You have heard the term "Buyer Beware". This goes for buying real estate as well regardless of how old the home is. For residential houses, I always recommend making your offer to purchase subject to having a Professional Home Inspector visit your prospective home and give you an unbiased, detailed report on the homes condition.
They will check for moisture problems, carbon monoxide leaks, roof condition and more. The cost is approximately $300.00 plus taxes and this nominal fee may save you thousands in surprise costs if you find any later.
You must keep in mind a home inspector is not an expert in all aspects of the home. They are there to point out the problem and make recommendations. If an inspector finds an issue with the home, it is up to you to decide on bringing in an expert in the field of the problem (ie: cracked foundation? bring in a foundation expert) to determine if the problem is serious or minor. If it is serious, you can negotiate the price to reflect the issue or simply not pursue the home purchase.
If you are considering buying a Townhome or Apartment Condominium, I highly recommend having your offer subject to reviewing the condo documents and possibly having a professional expert review these to ensure the association running the condo corporation are doing an adequate job and you are not going to be surprised by special assessment levies when you move in.
You also need to review this information for verification of pet allowances, rental agreements, reviewing the annual budget.
Your REALTOR® can go through this information with you and will point out any concerns or issues you should be aware of. This is a service I provide - as your buyer agent, I will ensure you are protected with your contract in case we find anything you do not like within the board, rules, regulations or management.