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Old 03-23-2010, 11:40 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
300 posts, read 764,684 times
Reputation: 175

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I've been researching townhouses to rent in NoVa. We are looking to rent in the $2300-$2800/month range and I would like some input on how much it costs to maintain a townhouse.

Info:

We are looking at 3-4 Bedrooms, 2-3 baths. From what I can gather online, most townhouses are 2-3 stories. (We don't really have townhouses out here in Southern CA, so I am unfamiliar).

We are a family of two adults, and one baby under 1.

We are primarily looking in Alexandria, Mt. Vernon and parts of Woodbridge (I'm still researching Woodbridge- I've seen mixed info so far)....just in case the location matters in regards the natural resource prices.

Here are my questions for this size townhouse (which seems to be a typical size):

-What are typical gas bills in summer/winter? (assuming gas is higher in winter)

-What are typical electric bills in summer/winter? (assuming electric is higher in summer- A/C)

-What does a typical water bill look like?

-What are typical landscaping fees for small yards? Are they normally included in the rent, or does it just depend on who you rent from?

-If you live in a townhouse community or city block, does the snow get "taken care of" for you as part of your rent/HOA services or does the city provide snow services if you live on a city block? Do you hire this out separate? If so, what is the cost of this service in the snow season (driveway, sidewalk, etc.).

-Does the owner pay HOA fees (if any), or do we pay that on top of the rent?

-How much do your utility + water bills differ if you are a corner unit v. a unit in the middle?

-And....if there is anything else I should know, please share!

Thank you.
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:37 AM
 
1,034 posts, read 1,515,661 times
Reputation: 378
I live in a 3 story - 3200 sq ft end unit with lots of windows on the side. I believe in being warm in the winter and cold in the summer in my own home..so needless to say I don't "conserve" energy very well.

I also have lights on all over...run water needlessly, though we are working on that. 1 husband, 1 7 year old...

-What are typical gas bills in summer/winter? (assuming gas is higher in winter)

Gas bills for the past three months (very cold three months) $183, $199, $122
They average about $30 in the summer


-What are typical electric bills in summer/winter? (assuming electric is higher in summer- A/C)

I'm on a level billing @ $156. Use about $280 in the summer, but it averages out

-What does a typical water bill look like? Water is billed quarterly the past 2 quarters it was $78.77 alnd $86.42 higher in the summer if you water.

-What are typical landscaping fees for small yards? Are they normally included in the rent, or does it just depend on who you rent from?

I have a small yard, pay a guy $25 to mow as needed, BUT he is the exception. I used to pay about $75 for the same thing. Could be included in your rent.

-If you live in a townhouse community or city block, does the snow get "taken care of" for you as part of your rent/HOA services or does the city provide snow services if you live on a city block? Do you hire this out separate? If so, what is the cost of this service in the snow season (driveway, sidewalk, etc.).

It all depends on where you live. Some HOA do it, some don't as the streets belong to VDOT. I live in Kingstowne and it is a mix. I get it from thru the HOA and it is quicker than the streets that wait for VDOT contractors, as they are busier. BUT this year was the exception, not a big deal, and most people don't pay someone to shovel their driveway, most TH driveways are small.

-Does the owner pay HOA fees (if any), or do we pay that on top of the rent?

If you rent the homeowner is required to pay the HOA fees. Not to say that they don't add that to the rent, but it won't show as such on your lease.

-How much do your utility + water bills differ if you are a corner unit v. a unit in the middle? I have tons of windows, do I get wind and sun...it is higher than a middle unit, but worth it.
-And....if there is anything else I should know, please share!

Thank you.[/quote]
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Woodbridge, VA
63 posts, read 126,450 times
Reputation: 33
Just providing my inputs. I live in a three level townhome (no basement) in Woodbridge. Two adults, one teen, 1800 square feet of livable space, 300 square foot once car garage on ground floor.

Here are my questions for this size townhouse (which seems to be a typical size):

-What are typical gas bills in summer/winter? (assuming gas is higher in winter)

Gas bill in the summer goes down to about $24 a month. This past winter, the highest was $100. We have a gas hot water heater and gas furnace. All other appliances are electric. We do have a high efficiency central unit.

-What are typical electric bills in summer/winter? (assuming electric is higher in summer- A/C)

Electric in the winter typically runs us about $60 or so, during the summer, highest I have ever had was $140 (during a really hot spell).

