Wow, I'm impressed and persuaded by the articulate and thoughtful
responses I got from posters and want to thank you all again.
Something I learned this morning is the amount of "private eye" work
you can accomplish by doing a utilities-history check of the property
and going to the zoning or code enforcement office and asking if permit
applications by the home seller are public domain.
This morning, after making the post, I learned that the property (in an
area severely flooded thirty-five years ago) per the sanitation
authority, was considered a "double block!" It's a BUNGALOW, so I
started asking questions about whether what I thought was a bungalow
began its life as a double block but ended up as a one-story three-room
home because it was the only salvageable part of a formerly huge house.
While the municipal code inspector read me the reports of permit
applications over the years, he was of the opinion that all was not
right with any home sale that did not provide legal documentation of
having been subdivided, no matter whether the bungalow was the remnant
of an ancient flooded double-block or not.
So I identified (without the cost of an attorney, whose services will
be needless if I don't end up buying the home) two potentially
big-ticket issues, the lack of a subdivided lot, and the fact that this
home, no matter how often it has been painted, more than likely is
infected by thirty-five year-old mold because of having been in the
flood plain AND never having its interior cladding torn down.
I am very glad I made the post and grateful for the helpful people who
responded, particularly Doug Kanter and Doc Holliday.