When purchasing a home, home buyers often focus on the cost of a home. This makes sense, since a home will be the most expensive thing many people ever purchase. However, if you’re in the market for a house don’t just focus on the listed prices and insurance rates. In addition to mortgage payments, taxes and insurance, you’ll also have to pay for utilities. Purchasing a newly constructed home, rather than an existing home, could save you a lot of money on your utilities.
Utilities for a Single-Family Home Aren’t Cheap
Water and electric (and gas, if you have it) for a single-family home aren’t cheap. If you’ve previously only lived in apartments, prepare to spend a lot more on heating your home in winter and cooling during the hot Arizona summer. Then there is cooking, powering lights and running appliances. In some cases, you may end up paying several hundred dollars a month — perhaps even over $500 a month — just for utilities.
When looking at a specific home, you should be able to get an estimate on how much to budget for utilities from either the current homeowner (for existing homes) or the builder (for new construction homes). Homeowners will have records of how much they’ve paid for electric and water over the past year, and it’s standard practice to provide prospective home buyers with the information. Builders of new construction homes won’t have a year’s history of utility bills, but they should be able to provide you an estimate based on their calculations and other homes they’ve sold.
New Construction Homes Are More Efficient Than Existing Homes
If you have utility cost estimates for a new construction home and an existing home, the new construction home’s estimate will likely be lower than the existing homes — possibly much lower. When all other factors (such as size and style) are the same, new construction homes have lower electric and water bills, because they’re more energy efficient than existing homes.
There are several reasons why new construction homes are more energy-efficient than existing homes. New construction homes:
- have more advanced insulation than existing homes
- use the latest building materials and building standards
- are equipped with high efficiency HVAC systems
- use high quality windows
- seal all vents and duct work
- are equipped with the latest energy-efficient appliances
- are equipped with high-efficiency heat pump and water heater
Because utilities can cost so much, even a slight improvement in energy efficiency could save you a lot of money each month. Depending on the homes you’re comparing, the difference between a new construction home’s and a pre-existing home’s utility bills could turn out be in the hundreds of dollars.
Save Money Each Month with a New Construction Home
Even if a new construction home costs slightly more than a pre-existing home, the utility savings may more than make up for the difference in sale price. As the months go by, the money you save will add up. For example, if the difference in electric and water for two homes is $100, after five years you would save $6,000 by purchasing the more energy-efficient home. After 10 years, your savings would be $12,000.
As you shop for homes, ask your real estate agent to show you the monthly utility costs of each home you consider. You may just be surprised by how much you could save if you bought a new construction home instead of a pre-existing one.
At Garrett Walker Homes, we take great pride in our new homes and our community. We are an Arizona based home builder with strong roots in the state and understand the challenges that our harsh Arizona weather can present to new homes. We are committed to building beautiful, functional homes that use the very latest in energy efficient standards. We believe in sustainability and creating a better Arizona for everyone.