I can't tell you how many times I have shown up to do a home inspection where there is an underground fuel oil tank that hasn't been checked by the present homeowner before listing the house. Doesn't the seller want to know if the fuel oil tank is in good condition? Doesn't the seller want the real estate transaction to move along flawlessly, if possible? Doesn't the homeowner want to avoid thousands of dollars in clean-up costs and liability?Now I'm not anti-fuel oil for heating your home, in fact a properly maintained system is generally more efficient that a natural gas system. The problem is in what the homeowner doesn't see because the tank is out of sight! Therefore out of mind! If I were a listing agent, which I am not, I would vehemently insist that my client have their underground fuel oil tank evaluated before listing the house for sale. I would associate myself with a tank testing company, not for kick backs, but for a good rate for my clients. Get the tank tested and find out where you stand, is it a PASS or a FAILURE? Talk about the problems that can be avoided once you are in contract for the sale.Obviously if the tank fails then remediation will take place, hopefully the homeowner has insurance coverage. Clean-up can cost anywhere from $10,000, $86,000, $150,000 or more(residential clean-up costs I have seen). Sadly this will delay selling the home but who wants the headache of going in and out of contracts because of fuel oil tank issues?If the tank passes inspection then you have a nice selling tool. Homeowners can also abandon the good underground tank and install an above-ground fuel oil tank in their basement or outside on a pad. There are Federal and State grants that can assist homeowners in the process, up to $3,000.Converting from oil to gas is also an option if the underground fuel oil tank passes and the homeowner wants to get away from using fuel oil for heating. One thing to remember aside from having to convert the boiler or furnace, is to have the flue re-lined to accommodate natural gas combustion needs. A step often missed but very important!In most circumstances a modern gas-burning appliance may not exhaust into an unlined chimney when converted from oil fuel. It is not allowed under most jurisdictions and most manufacturer's installation instructions. When the fuel oil was burned, a sulfur soot was formed on the inner wall of the chimney. This sulfur-laden soot combines with moisture in the flue, a natural byproduct of today's highly efficient gas boiler/furnaces. This forms an acid mixture which attacks the chimney, eroding the flue tiles and mortar joints. This leaves dangerous voids and allows the sulfuric acid mixture to attack the brickwork, the last line of defense against deadly sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide poisoning. Additional danger exists as the chimney debris, or silt, falls to the bottom of the chimney. This can eventually plug the chimney, reducing efficiency and allowing dangerous gases to enter the home.These rather small steps taken during the process of selling a house can make a world of difference and keep things moving along to the closing.