Foundation Cracks?

I looked at a 40 year old house today. The block basement has numerous cracks in the joints. They aren't big, but are certainly there.
The owner says the previous owner told him 2 years ago that they were there when he bought it 6 years before that. So if no one is lying, they are at least 8 years old. There is no hint of problems upstairs, but the house was heavily remodeled by the current owner, so it is impossible to say much. No sign that anyone tried to patch them.
How concerned should I be about this? Any way to find out what they mean? The house is build on shale; it ought to be stable.
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I wouldn't buy it, or at least not without a licensed engineer's opinion first.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

It's not unusual to see some cracks in the joints in cement block foundations. The more important issue is how big they are and whether they are stable. If they are very small, and have been that way for a long time, like your 8 years, and there is no sign of movement, then I wouldn't be worried. But I would still have the place inspected by a good home inspector prior to purchase of course.
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Toller wrote:

Of course you are using your own inspector aren't you? City inspectors are waste of time.
It may be a concern it may not be. Inspector would be better experienced to ask. No, its not automatically a sign of serious problem.
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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