I’m a numbers guy. Not in the mathematician sense, but in that I won’t commit to a purchase until I can see how it’s going to play out before I do it. For most situations that’s pretty easy, look at the price of the item. Do I have enough money? Yes. OK, I can buy it. With this house stuff, it’s proving to be a lot more difficult.
Real estate listings show the annual taxes, so those are easy to calculate (at least for the current year, who knows what they will change to) and I can get a rough estimate for what a mortgage payment will be (of course rates vary and I’ll have to get an actual quote for the exact figure) but what’s tough for me to figure out are the recurring operating expenses like electricity, water, heating oil (if necessary), garbage collection, communications (phone, cable TV, Internet) and Insurance.
After digging through the provider websites I have a rough idea of what a monthly communications bill could be, depending on the package I’d choose, but figuring out the cost for electricity, water and heating oil seems like a shot in the dark. I can find rates per unit, but that doesn’t help when I don’t know what an expected usage would be. I was fortunate enough to have my parents show me what it costs to operate their house on a monthly basis, so I have at least one piece of data to work with, but their house is bigger than what I’m looking to buy, so I don’t know that it’d be an accurate measure. If it is, I’ve got my work cut out for me because when I look at my three biggest monthly expenses I get this
- Utilities and Taxes
- Mortgage Payment
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the problem is, when I look at my current income, I can only afford to pay any two of those three, and realistically I need to pay all three or buying a house isn’t going to happen. Even if I have a good down payment, if I can’t afford the monthly recurring costs, I’m shooting myself in the foot. I’m going to continue to save up for a down payment, but until I can see that the monthly expenses are something I can handle I’m not going to waste a Realtor’s time or have credit inquiries done.
Money is an intensely personal topic, so while I know that asking everyone I know what their monthly bills are would give me a ton of great data to work with and come up with averages, it would probably also really upset people to be asked. If you’d like to help, I’d really appreciate it. I’m trying to get a feel for the following costs, per month.
- Heating Oil or Natural Gas
- Garbage Collection
If you’d be willing to post those in the comments along with the approximate size of your house and the town where you live, that’d be great. If you think I’m missing something, I’d love to know that too. If sharing it publicly isn’t something you’re comfortable with, I completely understand, just leave me a comment and I’ll email you with my contact information.
Thanks again for your help, this house buying stuff is proving to be quite a lot to process.