Moving is an exciting time. Usually, considering your monthly budget is the first step in this process. After completing several apartment tours, your focus can often shift. All of a sudden newer appliances or luxurious amenities become top priorities. Before stretching yourself thin for granite counter-tops, remember to ask, how much do utilities cost?
Your monthly rent usually doesn’t include apartment utilities. Renting expenses can vary greatly, but here are the typical utilities to expect. Electricity, gas, water, trash, recycling, cable, and internet. We suggest including renter’s insurance on this list, as well.
What Utilities are Included in Your Lease?
Before taking the first step in applying for an apartment, you should know what utilities will be included in your lease.
It’s common for renters to have their trash and recycling bills covered by their landlord. The renter will then be responsible for the electric and water bill, for instance. However, free WiFi is a new option some renters wouldn’t think to ask about. So make sure you have every utility listed clearly on your lease agreement.
Your electricity bill is usually the largest utility bill due monthly. There are key things to look for when renting an apartment that could play into a pricey bill. Here are a few things to consider…
Number of Rooms
The more rooms you have, the more rooms you’ll need to heat and run your air conditioner to keep cool. Always check if the apartment has electric baseboard heaters. These heaters are individual units that heat your apartment room-by-room. Another option offered room-by-room is a PTAC or packaged terminal air conditioner. PTAC’s are self-contained heating and air conditioning systems typically installed in the wall of a single room.
Ways to Conserve Energy
- Maintain an average temperature throughout the day. Don’t make the mistake of leaving your heater or air conditioning off during the day. Cranking the dials drastically when you get home can actually work against you. Your heater or air conditioner is using a lot more energy to drastically change the temperature than they would be if they kept a steady pace throughout the day and night.
- Invest in energy efficiency.
- Replace your light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs – Not only will you save money using anywhere from 25-75% less electricity, but you will also rarely need to replace these bulbs. They can last up to 20 times longer than regular light bulbs. A true win-win.
- Use Smart power strips – The electricity used when electronics are turned off or in standby mode, are a major source of energy waste. These are known as, “Phantom Loads”. You can eliminate this extra cost by using Smart or Advanced power strips. When your electronics are not in use, these power strips will turn them off. They can be set to a timer or controlled by a remote device. Both saving you money and upping your cool factor.
Heating and Gas Bills
These bills are commonly found on your electricity bill. However, due to gas appliances and gas heaters, these could be sent separately. Either way, it’s beneficial to know if you should calculate these costs into your monthly budget before renting your apartment or townhome.
It’s also smart to ask your landlord or property manager what to expect in utility costs. Calling the utility company is equally important. Never go off just an opinion or personal guess. Ask the landlord for the exact apartment address and apartment number of your potential new rental home. Then provide that address to the utility company for the average bill in that specific unit. This will be the closest you will come to know your likely costs in the future.
Who Pays for Water?
The majority of apartment complexes or townhome properties include water in the rent price. In comparison, there are locations that make their tenants split the cost of the entire building or with the floor their apartment is located on. As an example, if you live on the fourth floor, you would split the water bill with every other apartment on that floor. It seems less than appealing, right? Thankfully, our properties are not included in that group!
The average daily water usage is split between the toilet, bathtub or shower, and appliances, including a washer and dishwasher. In addition to those, don’t forget the water used for drinking and personal hygiene.
Cable and Internet Bills
Are you streaming your TV services or purchasing a cable package to DVR your favorite shows? No matter the case, you’ll need the internet for both!
Research what cable and internet companies service the area you’re looking to live in. Then decide if you’re going to need faster speeds to fit your needs. (We’re poets over here.) The majority of our properties, for instance, offer AT&T Fiber which has speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. The demands of an online gamer will be different than someone who just pops on Amazon for a quick purchase here and there. So make sure you’re not overpaying for something you’ll never use.
Total Utility Costs
To summarize, there is no way to estimate the total utility costs without considering your individual renting scenario. This budget will depend on things like how many people live in the apartment, what climate you live in, and what your daily habits are. Take the time to research what best fits your needs. When in doubt, ask questions! Never be afraid to cover your bases and ask questions when touring different apartment communities. Expensive surprises are the worst kind of surprises. To help get you started, we’ve added a few links from local companies below. Also, hop on over to our Rental Application page and check out what beautiful apartment homes we currently have available. One of our amazing property managers will be happy to answer any questions you may have!