I e-mailed back and forth a few times with the listing agent on this property 10 months ago when we first looked at it and so we already knew some history. The Mid-Century Modern style home adjacent to it was owned by the same guy, a doctor, who had hoped one of his sons would build on the vacant lot. He had been moved into a nursing care facility and the MCM home sold shortly after I first inquired about the lot.
There was a soil study and boundary survey (shown above) done by the owner as a bonus to the buyer – the soil survey is critical for engineering the septic field, and the boundary is good to have on record for any property you look at.
The offer we submitted was contingent on whether a septic system (more costly than a sewer hookup) would break the budget. We would have to look into it. We offered $2k less than the asking price ($8k more than the tax assessed value). The counter came back at $1k less than the asking price, with words from the agent to the effect that the owner just paid to clear the lot and wouldn’t go lower.
By this point we knew that the owner’s health was failing and his son was presiding on his behalf. With failing health, the money would likely end up going to the son(s). I really wanted to ask the son how much he had paid for the lot, and how paying to clear it could possibly break his budget. Oh wait. He didn’t pay anything. And 40 years ago his father probably paid a pittance. But the counter offer worked well enough for us. We were done negotiating.