Your Monthly Housing Payment Beyond Principal Interest Taxes and Insurance: Utilities

Nobody wants to be house poor.  Therefore, understanding what your mortgage payment will be when buying a house is only part of what should be considered when contemplating one’s housing costs.  Getting quotes onutilities phone service, security systems, internet and cable are easy enough but utilities like heating and cooling costs can be a little trickier.   Taking these costs into consideration is important though because miscalculation can lead to unexpected payment shock.  Should that payment shock occur, it’s often too late to do much about it so it’s necessary to be proactive.

Some of the required seller disclosure items are quite silly considering that utility expenses are not one of them.  In the days of yore, in a lot of jurisdictions, one used to be able to contact the local utility and request the information for average monthly heating/cooling expenditures.  Now, for privacy reasons, that information needs to be requested from the seller.  And it should be.  It’s wise to ensure that this information is obtained prior to the expiration of the inspection contingency to ensure you have all necessary information for a complete decision making process.

After getting this information from the seller, a homebuyer can take the information from the inspection and identify potential savings.  Here are some relatively inexpensive but high impact energy efficient upgrades to consider:

Using the information from the seller on current utility expenditures to establish a baseline and comparing what energy efficiencies could be incorporated that aren’t currently being used (as would be revealed in the home inspection) can give a homebuyer the necessary, balanced idea of what to anticipate for utility costs.  This, combined with the mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, water, cable, internet, waste removal, home security and home phone service are the true costs of homeownership.  Failure to take them into consideration can turn an anticipated cash flow into a fantasy and leave a happy new homeowner with a financial hangover.

Charles Dailey – NMLS 79048 – Branch Manager, Loan Officer, Certified Military Housing Specialist


The Home Buyers Scouting Report® is provided directly to the buyer by HBM II, a licensed national real estate brokerage service company, not to or through a lender. The FREE home finding service is provided directly to prospective homebuyers by HBM II and its real estate brokers, as part of their ordinary real estate brokerage services. HBM II, Inc. works cooperatively with other real estate agents across the United States in attempting to find ready, willing and able buyers for homes listed for sale. The role of the Preferred Loan Officer is to assist in determining a comfortable home price range for Home Buyers Marketing II, Inc. (HBM II) to use when it is searching for property listings within the buyer’s search criteria.