For the community land trust you will need a mortgage. For information about land trust pros and cons, you can contact the Rondo Community Land Trust in St. Paul at 651-221-9884, and Community NHS, also in St. Paul, at 651-292-8710. Community NHS is also a great resource for first time home buyers and for credit issues. Best of all, most of their services are free!
It really depends on what you owe them for. Is it a tax debt or what? In any event, it will be taken in to consideration by your lender to determine if you're a good credit risk or not. That's how they do it.
If the debt is a judgment, then it might be dicier than if it's tax repayment or something like that.
It really depends on what kind of debt it is. If it is a judgment, delinquency or a defaulted obligation, you will likely need to pay it off. If it is simply a payment plan for state taxes that are owed (meaning you owed money based on your MN return, that in and of itself would not preclude you from obtaining a mortgage.
Sometimes you can get paralyzed by doing too much online browsing for information. If you need to build up the credit profile to purchase ( in other words you are 6 to 9 months away from buying) it is best to speak with a loan officer now and get started. The longer you wait will only delay when you can finally buy.
I am working with a client right now that can qualify to buy, but over the years has gotten really bad information on lending. It is just like everything else in life, and the only way to avoid it is speak directly to the people in control of financing.
If you want a referral I send all of my clients (about 50%) over to a specific loan officer that I think is excellent. Just get in contact with me and I will be more than happy to help you out.