-What does a typical water bill look like?

Water/sewer bill combined runs $32 per month. I replaced the builder grade shower heads with these high efficent heads that I found at Home Depot. They are great. We also have high efficiency applicanes such as dish washer, washing machine, etc.

-What are typical landscaping fees for small yards? Are they normally included in the rent, or does it just depend on who you rent from?

HOA does all the yard work.

-If you live in a townhouse community or city block, does the snow get "taken care of" for you as part of your rent/HOA services or does the city provide snow services if you live on a city block? Do you hire this out separate? If so, what is the cost of this service in the snow season (driveway, sidewalk, etc.).

HOA takes care of garbage, snow removal, landscaping, roads, common ground, clubhouse and pool. It runs $127 a month.

-Does the owner pay HOA fees (if any), or do we pay that on top of the rent?

If you rent, that is up for you and the owner to figure out. When we rented a townhome before, it was included in our rental agreement that the owner covers the HOA. I am sure it is a pass through cost though, that the renter is paying the HOA, just not sending in the bills.

-How much do your utility + water bills differ if you are a corner unit v. a unit in the middle?

Don't know, always have been an inside unit.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:06 AM
 
309 posts, read 525,995 times
Reputation: 98
Size, age and how well built/insulated can make a HUGE difference in your utilities. We went from an interior TH to a SFH three times the size and our highest electric bill in the summer only increased by $50. That tells a lot about the efficiency and insulation in a very so, so built TH. If you are looking at a large TH that has two compressors, this also can make a big difference in your bills.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:10 AM
 
3,985 posts, read 6,589,988 times
Reputation: 2449
[quote=preppyglam;13425647]...I've been researching townhouses to rent in NoVa. We are looking to rent in the $2300-$2800/month range...[quote]


Seems like you could rent a decent SFH for that kind of money...and not be listening to neighbors banging around on the other side of the wall....or the parking hassles involved with townhouses.
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Old 03-24-2010, 02:45 PM
 
556 posts, read 544,951 times
Reputation: 425
Quote:
Originally Posted by preppyglam View Post
I've been researching townhouses to rent in NoVa. We are looking to rent in the $2300-$2800/month range and I would like some input on how much it costs to maintain a townhouse.
I'll answer these for my area as well. I live in a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath condo townhome in Lake Ridge, 1,350 square feet, which is a part of Woodbridge, Va. Two adults, no kids, but a baby on the way.


Here are my questions for this size townhouse (which seems to be a typical size):

-What are typical gas bills in summer/winter? (assuming gas is higher in winter)

No gas bill, everything is electric.

-What are typical electric bills in summer/winter? (assuming electric is higher in summer- A/C)

We've ranged between about $130 - $280 per month. Definitely trends more expensive in the winter. This could be partially due to the age/inefficiency of our heating/cooling systems, it's an older place and I'm not sure when/if anything was ever updated.

-What does a typical water bill look like?

Water fee is covered in the condo fees.

-What are typical landscaping fees for small yards? Are they normally included in the rent, or does it just depend on who you rent from?

Common ground maintenance is part of the Condo fees. Our yard is small, I mow it with a weedwhacker, though the dogs have killed most of the grass anyway.

-If you live in a townhouse community or city block, does the snow get "taken care of" for you as part of your rent/HOA services or does the city provide snow services if you live on a city block? Do you hire this out separate? If so, what is the cost of this service in the snow season (driveway, sidewalk, etc.).

In our area, the association has a snow removal contract, so it doesn't cost anything beyond the condo fees. I've been less than impressed with the job they do sometimes.

-Does the owner pay HOA fees (if any), or do we pay that on top of the rent?

This I can't really speak to since I own, but I can tell you what they are. $340/month condo fees, and the HOA fee in the Lake Ridge area is about $90/quarterly.

-How much do your utility + water bills differ if you are a corner unit v. a unit in the middle?

Don't know. I'm an end unit, for what it's worth.

-And....if there is anything else I should know, please share!

Thank you.
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:29 PM
 
97 posts, read 180,955 times
Reputation: 48
Our townhouse is 1500 square feet.

-What are typical gas bills in summer/winter? (assuming gas is higher in winter)
We have electric heat. No gas bill.

