From my own experience, get an inspector independently of your realtor.
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What I know and what I can prove are two different things.
Originally Posted by killian
would this type of building tend to be well insulated and fuel efficient?
Get past fuel bills for this house, then look up Heating Degree Days for it's location,
Heating & Cooling Degree Days - Free Worldwide Data Calculation
then get the square footage for the place.
"In US units, one standard cubic foot of natural gas produces around 1028 British Thermal Units (BTU). "
1.4 BTU/[sq.ft.-HDD] is a tight house, 6 is average, 11 is the loosest house for which I got a sample.
For a 2000 ft² house and 750 HDD in December, 80 Therms for that month and an 83% efficient furnace, it comes in at [80*100,000*0.83]/[2000*750] = 4.4 BTU/[sq.ft.-HDD].
Knowing the Outside Design Temperature for the area, the gas usage and the furnace input BTU/hr, you can also determine if the furnace is oversized, which makes for inefficient operation.