It’s easy to figure out how much it costs to buy a house – offers plenty of lists and calculators to help you estimate purchase costs.

But how much will it cost you to own a particular house? New research from the University of Oregon found that neighborhoods whose houses have big lots, and plenty of swimming pools, use up to ten times more water than neighborhoods with closer-together houses with less landscaping.water aug11

Water can soak up a big chunk of your monthly utility bills, especially in parched metros like Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Austin. Take your personal finance and environmental philosophies into consideration when looking at neighborhoods that are built on the expectation of a deep and ever-refreshing source of fresh water. If drought hits, or if water prices rise, these neighborhoods will have to figure out how to renovate to a look that doesn’t count on an endless supply of water. That might mean special assessments, replacing landscaping and trees, and even installing water-flow meters and controls – all expensive infrastructure projects.