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Old 02-28-2011, 12:19 PM
 
105 posts, read 319,467 times
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Hi everyone, I'm trying to come up with a budget for utilities and things in the Boston area. I'm coming out in 2 weeks to look at houses, and although I have the preapproval from the lender, I'm not sure we should borrow as much as they'll let us. Most of my budget is pretty straight forward, but I don't know what the utilities will run out there. I know that everything will vary by the type of the house, age, size, etc. but can anyone give me an idea of avg. monthly utility bills for about a 2400 sq ft house?

Initially I'm guessing around $200/mo for electricity, $300/mo for gas and $50/mo for water sewer. Am I even in the ballpark? I'm not worried about phone or cable as those I can easily check.

Also, does $150/mo seem about right for car insurance if we are living outside Boston? (We are currently looking primarily in Danvers, North Reading, and Southborough) That would be for 2 cars, 1 is a 2003 the other 2007. I currently pay about $110/mo in Chicago burbs for both cars.

Thanks!
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:43 PM
 
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Your estimates are higher than we what we pay. We have a 45 year old 2200 sq ft house with 2 adults and 3 children in a suburb similar to the ones you are looking at. Last year we averaged $190/month for electricity and $100/month for gas. We have a 2007 Honda van and a 2008 Honda sedan and pay $96/month car insurance. I do not have water/sewer figures available right now.

Good luck!
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:08 PM
 
105 posts, read 319,467 times
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Originally Posted by snowday View Post
Your estimates are higher than we what we pay. We have a 45 year old 2200 sq ft house with 2 adults and 3 children in a suburb similar to the ones you are looking at. Last year we averaged $190/month for electricity and $100/month for gas. We have a 2007 Honda van and a 2008 Honda sedan and pay $96/month car insurance. I do not have water/sewer figures available right now.

Good luck!

Thanks! That helps! I'm glad to hear some are lower than I expect, as it makes me more comfortable with the budget we have for a home. Can I ask if you have gas or electric heat? I thought I read somewhere that heating costs were pretty similar whether you had gas, oil, or electric.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Newton, MA
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We're in 1800 square feet, and paid 1000/year for elec and 1400 for gas (forced hot air). Elec includes central air. Water/sewer is about 50 a month. And our car insurance is somewhere around 1000/year. Insurance rates vary a lot depending on what zip code you end up in (and of course, your driving record)!
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Old 02-28-2011, 09:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Can I ask if you have gas or electric heat?
Our furnace is gas powered. I should mention that the utility costs I quoted were based on our 40+ year old system that died in January. I expect lower heating bills with the new high efficiency furnace we had installed. We also have central air but the kids and I spend most of the summer away and my husband hates running it for just him so the cost is not as high as it would be if we spent more time at home in the summer.
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Old 02-28-2011, 09:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowday View Post
Our furnace is gas powered. I should mention that the utility costs I quoted were based on our 40+ year old system that died in January. I expect lower heating bills with the new high efficiency furnace we had installed. We also have central air but the kids and I spend most of the summer away and my husband hates running it for just him so the cost is not as high as it would be if we spent more time at home in the summer.
Thanks for the update. No worry about the air as I lived in Switzerland for the last 10 years where air was pretty much unavailable! (I actually spent most of the last summer in U.S. freezing because I'm no longer used to the air!)
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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We have oil, so I can't help you with the fuel question.

Car insurance depends on, of course, the make/model/year of your vehicle, the town where you live, and your driving record. We just got our excise tax bills in the mail -- not very different from last year.

Water/sewer also depends on where you live. Towns/cities which are part of the MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resources Authority), from what I understand, tend to have higher rates. Ours averages to about $100/month, and we're frugal. And our town is part of the MWRA.

Our electricity is roughly $80-100/month, slightly higher when it's summer and we've got the A/C on.
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Old 03-03-2011, 03:08 PM
 
105 posts, read 319,467 times
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Originally Posted by xo_kizzy_xo View Post
We have oil, so I can't help you with the fuel question.

Car insurance depends on, of course, the make/model/year of your vehicle, the town where you live, and your driving record. We just got our excise tax bills in the mail -- not very different from last year.

Water/sewer also depends on where you live. Towns/cities which are part of the MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resources Authority), from what I understand, tend to have higher rates. Ours averages to about $100/month, and we're frugal. And our town is part of the MWRA.

Our electricity is roughly $80-100/month, slightly higher when it's summer and we've got the A/C on.

Since we haven't chosen a home yet, I suppose there is still the possibilty of having to pay for oil rather than gas. How does that compare? I think I read somewhere in another post that there is a cooperative you can buy oil from that's supposed to have slightly better prices? Is 3-5K a year about right for oil purchase? Haven't used it before, but my understanding is you buy your heating oil as you run out. Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:05 PM
 
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I would stay away from houses with electric heat. It's VERY expensive around here. Oil is the most common fuel in these parts, but it's about twice or more the cost of gas.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:58 PM
 
763 posts, read 999,753 times
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Originally Posted by kdjack View Post
Since we haven't chosen a home yet, I suppose there is still the possibilty of having to pay for oil rather than gas. How does that compare? I think I read somewhere in another post that there is a cooperative you can buy oil from that's supposed to have slightly better prices? Is 3-5K a year about right for oil purchase? Haven't used it before, but my understanding is you buy your heating oil as you run out. Thanks.
You're thinking of Heating Oil | Mass Energy -- it's the main fuel oil co-op in eastern MA. We've belonged to it for the past couple of years, and yeah, you do save as a member...I don't remember the exact percent off we got for this year, but it was well under what we would've paid straight.

There are three ways to pay for oil -- either budget billing, which is what we do (12 months -- our dealer doesn't come out with the monthly payment for the following year until May or June); pay-as-you-need (as in you pay only when the dealer fills your tank and bills you accordingly); or, as my in-laws, do, pay with cash on delivery, of which they get something like a 10% discount.

Oil prices are at the mercy of whatever's happening in the economy, unfortunately. At the height of the crisis a few years ago we were paying $350/month on budget billing. This was what made us join the co-op From what I understand gas is more expensive here than in other areas -- it has to be piped in -- but its price tends to be a little more stable.
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