Memberships and Utilities
When shopping around for a rental, most factor in the cost of monthly utilities as a major part of choosing where to live. Shopping for a home should be no different -- except you should take an even closer look at what it will cost to live in comfort. Researching the average utility bills per month for the prior owners or renters can be helpful, especially if you compare their average consumption to yours. If the previous homeowners kept the heat really low to save on gas bills, for example, you know you can estimate a bit higher if you prefer toastier temps during cold months.
Utilities aren't the only fees to consider. If your new home has homeowners association (HOA) and condo dues for lawn care, administration and other upkeep, those can add up. Your closing packet should include exactly how much these cost annually, but if you're able to talk to potential neighbors to determine how often the HOA dues have increased, or what other charges you could expect to incur, that could be helpful in budgeting.