Old House Foundations?

We are looking at buying a home in an area where the houses range from being built in 1910-1950. Many of the 1940’s houses we’ve been in have a very strong mildew/mold smell in the basement, and the ones that have unfinished basements, you can see the concrete foundation literally crumbling off. Lots of white powder everywhere, too…. It’s my understanding that water is seeping in from the outside, traveling through the concrete (dissolving minerals along the way), and evaporating when it gets to the inside of the house.

My question is this: is it even worth buying one of these houses that has obvious water issues? What are my options for repair? Will the smell go away when the water drainage problems are fixed?

Advice is greatly appreciated! We don’t want to buy a home to find out we need to sink tens of thousands of dollars into it when we’re only going to live there for 5 years or so.

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