Since buyers will want to know primarily heating, cooling and general electricity costs, the request is something to be expected, and I do advise all listing agents to be prepared to provide the info in advance.
As a listing agent, a question I usually always get from a prospective buyer is how much the utility bills are for the house or condo they are interested in purchasing.
Smart buyers want to know the total cost of owning the home and a realistic assessment includes utility/operating costs.
The most common utilities are natural gas, oil, propane, electricity, and water.
Other operating expenses might include sewer fees, garbage pickup, snow plowing, lawn mowing, spring and fall cleanups, pool opening and closing, irrigation system maintenance and septic cleanout.
Add in approximate heating, electric and water monthly bills to the purchasing equation along with any other expenses, and the house the buyer thought was affordable may suddenly become anything but.
One drill that I always ask sellers to do for me BEFORE listing is to fill out a operating expense sheet and provide detail going back one year. I do this for two reasons:
1) As stated earlier, most buyers will ask for it. When I get the request, I am ready to provide the info to the buyer’s agent quickly without having to bother and stress the sellers to round up all the information as quickly as possible.
2) After examining the costs, the property may present itself with low enough energy costs to include this information in my selling points.
The caveat with how much the heating and cooling costs are would be the temperatures the homeowner sets thermostats as this will obviously affect the monthly costs. I do ask for that info as well.
There are variables, and buyers and their agents always understand this. They just want to see the actual numbers so they have an idea of what they might expect. Once they move in, they can improve the numbers by getting an energy audit which might include recommendations for programmable thermostats, attic insulation, or new windows as examples.
A few years back I had a client with an all electric heat condo which showed higher than expected monthly winter heating bills. My client came from an extremely warm climate and she kept the thermostat at a minimum of 72 -75 daily in the winter ….. not where the average unit owner did. This obviously resulted in the higher bills, she made that notation on her utility sheet, and the buyer did buy the condo.
Since buyers will want to know primarily heating, cooling and general electricity costs, the request is something to be expected, and I do advise all listing agents to be prepared to provide the info in advance. Having a form completed prior to listing, similar to what I shared (above), does save time, is less stress for your seller clients, and gets the information to interested buyers as quickly as possible.
How Much Are the Utility Bills For This Property?