Earlier this year, we featured a post from Laura Stukel on the total cost of home ownership. Historically in the mortgage industry, this has included—or I should say been limited to—“PITI”, Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. Laura wisely argues that misses several costs, including the non-trivial cost of utilities. While the average homeowner may pay $2,000 in utility costs, some people pay 2-3 times that amount, and those electric, gas, or oil bills can take a huge chunk out of the family budget.
As Consumer Reports highlighted yesterday, a new bill introduced in the Senate would change the underwriting and appraisal guidelines used by the mortgage industry to add to PITI the cost of heating and cooling a home. (Maybe we’ll call it PITIU?). This would help prospective buyers avoid budget-busting homes where they’ve get into trouble and have to choose between mortgage, utilities, or food on the table. It would also reward more efficient homes.
Of course, readers here know that you don’t have to wait for an act of Congress to more your home more comfortable and energy efficient. You can start today with a good energy audit, make the improvements that make sense for you, and start SAVE-ing right now. Go figure!