Estimating Utilities cost

9 Replies

Experienced investors, thank you for your time. I understand I can call the agent to get details on the cost of utilities, but what is a good method to do a quick ballpark estimate for monthly utility costs when I am just throwing deals on the calculator to see if they are even worth diving into further? My market is Northern Florida, Gainesville, Ocala, and Jacksonville

Depends on the area, climate and size of the unit for a 1500 sqft house near me (I don't pay utilities for tenants) I would estimate $100 for electric $80 for water $60 for gas only during winter months $10 in summer and $75 every 3 months for trash

in Jacksonville if the property is vacant I would allow for $75-100/month water electric and sewer for your standard 3/2 home.
also don't forget lawn care while vacant, going rate is $35-40/ cut. in the summer if I am rehabbing I do every other week, if marketing and looking for tenants weekly.

What are you buying? Sewer and trash fees are usually very consistent. Electric, gas and water can be all over the map. More importantly, are you talking about master metered multifamily? If it's SFR then your concern should be whether the tenant can afford it in addition to rent.

Ok so that was my question, I understand these things are typically covered by the tenant so do I roll the cost into the rent I charge or is it understood that the rent being charged has accounted for these costs?

You shouldn't sign a lease with a new tenant until they have the electric bill in their name. Really, they should have all the utilities in their names.

I am an agent here is Gainesville,FL and depending on where in town you find your property the utilities can vary by quite a lot just because of the utility company. If Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) is the company it going to be pretty high, but they are a public company so you are able to call them up and ask for the amounts over the last year. If you have clay electric or some others it’s quite a bit lower. 

I even have some buyers have that as a criteria when looking for a home to purchase. They do not want to be on GRU. 

Hope this helps in this area at least. 

There is a much easier way. 

Call the utility in question and ask about the usage of the property address. When I have contacted utilities in my area, they tell me the range of highest and lowest in the last 12 months. i.e. P"ower usage ranges $75-$300 in past 12 months." They won't give me specifics though that is enough for my purposes. Just ask, "I am looking/renting a property, is there a way to find out how much the average utility bill is or a range?" I have never been told no - they just ask me the address and fork over the info.

Originally posted by @Jacob L White :

Ok so that was my question, I understand these things are typically covered by the tenant so do I roll the cost into the rent I charge or is it understood that the rent being charged has accounted for these costs?

The utilities are completely separate from the rent.  

You charge whatever rent you want and that will get paid to you.

The utilities should be in the tenants name and they should be paying those directly.

You shouldn't be trying to roll them into the rent and then pay them yourself.

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