliances and utilities for efficiency, look for any air leaks or breaks in insulation, and figure out how much energy it will take to keep your future home comfortable. Look for an energy auditor in your area who can inspect possible new homes thoroughly and professionally.

bedroom view windows

Check the future home for good insulation

Image via: Dick Clark Architecture

5. Ask for Copies of Past Bills

Finally, ask for copies of utility bills from the previous owners, if available. If you are buying from the home owner, or purchasing a home that has been recently occupied, you may be able to see some actual utility bills. Alternatively, look into websites like to help you estimate utility costs. You can get free quotes on gas and electricity, helping you estimate utility costs. This is an important consideration in the home buying process, so remember these tips to help you figure out what your home will cost you after the deal is closed.

For more home buying & selling tips on Stagetecture, click here.

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