There’s a lot to organize when buying a home. If you’re a first home buyer, you tend to learn the process as you go.
To help demystify the process, we’re shedding light on one vital area that requires your attention: utilities.
Here’s what you need to know.
When it comes to utilities, the four main ones to consider are:
For all of the above utilities, plus pay TV, you can connect them by registering and scheduling a connection date with the individual providers.
For electricity and gas, you will need to consult with an energy retailer. For water, it’s your local water authority. For internet and phone, it’s a telco provider.
However, you can do it all in one place.
Get your utilities and internet connected in one place with connectnow. Picture: Pexels
Connectnow is the best route if you’re feeling overwhelmed and want to make your move easier. They offer a free service* to help you get all your home moving needs sorted quickly, and can connect your electricity, gas, internet and pay TV over the phone.
Essentially, it eliminates all the extra work involved in contacting each of these service providers individually, by contacting just the one place.
There are both initial or upfront costs for utilities (such as connection or installation fees) and ongoing bills, dependent on usage.
Set-up costs and upfront fees vary among utility services and providers. For instance, when it comes to internet you may need to purchase a modem along with your plan. You may also need to pay a set-up fee to cover an installation technician and other administrative costs. This could total anywhere between $70 to over $250.
If you want WiFi when you move in, organise your internet hook-up in advance. Picture: Pexels
Similarly, electricity providers tend to charge a set-up fee that ranges considerably from around $15 to $90.
If your home already has a gas connection, set-up can cost as little as $10 to $50. However, this will rise considerably if you wish to have a gas line installed.
If you’re lucky (or if you shop around), you may grab yourself a plan with no set-up fees at all.
It’s difficult to know exactly what your average bills will be unless you know how many litres or kilowatts your household uses. However, in general the size and location of your home, the number of residents and the price of your plan will determine how much you spend.
Consumer review and comparison website Canstar Blue offers these findings:
Electricity: average annual costs range from $1012 in Victoria to $1444 in South Australia. (Research January 2021. Note: only including results from NSW, VIC, QLD and SA)
Gas: average quarterly bills range from $108 in Western Australia to $367 in Tasmania. (Research February 2021)
Water: average quarterly bills range from $234 in Western Australia to $365 in Tasmania. (Research May 2020)
Water rates change depending on location. Picture: Pexels
Meanwhile, the average Australian household pays $69 per month for nbn internet with little variation between states.
It’s also worth mentioning that you can reduce energy and water costs long-term by investing in sustainable household alternatives, such as solar panels or rainwater capture.
You may elect to have a home phone but most households – especially first home owners – don’t even have a landline on their radar. According to a 2020 report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority, 60% of Australians were ‘mobile-only’ when it came to voice calls at home. This is up from only 29% five years ago.
However, just because you don’t use a home phone doesn’t mean you won’t need a phone line. It may depend on the property you buy.
For example, if you’re buying an existing home with a home alarm system, the system may rely on a functioning phone line to operate. However, newer alarm systems are less likely to be connected to phone lines.
Meanwhile, most nbn internet doesn’t require a phone line but if you’re still operating via ADSL or you live in a remote area, a home phone line could be crucial.
Otherwise, you may just opt to have a landline installed as a back-up system, but chances are you’ll get more bang for your buck simply operating via mobile.