As a Home Inspector I look at houses all the time. I often find issues that people living in the house had no idea were there. It is not uncommon for homeowners to hire an inspector to come in every year or two and have the home looked over as a preventative measure.
Oil here is very expensive and people are concerned about the environmental concerns of a leaking tank. I would think as long as your up dating your heating system to something more efficient is a plus for the majority of buyers. I would recommend that you look for a energy efficiency program in your area. Many of these will offer rebates. Some of the better programs require an Energy Assessment. This will assist you in knowing how much it will save you every month and offer a verifiable improvement for when you sell. It will also help direct you to other improvements that might save you money in heating costs no matter what the fuel.
The 203K stream line is a much easier loan and as long as there isn't structural damage or a addition needed they work out pretty well. The other thing you can do is add a Energy Efficient Mortgage to that also. It is 5% of the purchase price up to your areas cap for Energy Improvements. If you have an FHA loan you qualify for the EEM. Call you local HUD office and they can help you locate lenders in your area that know who does these types of loans.
Like cars, homes have become more efficient. The downside is new home puts and impact on the environment, they lack mature landscaping, and are often times farther out of town requiring more driving. Older homes can have charm that is not easy to duplicate. Many states have a rebate program like yours. We have one here and I have seen many homes greatly improved. Combine that rebate program with an Energy Efficient Mortgage during a purchase or refi and it's the best of both worlds.
PB piping has been know to be problematic. There are several items known to home inspectors that have had problems in the past for some and not for others. Knock on some doors and ask the neighbors.The theory was that possibly the chlorine in the water caused the plastic fitting used till the mid 80's to become brittle. The fittings in the later 80's on were copper. Some copper fitting as well as problems with the pipe itself have been seen by inspectors in various areas. Some people believe that all the problematic installations would have shown up and been repaired or replaced by now. Do what you feel comfortable with. You have to live with it and deal with any questions when you sell it. PEX is a good alternative for PB piping.
I would look for any state rebate or tax credits. I also suggest you have an Energy Audit done on the house. While the geothermal system is efficient you don't want to have a house what is wasting energy. You will just end up working the system to death. I would make the house efficient before considering updating anything else. More efficient homes usually do sell for more. Third-party verification like from an Energy Auditor has been shown to boost buyer confidence when purchasing an upgraded home.
I prefer payment at the time of the inspection. I do accept pay pal and credit cards. I usually don't like billing to escrow but some inspectors will and do often charge more for that option. It's easy to ask before. Don't shop on price alone because you often get what you pay for in an Inspection.
Blankets are a good idea. I don't know about 9% but $10-20 a year on natural gas and more savings on propane are obtainable.
I always recommend a listing inspection. Even a trashed house will sell with a listing inspection because it allows the buyer the opportunity to know exactly what they are buying. It also allows the seller to set a realistic price for the condition of their home. Get an inspection and if you decide to do any repairs provide the receipt along with the inspection report. Another good option is to have inspector come back and re-inspect after repairs. I would find an inspector at inspectorseek.com
About 88% of buyers are concerned about energy costs. Especially with homes built before 2000 we know they consume more energy than a newer home. But that doesn't have to be the case. As an Energy Auditor is think one of the best things a buyer can do when purchasing an older home is take advantage of the FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage. This is very easy to add onto to your FHA loan. If you qualify for the FHA loan the EEM can be added onto your existing loan and your energy retrofits can be financed at the time of purchase. It is a perfect opportunity to get your new purchase more efficient, comfortable, healthier, and more durable. [content removed by Zillow due to spam. Please refer to our Good Neighbor Policy for more details.}