When you’re budgeting for your monthly home expenses, it’s important to include more than just your monthly rent or mortgage payment. Utilities alone may include electricity, gas, water, cable, and internet, all of which can add to your overall living expenses.
On average, in the United States, people who rent apartment homes should plan to spend around $150–$200 per month for utilities, while homeowners should budget closer to $400 a month.
When you review U.S. national utility bill averages:
- Monthly electricity bills average $110.76
Natural gas expenses average $72.10
- Water bills average $70.39
- Cable tv costs around $85.00
- Monthly internet costs about $60.00
Naturally, budgeting for utilities depends on a few variables:
Where you live:
Utility bills can vary by state, region, or county. Geographical location is a huge factor, as is which specific neighborhood you live in. For example, Illinois is not an expensive state compared to the national average, but the Chicago area carries a higher than average cost of living.
The size of your home, and how many people live in it:
The larger your home, and the more people who live there, often leads to higher utility bills. Residents who choose to downsize to a condo, apartment, or apartment home can save up to hundreds of dollars a month in comparison to maintaining utilities for a four-bedroom house.
The local climate and season:
Geographical areas that experience extreme temperatures can have a dramatic effect on utility bills. A home’s highest energy consumption comes from heating and cooling. In some cases, apartment property management companies provide energy-efficient appliances that will help your budget, but it’s important to budget appropriately during certain seasons. Gas bills will most likely be higher in the winter, and electric bills will be higher in the summer.
Rent vs. Buy:
Another variable to consider in your overall living costs is renting vs. buying. In addition to electricity, natural gas, water, cable, and the internet, homeowners must budget for real estate taxes, landscaping maintenance service, builder assessments, homeowners association fees, and more.
What utilities are usually included in an apartment or home rental agreement?
As a general rule, property management companies make their own rules when it comes to “what’s included” with your lease payment. Some apartment neighborhoods include all utilities, while others may only include cable or internet.
There are pros and cons to “everything’s included”.
Account set up costs: Utilities that aren’t covered in your rental payment may require an added security deposit or prepayment for services as you move into your home.
One bill, one price: One advantage of having certain utilities included in your rent payment is that you get one bill and one price.
Limited flexibility: If you’re considering living in an apartment community or neighborhood that includes cable television with your rent, you may only have one or two options for your programming. No one wants to miss out on their favorite shows. The same goes for internet access. If you’re working from home or like smart technology and streaming, your internet plan may not meet your expectations in bandwidth and download speeds.
Paying for more than “your share”: Depending on the size of your complex or neighborhood, you may end up paying more for utilities that you don’t use. As an example, if your household includes only one person and you’re energy conscious, you may be paying slightly more than another resident who has three or four people in their home.
What’s important to remember? Utility costs for homeowners are generally more than twice the utility costs of those who are renting.
What’s the best way to budget for utilities?
For soon-to-be homeowners, if you’re working with a realtor, they will be able to give you a very good idea of what average utility bills and other expenses cost “per square footage” during all seasons.
For renters, an apartment neighborhood property manager or concierge will be able to give you all the details on what utilities are included and what the average cost is per month.
For many home seekers, budgeting for a mortgage, property taxes, private mortgage insurance, and homeowners’ insurance, along with potentially higher heating, cooling, electrical bills is overwhelming.
The good news is that there are excellent apartment rental home options that have many of the same amenities and benefits as a single-story “owned” home, but without additional homeowner costs that may include more expensive utility bills.
As an example, many Redwood apartment homes come equipped with upgraded finishes, like granite countertops, stainless appliances, and a kitchen pantry big enough to store countertop appliances. At Redwood neighborhoods, you can enjoy an open floor plan with flexible den space you can use as a workout space, a home office, a pet play area, or anything in-between.
Take the Redwood Advantage, for example. At Redwood, you can get all the best options:
- Attached garages
- Granite countertops
- Stainless steel appliances
- Energy efficient
The beauty of living in a Redwood Neighborhood is you know what you’re going to get—at every location. We go above and beyond to make sure you’ve got top-notch service to go along with your new, top-notch, single-story apartment home.
And every Redwood Neighborhood offers our signature benefits, including the Redwood Guarantee.