Get an older home thoroughly checked out. The plumbing, sewage pipes and electrical must be in working order. Make sure the electrical and water is on for the inspector.
Find out what the local code requirements are for knob and tube wiring. The inspector should be able to test for lead paint, but probably not identify any interior asbestos issues.
It's best not to open a wall in an older home unless necessary Likewise, think twice about expanding living areas into basements. Basements can eat up most of the reno budget, Get the kitchen and bathrooms and living areas updated before you tackle a basement.
One other tip: finance through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Administration (VA) if you can. The government has more stringent requirements for underwriting a home than a conventional lender.
For example, The roof under FHA guidelines should have a remaining physical life of at least two years. VA inspectors will also check for lead paint.
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