Posted by Gavin Wilkinson on September 14, 2004 at 12:59:53:
Think of the motivation of the building department. Do they have anything to gain by telling you anything? No. Do they want you blameing them when you discover other things wrong with the building that they didn’t know or care about. No. Do they want you spoiling their doughnut break? No.
Who is the motivated party? The seller. They are the ones that would get some cash. Contact the seller and ask them for their paperwork from the building department. They should know what is wrong. The seller may not be motivated to sell. Then you are wasting your time.
I spent 5 years trying to contact the owner of a lot next to mine that I wanted. I would have paid up to $50,000 for it because it really complimented my lot well, and I wanted it for my backyard. Well, I found out her address, and I called her and left messages. No answer. Several years later I wrote again, and again called and left messages. No response. Eventually the lot came up at tax auction and I got it for $10,000, far less than I would have paid, if the lady only replied to my phone message!!! I found out later that she had gotten the lot in a divorce and she hated to even think about it and just let it go to taxes.
You never know what peoples motivations are. Contact the seller and if they are motivated you will make a deal. If they are not, keep looking for another motivated buyer.