Author Topic: Asking for historical records of utility bills  (Read 2693 times)

grettman

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Asking for historical records of utility bills
« on: July 29, 2015, 07:02:31 AM »
Hi all,

When I make my next home purchase (in less than a year), I want to know what utlity costs are for the home before I purchase it.

First question:  has anyone done this?  I know it is a little unusual but I hope not overly so.

Second:  Should I do that before I put contract on the house or at the same time?  I think I would have to do at the time I give them a contract.  If I were them I wouldn't want to give out information to anyone other than a serious buyer.  I would wan this information BEFORE the inspection contengency clears so I have a way out if utility bills are alarmingly high.  Thoughts?  Yes I know that there are problems reading too much into the utility bills.  They could be over the top when it comes to using the AC and heat...  but it is a data point I would like to have.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 07:17:40 AM »
It is not that much effort to put together your last year's utility bills. When I last sold a house I sent them out before we got an offer. It's not like somebody else having that information affects my privacy, certainly not more than them walking through my house.

Rollin

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 07:31:24 AM »
I think more people should do this, as the costs can be very high in some cases.  The home I purchased had $400 monthly bills in the summer, but the seller said he averaged about $150 (crock o crap).  I have made significant changes in the home, added 4 more people (3 of them teens) and got it down to less than $200 in summer.  I will certainly advertise that when I go to sell.  The average buyer probably doesn't give a crap, but if written correctly I think it will get the right buyer at a better price.

forummm

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 08:30:25 AM »
When I sell, I'm going to provide utility records up front to any prospective buyer because my utilities are so low (maybe due to my usage habits, but still it provides a good sales case for the buyer). I think asking for utility records is a good idea. Some houses have really bad insulation or inefficient HVAC or really high rates in that jurisdiction.

babysteps

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 10:32:02 AM »
In our (cold climate) area, it is pretty standard for buyers to ask for a year's worth of utility costs. 
Sellers often provide a list (rather than the actual bills). 
If using a realtor, ask what the standard approach is - I have seen buyers ask for utility costs before making an offer in some cases.

Also, if I call our local utility as a prospective buyer of the property, they will give me an average monthly cost based on last 12 months' usage (and they will tell you if it looks like the building was occupied based on usage - IF you ask).  The utility reps used to look at the actual billing history month by month (and would look back more than 12 months to find usage if that was helpful), but have gotten a bit more limited/officious lately.

Dee18

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2015, 10:35:49 AM »
I checked with my local utility before buying.  They happily told me the average for the previous year as well as the highest and lowest month bills.  I was a little surprised at how easy that was.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2015, 11:20:16 AM »
Yes, I have done this and request the utility bills during the inspection due diligence period. You should ask your realtor about this for your state; some states you can cancel for no reason, or you might need to have it documented in the home inspection. If utility bills don't fall under the home inspection contingency scope in your state you could write the utility bill review as a separate contingency in your offer.

If utility bills were available prior to writing the offer, that would be a huge bonus :)

justchristine

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2015, 12:40:51 PM »
Our local utility company has a page on their website where you enter an address and it'll show you the high, low and average monthly bills for the past year.  It took some digging through their site to find it but it has been well worth the effort. 

grettman

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2015, 03:17:55 AM »
Thanks everyone for the replies.  I am happy to see that what I am asking about isn't too much "off the charts".  Ideally, I would like to get the info from the power/gas companies but I think I will have to ask for it.  Thanks for the ideas.

Rollin

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2015, 01:05:59 PM »
Something else to think about.  I'm getting a 4% loan for 30 years (it's a refi) and my agent said that I could add to the loan amount (go figure, but that's for another post) and it would be $5/month/$1,000.  So if you are saving $200/month (like I stated on my house) that is the same as $50,000 in the loan (or that much less)!

dandarc

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Re: Asking for historical records of utility bills
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2015, 01:13:13 PM »
It is basically public record here - you can search by address and get dollar amounts and energy / water use by month for the previous year.

Granted, it also depends on your use vs. the prior occupants use.  We're actually coming in lower than the prior occupant, and she was a single lady.  So apparently we run a somewhat more efficient operation.