Energy Efficiency- The difference on Your Monthly Payment

Real Estate Agent with Utah Homes 9334967-SA00

"Electric Meter 1" by Kenn KiserIn Arizona, it's not uncommon to find many homes priced in the low $100's.

Such homes will have monthly mortgage payments just above or below $1,000/month - depending on the loan.

When comparing homes, the buyer will normally be able to add the other monthly responsibilities:

  • Telephone
  • Water
  • Electric
  • Cable
  • Transportation

Normally the Telephone and cable bills are very easy to compute. The water bill is not difficult either... they tend not to vary to much from location to location. Transportation costs are a function of location- so this is not difficult math either.

The area most overlooked, in my view, is electric. Note these things, when looking for the home:

  • Is it energy efficient?
  • How are the windows?
  • How is the insulation?
  • Which is the power company?
  • What is the internal volume of the home?
  • Which electric company provides service?
  • What is the age of the home?
  • Is there a pool?

When someone is on a budget, the heating, and especially cooling costs can add significantly to the monthly payment. Pools can add a couple hundred or more. Some older homes can cost twice as much to heat or cool.

So... when purchasing, be sure to add the utilities to your monthly preparation list.


Chuck Willman is a real estate agent based in Arizona

Photo Credit: "Electric Meter 1" by Kenn Kiser

Comments (10)

Sandy Shores FL RealtorĀ®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Hi Chuck, Great post and so true.  I agree, that electricity costs are an aspect of home buying that consumers often times overlook. So very true. Thanks for the reminder!  

Jan 28, 2009 01:50 AM
Gail MacMillan
Titusville, FL

Hi Chuck - Boy-o-Boy am I ever on the same bandwagon with this issue.  It's so hard to get buyer's to see that the deal, when looking at "the big picture" can turn into a miserable situation.  I've seen it before, American Dream turns into Money Pit - Good post!

Jan 28, 2009 05:54 AM
John Walters
Frank Rubi Real Estate - Slidell, LA
Licensed in Louisiana

Chuck I thought my home was energy efficient.  After this winter I am not so sure any more.  GO CARDS.

Jan 28, 2009 06:24 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Chuck, The utilities here are sky's wonderful to remind people not to forget to factor these bills in (and I always forget the water bill!).

Jan 28, 2009 10:08 AM
Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038 - Downingtown, PA


Buyer's today are asking for details from the Seller's on all housing costs.....down to the best grocery store.....LOL

Jan 29, 2009 12:20 AM
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Great advise especially for 1st time home buyers.  Don't forget the taxes & HOA dues too.  Sometimes they get so excited they don't add everything up. 

Oh and BTW is that a new picture!  Pretty dapper!

Your Raleigh Realtors!


Jan 29, 2009 04:23 AM
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

I usually advise buyers of older homes to add insulation in the attic and/or update the HVAC system if its over ten years old. These two things will make a huge difference in your monthly bill.

Jan 29, 2009 12:55 PM
Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

I usually try to get this info together for all my buyers. The fewer surprises the better! After living out west, taxes and utilities are so affordable here!

Jan 29, 2009 01:08 PM
Ann Heitland
Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties - Flagstaff, AZ
Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales

Good points -- more so in your area where AC runs 8 months of the year! (Here in Flagstaff, only about 10% of the homes have AC and most of the heating is natural gas.)

Jan 29, 2009 04:31 PM
Terry Miller
Miller Homes Group - Tyler, TX
Miller Homes Group and Tyler Apartment Locator

Another great post. That price range of home is usually a first time buyer on a budget in our area so that's real important.

Feb 01, 2009 02:04 AM