Few things are simultaneously more fun and more stressful than buying a house. There's the stress of planning out your budget, researching the neighborhood, and trying to figure out if the place you have your eye on is a good buy. It can make your head spin! In the midst of it all, there's one detail you (and your agent) won't want to overlook in your potential dream home: insulation.
Before making any moves toward buying, request the gas and electric bill history of the home. This will give you a good idea of how efficiently the home's climate control features are operating. Can't get this information from the homeowner? A professional home inspector should be able to track it down for you.
Once you know what you are likely to be spending on utilities if the house stays as-is, hire an insulation technician to perform a professional home energy audit. Have them check the attic, walls and crawl space for insulation and air sealing, as well as look for energy-wasting hot spots.
Best case scenario: your future home is properly insulated. Congratulations! You will probably be spending bare minimum on utilities as long as you own it, and the place will be super cozy.
Worse case scenario: your future home is one of the 90% of American homes that are under-insulated. You'll need to make a somewhat sizable investment in insulation up front to avoid drafty winters and sweltering summers.
Buying a home is all about knowing what you're getting into. So don't skip this important step! Make sure you know the insulation situation at each of the homes you're interested in and rely on the expertise of the insulation contractors in your area. They'll back you up so you can be certain you're making a good investment.