Your story sounds like a HUD deal that I have currently for a young couple for a HUD home in Warren. Months of hurdles and we have set 3 closing dates only to cancel each one. I am not going to repeat what Alan said in his reply but I am going to expand on what he said for HUD deals in Michigan.
In July of this year the State of Michigan decided to put liens on a lot of HUD owned properties in certain counties, but not all counties. What the issue is, is this; when HUD took ownership of these properties they never changed the ownership to reflect that the properties were supposed to be switched from Homestead to Non Homestead. When a property is Non Homesteaded, the county and the State collect more taxes on that property. So the State of Michigan feels they are owed more money itaxes and to force the issue, they placed blanket liens on a lot of properties.
If you are paying Cash, you can still close on the property but will only be able to do so with an exception on your Title Insurance, basically meaning that you will be liable for the lien if HUD and the State of Michigan don't resolve the issue. Supposedly they are working on a resolution. Hundreds, if not thousand of properties are affected.
Contact a Title Company to do a search if you are curious and you will see what the lien is, it is easy to do. If you are purchasing the property using financing, you will not be able to close on the property until it is resolved because the lender will not insure the policy.
I hope this doesn't confuse you. Feel free to email me with questions.
If you're using an attorney, or closing through a title company... either of them should be able to do a simple title search, for you, to determine if there is a lien, and if so, for what amount.