Grumpy Realtor,
My wife and I really love a house we recently toured and want to put in an offer, so we’re trying to anticipate a budget. Is there any way to know what my utility charges are going to be? Is the current owner required to provide this information?
Countin’ Our Pennies

Dear Wise Penny Pincher,
My old grandma told me once that if you watch your pennies the dollars will take care of themselves, and I agree. It is wise to know the average utilities when buying a house. While a seller is not required to provide that information, it’s in their best interest to make a buyer happy. Why would they want to scare someone away by keeping something so mundane a secret? Ask your agent to request that information from the seller. Chances are they’ll cough it up, but if they don’t, maybe there are a few skeletons in their closet waiting to scream “BUYER BEWARE”.

Bear in mind, though, that everyone lives a different lifestyle, so their monthly usage could vary wildly from yours. If you’re concerned about pinching pennies, a good bet is to be mindful of water and energy waste, and maybe even invest in some energy-saving appliances or insulation for your new home.