How to Project Monthly Home Operating Costs in Semi-Rural North County San Diego


We are often asked to describe the typical monthly utility and service costs associated with operating a home in the semi-rural regions of North County San Diego. It’s an important question, but as you might expect, the answer is nuanced. There are a wide range of costs associated with any home purchase, so while it is difficult to precisely characterize expected costs, below is a framework for beginning your analysis.


Landscape maintenance costs depend on the frequency of service and the amount of work required. Larger parcels, especially if there is extensive formal grooming required, can raise costs. Some owners do all their own maintenance; some owners arrange for landscape service only once or twice a month — or less; but those with greater needs may opt for regular weekly service. Costs could range from $40 to $600 or more per month. It’s a wide range, but this illustrates the variety of approaches that owners use to manage their property. We advise contacting landscapers for accurate cost estimates.


Keep in mind that your water bill will include a base fixed cost that sets the floor price for water, plus a usage charge based on your actual monthly consumption determined by your home’s unique water use profile. On larger parcels we see water costs that can range from $150/month and up. Elaborate landscaping and groves can add to costs. If the home is on a public sewer system, then there are additional fees. If researching in the Fallbrook and Bonsall regions for costs, call Rainbow Municipal Water District or the Fallbrook Public Utility District for more information.


If a home has a septic system, there are typically no monthly fees, but you will incur charges for periodic septic pumping. Some owners pump tanks yearly, others pump only once a decade or more. Proper system maintenance requires regular pumping. Consult with septic companies for best practices on pumping schedules. The costs to pump varies depending on the company used and the size of the tank. Expect pumping costs to start at $400 to $500 and up. You can call septic companies to verify exact costs.


Electrical costs can vary widely depending on many factors including how large the home is and how much electricity is used for lighting, appliances, charging electric vehicles, etc. If the home is all-electric, you’ll see higher wintertime electrical bills (from heat pump furnaces or resistance heat) depending on usage. If the home has air conditioning, summer season costs can also vary widely. Some owners never use AC; others run their AC systems regularly. If there is a pool, costs can go up. Pools can cost well over $100 -$200 or more per month for pump operation etc. Consult with SDG&E for typical charges and kWh rate information.

Propane/Natural Gas

If a home has a propane or gas water heater, dryer, cooktop, oven and/or a furnace, then expect monthly costs for operating these appliances. Again, a wide range of costs are possible. We’ve seen owners who use very little heat and as a result have small natural gas or propane bills (or they are all-electric), but others who use a gas or propane furnace in the winter might have bills exceeding $100 to $400 or more per month. There are a number of private propane providers, so we advise that you call Fallbrook Propane Gas Company, SDG&E, and/or other vendors to ask for rate and typical usage information.

Waste/Trash Collection

Call EDCO for exact current costs.

In closing, we advise that at the time you enter escrow during the purchase of a property, that you ask the seller for more detailed information regarding the monthly expenses associated with operating the home.

Published on Friday, February 12, 2021

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