Don't let energy costs kill your home ownership dream
Increasing energy costs like rising electricity charges are problematic for everyone, but especially for those who are trying to become homeowners.

However, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, there are steps they can take to make sure that energy costs don’t put paid to those dreams.

“The first of these is to try and save more for a home purchase deposit – by finding rental accommodation that is energy-efficient and will thus cost you less each month.”

What you should look for, he says, is a rental unit that has its own electricity meter rather than a shared one, and preferably a prepaid meter. This will allow you to control your own expenditure on electricity.

“In addition, you should seek out rental units where the owner has invested in energy-saving improvements like proper insulation, a solar geyser or heat pump and perhaps a gas stove. These will help you save even more each month.”

Secondly, says Everitt, you should be seriously energy-conscious when you go househunting.

“Many first-time buyers gravitate to newly-built homes because they assume that such homes will automatically be more energy efficient. But this is not necessarily the case and you shouldn’t overlook resale homes that may have been renovated specifically to take account of the new energy considerations.”

Also, when viewing existing homes, you should ask to see copies of the municipal service bills for the past year so you can make comparisons which may help you decide which property to purchase.

“You don’t want to buy a ‘bargain’ only to find that it costs you a fortune in electricity each month, and in any case you want the estimated municipal charges you will have to pay as a homeowner to be as low as possible because they are taken into account by the banks now when they are calculating whether or not you qualify for a home loan,” he says.

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