Someone asked the other day what the average heat bill on a duplex was. I couldn’t answer.
See, utility bills like heat, electric, water and sewer are as unique to a property as they are to a single family home. The cost of each is dependent upon the number of people who live there, the square footage of the unit, the type of heat, which utilities are tenant paid and which the landlord takes care of.
If you’re buying a duplex, however, there are a couple of ways to find out what the utility bills are.
As a contingency in your purchase agreement, you can always ask the seller to share copies of utility bills with you prior to closing.
Or, in the Twin Cities, you can simply call the utility companies and ask to tell you. Many of the power companies will give you a number that represents a monthly average. The water department, on the other hand, may offer precise figures.
In either case, it’s always wise to be fully informed of the costs involved in owning any income property before the seller gives you the keys.