-What are typical electric bills in summer/winter? (assuming electric is higher in summer- A/C)
Before baby, we used a timed thermostat and lowered the heat at night. Bills were about $100 a month, but would get as high as $250 in the winter. After baby, we keep the heat on at night. Bills are about $150 a month, but get as high as $350 in the winter.

-What does a typical water bill look like?
About $80 a quarter.

-What are typical landscaping fees for small yards? Are they normally included in the rent, or does it just depend on who you rent from?
Our homeowners association fees are $69 a month. We own, so I have no clue if they are included in the rent. Our homeowners association pays for trash removal, sewage, snow removal, common area maintenance, a pool for the neighborhood, tennis courts, and tot lots.

-If you live in a townhouse community or city block, does the snow get "taken care of" for you as part of your rent/HOA services or does the city provide snow services if you live on a city block? Do you hire this out separate? If so, what is the cost of this service in the snow season (driveway, sidewalk, etc.).
Our homeowners association dues pay for street snow removal. We are responsible for shoveling the sidewalk in front of our house as well as our parking spaces.

-Does the owner pay HOA fees (if any), or do we pay that on top of the rent?
?

-How much do your utility + water bills differ if you are a corner unit v. a unit in the middle?
I have a middle unit.

-And....if there is anything else I should know, please share!
The amount you are planning to pay in rent seems very excessive to me, especially in Woodbridge.
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:46 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
300 posts, read 764,684 times
Reputation: 175
[quote=car54;13430843][quote=preppyglam;13425647]...I've been researching townhouses to rent in NoVa. We are looking to rent in the $2300-$2800/month range...
Quote:


Seems like you could rent a decent SFH for that kind of money...and not be listening to neighbors banging around on the other side of the wall....or the parking hassles involved with townhouses.
I've been looking online...and it seems we can only get a townhouse for that rent range in the areas I mentioned (close to where my husband will work). Where else should I look? I am in Southern CA, starting all this research strictly online....the only contact I have with anyone in NoVa are people on this board! haha!. I really don't know the area, other than what I see on a map and what I can search within this forum.

I have seen some SFH in Woodbridge for that rent range....and I just opened our search to that city, seeing as we can obviously get more for our money there. Then I read unfavorable things about that area once I searched that city in this forum....so I'm really not sure if those SFH are in bad areas or not. I read about and have seen a townhouse in the "Belmont Bay" subdivision and it looked really nice (actually- VERY nice!), especially compared to other townhouses in Alexandria for the same price.

From what I've read so far, I'm really interested in the Kingstowne area. Nothing comes up in rental searches, other than townhomes + huge high rise apartment complexes (which I don't want), for Alexandria/Kingstowne. Where else should I look?

Thank you to everyone who replied! Much appreciated!
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:57 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
300 posts, read 764,684 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuntmonkey View Post
The amount you are planning to pay in rent seems very excessive to me, especially in Woodbridge.
Well.....I just opened the search to Woodbridge after seeing the reasonable prices (and the relative proximity to my husbands job). Obviously, if I can get a nice place in a safe area in Woodbridge....I will gladly pay less in rent.

BUT! It seems that only townhouses are coming up when I do searches for our rent range. There are a few SFH in Woodbridge that show up (really cute brick houses! We don't have those here! Most of what we have are stucco tract houses, "ranch" houses and lots of mock-Mediterranean crap!)....but I don't know the area and so far, from what I've searched in this forum, a lot of Woodbridge has a bad reputation?

I am really starting from square one. Please point me in the direction of other resources to research rentals if you have any suggestions! Thanks!
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Woodbridge, VA
63 posts, read 126,450 times
Reputation: 33
Preppyglam,

Take a look at HomesDatabase - Home for Sale and Rent in DC, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania and search on zip codes you may be interested in. I do live in the Lake Ridge area of Woodbridge (zip is 22192), so that will give you some idea. People have their opinions of Lake Ridge/Woodbridge, but I have lived here for 5 years and no plans to move. The website is for buying but you can also search for what is for rent in certain areas (townhomes, SFH, etc). Just a quick search yields http://www.homesdatabase.com/home-listings-ELM+FARM+ESTATES-WOODBRIDGE-VA-MRIS-PW5476754 (broken link) which is in a decent area and easily fits in your price rang.

I can't speak to other areas other than where I live, so maybe others will supply zip codes or whatnot for you to search in.
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