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You’re all set. You and your Realtor® have found the perfect property, the down payment is ready, your mortgage has been pre-approved, the house you want is within your reach – great job! However, there’s one small but crucial task you should not forget to look into before making that offer that you may not have considered and investigate what the utility bills are like. Gauging the energy efficiency of the house and what you’re in for during the various seasons will go a long way to make you a more informed and prepared buyer.

On top of your monthly mortgage payment, you are responsible for property taxes, home insurance, cable and/or internet and regular maintenance. It’s advisable that you also take a look at the monthly utilities as well that are associated with that home.

See the bills first

Before finalizing your offer, ask your Realtor® to get copies of 12 months’ worth of utility bills from the seller. That means, hydro, gas (or oil or propane), water, sewage or other utilities tied to the home. Whether it’s your first or 5th home you’ve purchased, it’s important to know what to expect to pay for your utilities as each home is different.

Tumble the numbers

As a general rule, it’s recommended that you don’t want to be spending more than 25-30 percent of your monthly gross income on housing. Basic utilities can average around $200 plus each month, depending on the size of the home and time of year. If you have viewed the utility bills over the past year, you can then determine if the property is too pricey or well-within your budget.

Inspector to look at the materials

Before making the offer final, it’s a good idea to have a home inspection. During this process, the inspector will also take a look at the condition of the systems and materials that affect the property’s energy usage such as air conditioners, furnaces, insulation, windows and doors. Make sure your inspector takes a good look around the property and if they can see any energy upgrades that should be done.

Protect yourself one last time

Lastly, you want to make sure that your Offer to Purchase should state somewhere in it that all utility bills issued before closing date are to be paid in full by the seller by the closing date. Unpaid bills for utility charges can be a problem, no matter who owns the property. Some public utilities have the legal right to place a lien against a property for unpaid bills. Your Realtor® or real estate lawyer can help you with this process.

It may seem like a very small step to view the utility bills during the hectic home-buying process, but it will go a long way in helping you feel confident you can afford the property and having an idea of what to expect each month. At Clairwood Real Estate, we are here to help you along the way. Whether you are buying a condo, a home, a recreational property or even if you’re looking to buy an investment property, we would be pleased to help you! Our team services everywhere from Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, The Blue Mountains, Grey County and the Meaford area. You will find our experienced Clairwood Realtors® are knowledgeable and eager to help you buy or sell, for a price that works for you! Call us anytime at 705-445-7085.