Utility Budgeting for Apartment Renters
When you’re looking for apartments, the first consideration is how much the monthly rent is. Stopping there is a big mistake that occurs with many first-time apartment dwellers. Rent is just one (albeit major) expense you have to consider when apartment hunting. The second category of expenses is utilities, which will include electricity, gas, internet, and possibly, cable. It’s becoming increasingly rare to find a property where the rent includes all utilities; in some instances, the landlord will pay for water and gas, but that perk is also dwindling.
When you’re interviewing property management companies, be sure to ask them what utilities you will be responsible for and ask them if they know the average monthly costs for current (and previous) residents. You can also do some Google research as many sites have averages for specific regions of the country. Another idea is to talk to your new utility companies when setting up your accounts.
If you’re touring the property in person, take a close look at the doors and windows, especially in an older building. Lack of storm windows, windows that don’t close properly, and doors with gaps at the threshold can all signal a drafty apartment that will be expensive to heat in the winter and keep cool during the summer.
If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperature swings such as extremely hot, humid summers and frigid winters, consider going on a level-payment plan. With these plans, the utility company averages your monthly bills and you pay the same fee every month. This works if you’d like a predictable amount to budget for; for others who may have very low summer gas bills or reduced winter electric bills, they may prefer to pay the full amount due each month.
There are many online resources for advice on managing your utility bills, but one option to consider when moving in is to install a smart thermostat. This will probably already exist in a new build, but if not, ask your property manager if you can install one. You can program the smart thermostat to adjust the indoor heating and cooling for when you’re going to be out of the apartment for long periods, such as during the workday. The utility company can also automatically adjust your thermostat during peak usage seasons. It’s worth looking into and you can find smart thermostats at a variety of price points; in some cities, as an incentive, the utility company will give you one as well as install it for free.
Having a utility budget before you sign the lease is a preventive measure for avoiding nasty surprises when the monthly statements arrive. Doing some research in advance is well worth the effort and you may even discover some ways to save during the process.
GET COZY IN A VISION COMMUNITY APARTMENT
At Vision Communities, we want you to make your apartment your home, and whatever temperature you prefer, you’ll want to understand what to budget for your utility bills. If you are looking for a new apartment, be sure to put a VC community on your list to tour. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC.
Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live.