First Time Home Buyers: What to Look for When Purchasing a Home

Buying your first home is exciting and brings a sense of pride and can at times be nerve-wracking, since it’s the most complex transaction you’ll probably ever make. You may have used all your savings for a down payment, your loan is huge, and you’re most likely exhausted after spending weeks or months looking for your perfect home.

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The hard work may be done, but you still want to ensure the house you’re getting is sound and in good condition, and knowing what to look for may be overwhelming.

We’ve put together some useful tips to help with your new home inspection:

  1. Personal Walk-Through

    Arrange to do a walk through of your new property on your own, or with a friend/family member who is also a homeowner and has some experience with a home inspection. Write down your observations and questions for the inspector and the seller – this way you won’t show up to inspection day unprepared.

  2. Home Inspector

    Finding a good home inspector is crucial, and the best ways to go about it is to talk with friends and family to get recommendations, check online reviews. You’re looking for a licensed inspector who possess a broad knowledge of a home’s systems and structures, has proven, thorough results. He or she should be objective, independent, and not affiliated with the seller in any way, and overall is less concerned about the paycheck and more about your wellbeing.

  3. Inspection Checklist

    To avoid forgetting essential steps that would either show your house is in good shape or potentially ruin your deal, have these questions ready during your walk through and inspection as recommended by Fortune Builders, a real estate investing education and business development company:

Exterior, Foundation, and Structure

  • Is the visible foundation in good condition?
  • Are there cracks or shifts in foundation at the base of the walls and ceiling?
  • Is there proper drainage carrying water away from the house?
  • Are there any obvious soggy areas in the landscaping?
  • Is there any evidence of standing water?
  • Are there leaks in the septic tank?
  • Is there any evidence of termite damage or rotted wood?
  • Are windows and doorframes square or bowed?
  • Are there large cracks in the stucco?
  • Is the exterior paint stained, peeling, or faded?
  • Does the home look as though it will need repairs in the near future?
  • Is the roof decaying?
  • Does the roof have patching?
  • Is the chimney in good condition?
  • Do the gutters properly drain?
  • Is the siding cracked, loose, rotted, or decayed?


  • Are there any strange odors coming from inside the home?
  • Are any appliances included in the purchase of the home? (I.e. refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, etc.)
  • Is there evidence of proper insulation?
  • Have the electrical outlets been tested?
  • Are there stains or other damages on the floors?
  • Will any flooring need to be replaced?
  • Are there an adequate number of electrical outlets in every room?
  • Do windows and doors operate properly?
  • Are the joints around window frames caulked?
  • Is there leakage in or around sinks?
  • Is the water pressure adequate?
  • Is there sufficient ventilation throughout the home?
  • Do toilets operate properly?
  • Can you easily spot the required smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?
  • Are there stains on the underside of the roofing in the attic?
  • Does the attic have sufficient insulation and ventilation?
  • Are there any open electrical splices in the attic?

Plumbing and Heating/Cooling System

  • Do pipes leak?
  • Are pipes rusted or damaged?
  • Is the water pump in working condition?
  • Does the hot water temperature exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit?
  • Do pipes restrict water flow?
  • Does every room in the home receive sufficient air flow?
  • Does the cooling unit appear rusty?
  • Have the air filters in the cooling unit been replaced recently?
  • Is there a history of asbestos on heating pipes, water pipes, are air ducts?
  • Can you smell gas?


  • Are there any exposed splices?
  • Are cables secured and protected?
  • Can you locate the service panel?
  • Are fuses or breakers overheating?

If you need any help with heating, cooling, or plumbing, turn to UGI Heating, Cooling & Plumbing – our trusted team of HVAC experts bring decades of experience to make sure your home is safe, comfortable, and more energy efficient.

We also understand that when you move into a new home, even with the inspection that passed, you never know when breakdowns or problems may arise, so we offer a UGI Advantage Service Agreement to help you make sure you are covered. It guarantees priority service for breakdowns, any time of the day or night, even on holidays.

Here are the most common HVAC repairs and the estimated costs associated with each:

During Heating Season:

  • OEM Ignitor (most common replaced item during heating system): $280
  • Blower Motor: $500-$1300
  • Inducer Motor: $500-$1200
  • Thermostats: $250-$350
  • Most Common Repairs During Cooling Season:
  • A/C Condenser Motor: $500-$1300
  • A/C Capacitor: $90

The difference between not having and having a UGI Advantage Service Agreement:

  • Technician shows up: $90 vs. $0 with a UGI Advantage Service Agreement.
  • Technician diagnoses the part to be replaced: Blower Motor $700 vs. $0 with a UGI Advantage Service Agreement.
  • Labor to fix it: $200 vs. $0 with a UGI Advantage Service Agreement.
  • Afterhours charge: $100 vs. $0 with a UGI Advantage Service Agreement.
  • Total Bill for Retail: $1090 vs. $0 with a UGI Advantage Service Agreement.

We’ll guide you to select a custom Service Agreement that fits your needs, so you can feel confident that if something goes wrong, UGI Heating, Cooling & Plumbing will fix the problem for you, without breaking the bank.

Let us help you enjoy your new home in every season – our skilled technicians are here for all of your heating system needs in Lancaster, PA, Reading, PA, Harrisburg, PA, and the Lehigh Valley, PA.

Check out our service plans and then contact us to get started.