Estimating How Much Apartment Utilities Will Cost

Estimating How Much Apartment Utilities Will Cost

When looking for a new apartment, you’ll want to consider utility costs along with rent price. Some leases include full or partial utility coverage; others will require you to do the set up yourself.

Ask the apartment manager for details about your utilities before you sign the lease and use these tips to help you estimate how much your apartment utilities will cost.

Calculate costs
If your apartment community pays for some or all of your utility costs, find out which utilities you will be responsible for. Sometimes a lease will cover water, garbage pickup, gas or Internet. Some buildings are all electric. Ask your apartment manager what you need to supply in terms of set up for both utilities covered by the apartment complex and utilities you will have in your name.

You can also ask the landlord or manager what most tenants in your prospective new building pay for their utilities or, for a more accurate number, ask a current resident yourself. You can also look online for average utility costs in your area.

Once you have an idea of what you average utility costs will be, take a look at your current utility bills. By looking at your current utility bills, you can get an idea of your utility usage and you will also have a baseline to compare your future utility costs to.

Find the best price
Once you’ve determined what utilities for your apartment you’ll need to set up, start shopping around for the best prices. Retail energy providers can help you find the lowest rate and lock it in. Search online for one in your area. Gas companies are very competitive, with some even offering cash-back incentives to use their service. Cable and phone companies are ready to bundle services for a discount. In all cases, compare installation charges, services provided, fees and the length of introductory rates. What seems like a bargain to begin with can quickly shoot up once the come-on rate expires.

Get only what you need
When seeing the many options offered in telephone, cable or Internet packages, it’s tempting to take on more services than you really need. Be realistic about the features you will really use and only sign up for those features. This will help you keep your utility bills low.

Apartment utilities are often a significant part of your living costs, so don’t leave them to chance. Know what utility costs to expect before you sign the lease and do the footwork to get the best possible rates.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons / stevendepolo

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