We try our best here at SFist Answers, but we have two very real limitations:

1) If y'all don't ask us questions, we have nothing to answer; similarly, the more questions we get, the more we're able to cherry-pick the interesting ones. (That's our not-so-subtle appeal for some emails to [email protected]).

2) Some questions are pretty complicated and have some variable factors--it's often impossible to lead you to the end of the journey in a one shot. However, to badly paraphrase a cliche, the journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. In other words, leading you to the next step, is sometimes as much as we can do.

In that very spirit, let's get into the first question for this week. EB writes:

As long as I have lived in my present house, there's been a vacant lot a few doors down. It looks like someone intended to build something there and lost interest (or money) as the posted permit is several years out of date.

The other day it occurred to me that maybe I could buy it and build on it, myself! I guess my first step would be to make an offer on the lot from the present owner . . . but I'm not sure how to go about doing that.

Great question -- and one of those we can't answer 100% at this time. Your first step? Contact a title company (Chicago, Stewart, etc.). Ask for customer service. Just give them the address and they should be able to give you the owners' names and mailing address at the very least. Write us back with what you find out, and we'll help you with the next step, too.

Another reader, TP, asks:

I am wondering if have a listing of places in San Francisco that give you free stuff on your birthday (food, movies, drinks, etc...) Thanks.

Well, don't thank us yet, TP. Because, no -- we don't have that, you cheap bastich. We say that lovingly, we are a cheap bastich ourselves. Nor, unfortunately, were we able to track one down. However, we'd offer these two bits of advice: