If your utility costs are SUCH a concern, PLEASE do not lease a home from me!

Property Manager with Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

Our area's rental market for single family homes is VERY HOT!  Rental prospects are actually OUT BIDDING each other for desirable homes * 4 bedrooms w/2-car garages in GOOD school districts.

If they want a 2-year lease, I am NOT discounting the rental rate; however, I will keep the rent at the CURRENT quoted rental rate for 2 years. 

I am collecting their check for the first FULL month's rent and the security deposit BEFORE I write the lease and I'm NOT making deals to collect security deposits over a couple of months.

.....so when they ask me for utility costs, that is a RED FLAG that they can not pay the quoted current rent and are concerned for their costs and budget.  If they are so concerned about the utility costs, they need to find another rental home that is BELOW THEIR RENTAL PRICE RANGE.

Utility costs are VERY subjective.  They depend on the size of the family * if they are home during the day * if they are conscientious about keeping their thermostat 2 degrees off their comfort zone....loads of variables so when a rental prospect asks me or wants to call the residents to discuss these costs, I say


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Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I get this same thing with homebuyers and they wonder why they aren't taken seriously.  If you're renting a home for $5K a month, don't asking about the $200/month utility bill.  I've had to council people about this and they wonder if I'm crazy. 

Jul 05, 2011 07:24 AM #1
Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

Yes... Next! is a most appropriate word in this situation.

Jul 05, 2011 07:24 AM #2
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Wow is all I have to say on this one. I will agree with you that if concern over utlities comes up in conversation, next may be the appropriate reply.

Jul 05, 2011 07:33 AM #3
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Prospects' questions DO need to change in a HOT RENTAL MARKET!  They need to be SELLING themselves MORE than questioning the properties.

The prospect who INSPIRED this post actually wanted to talk to the current residents about the utility costs of the property because they had heard horror stories of heating costs....NOT! then NEXT!

Jul 05, 2011 07:38 AM #4
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I just had a conversation with a tenant saying windows needed to be replaced.  They aren't broken and sure they are 20 years old but the owner doesn't need to replace them because you don't like your utility bill.  Sorry.

Jul 05, 2011 07:39 AM #5
Al Raymondi
Ocean View Realty Group in Ormond By The Sea Florida - Ormond Beach, FL
Ormond By The Sea Florida - Home and Condo Sales

Subjective is a good word for the utility bills Wallace.  My mother-in law used to keep her house around 87 degrees.  My wife keeps ours at 72 through the hot Florida summer.

Jul 05, 2011 12:08 PM #7
Bob & Leilani Souza
Souza Realty 916.408.5500 - Roseville, CA
Greater Sacramento Area Homes, Land & Investments

Wallace, you're exactly right that you can't really predict what someone's utility bills will be. There are TOO MANY factors to consider and if they're cutting it that close to be so concerned about utility bills, they may be better off in a lower-priced rental. :)


Jul 05, 2011 04:44 PM #8
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Wallace - The old saying that if you have to ask what the gas mileage is you can't afford the vehicle.  It is the same with utilities.

Jul 06, 2011 12:05 AM #9
Evelina Tsigelnitskaya
SIB Realty - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
www.SIBRealty.org 305-931-6931

Yes, I live in the house, I know, it is no maintenance to condo association, still pay a lot (water, cable, Internet, garden + much higher electrical bill). But my family members love to visit me - free parking :)

Great post. Thank you.

Jul 06, 2011 12:41 AM #10
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Home and Condo Specialists

There is a popular condo community here on Long Island that is electric heating and cooking and usually the first question asked is how much to heat this place. We have been in units that were freezing cold in the winter and the owner is wearing a sweater, and we have been in ones where it is so hot we can't wait to leave ~ very subjective!

Jul 06, 2011 01:00 AM #11
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

This rental prospect is very upset with me because I won't jump through hoops to talk to the last occupant or my current renters about the utility bills.  I responded that since I did not have application paperwork for her, I would not be tasking my residents with her inquiry.

Jul 06, 2011 02:11 AM #12
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


We just don't have any good data about last years utility costs for the homes.  Even if we did, it wouldn't include this years July 1st, 2011 - 12% water charge increase by the City of Atlanta.  

It's totally subjective.  Can't really help folks with that one.

You are still nicer than me.  On multiple year leases, we have an escalation clause for a minimum of 4% rent increase for the follow on years.  

All the best, Michelle

Jul 06, 2011 04:50 AM #13
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Michelle * my rents are TOP of the market anyway so keeping the same rent for 2 years is OK....I'm just not discounting the second year

Jul 06, 2011 08:43 AM #14
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