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First-Time Buyer’s Guide to Utility Bills

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

Taking the final steps to becoming a homeowner? About to put money into your own property rather than someone else’s?

You probably don’t need us to tell you that the road for a first-time buyer can be a rocky one! With so much to think about, it can be easy to forget things.

So, let’s ensure nothing is overlooked. Here’s the first-time buyer’s guide to utility bills.

What utilities do you need for a house?

It’s likely you’re already familiar with paying for bills. However, everything is different when you own the property yourself.

Time to clear things up! Here’s a list of utility bills for a house:

• Electricity
• Water
• Gas

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the extra costs you’ll be paying as a homeowner. From maintenance fees to mortgage payments, there’s a lot for first-time buyers to consider! Try not to miss any important steps from your first-time buyer checklist.

The average cost of running a house

The average household bills per month in the UK currently sits at £49 for electricity, £48 for gas and £33 for water. Can you actually afford to buy and run a home?

However, this does not necessarily mean this is what you’ll be paying. Prices depend on a variety of factors, including:

• The number of occupants
• The type of property
• The size of your new home
• The property’s energy rating, shown by an EPC. The more efficient your home, the less you should pay each month

Also, costs will vary year to year depending on inflation - meaning the average price of running a house per month is always changing.

With all the first-time home buyer costs involved with moving to a new house, gas, electricity and water can be easily overlooked. However, it’s important to get your head around these household bills to avoid overspending.

Understanding gas and electric in a new home

Many first-time buyers are in the dark about what happens when they move into their new home. So, let’s straighten things out.

When it comes to gas and electric, you’ll automatically be transferred to old homeowner’s energy provider (or providers), often on their standard tariff.

It’s important to bear in mind that ‘standard tariff’ can often be an expensive option. So, do as much research as possible to ensure you’re paying a fair price!

Setting up gas and electricity in a new home

Setting up gas and electricity for the first-time can be tricky. Once you’ve moved in, take things through step-by-step:

Locate your energy meters

Gas and electricity meters can be found in a variety of places, from in the kitchen to outside the home. Ideally, ask the seller or estate agent (or developer if the property is a new build) where these are before you move in.

Check that you have a trip switch

Should the power cut out, where’s your trip switch? Usually, this is located near or in the fuse box.

Get your meter point reference number

Your meter point administration number is unique to your home, used for identification. It can also be found on your energy bill.

Contact the current energy supplier

Ideally, on the day you move in, you should take meter readings, as you’ll want to make sure you get an accurate first bill. Remember - you’re responsible for this from the day you take ownership.

First-time buyer gas and electric: how to save money

Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to save money on their utility bills?

Here are some ways to help you do that:

• Choose energy-efficient appliances
• Change your boiler
• Replace light bulbs

Other ways to save include:

Comparing energy tariffs

When it comes to choosing utility providers - always compare.

This makes it much easier to find the best energy tariff for you. From fixed to variable, there are a variety to choose from. You need to work out which is most suitable for you and your situation.

Being mindful of what you use

It sounds simple enough, but is so easily forgotten. Taking care not to leave lights on all day, for example, can make a significant impact in helping you save money each month.

Keeping your home well-insulated

Your walls and loft can cause your property to haemorrhage money - so keep them insulated!

Take care to stop heat escaping through other areas also, such as chimneys and doors.

Switching utility providers

Switching utility providers can be another great way to save. You do not have to stay with the same companies as the previous homeowners.

You’ll be able to explore, compare energy prices and choose the best deal for you. Those who find themselves on a prepayment meter are often more tempted to switch, as you can end up paying for energy you don’t use.

When switching supplier, never go with the first option presented to you. Rather, ‘shop around’ for the best energy deal. Is a dual fuel tariff right for you? Online? Do your research!

With so many types of meters and tariffs out there, you’re bound to find something that suits you and your new property.


Consider installing a water meter

Water bills differ from other utilities, as you cannot choose your water supplier - this depends on where you live.

However, there are ways to save money on water bills. A meter will allow you to pay for the water you use only.

Also, being careful not to waste water, for example leaving taps running for long periods of time, will also help lower costs.

Struggling to negotiate the property minefield? You’re not alone. Buying a home can be tough, particularly if you’ve never done it before! Luckily, we can help. From mortgages to deposits, we have plenty of advice for first-time buyers, all in one place. We’re here to get you onto the property ladder!


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