As a side note to other posters who will read this - Yes we have tried to work this out prior to closing, sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not. I have actually had Seller's attorney's offices certify in attorney review that all the back assessments will be paid by the Seller, only to show up and closing and have charges on the Buyer's side.
If you are buying a foreclosure from auction you will be taking on possible liens as well....you really need to do the research before prior to bidding.
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
When writing an offer, some standard contracts have language that protects against unpaid assessments. In addition, your lawyer should address unpaid assessments during attorney review. However, note that you can get stuck with up to six months of back assessments per governmental statute.
Having a knowledgeable real estate agent and real estate lawyer should be able to guide you through all of this. If you do not have past experience buying foreclosures and/or are not familiar with the procedures and customs in buying one, you should probably engage the services of a real estate agent and definitely one of a lawyer.
Let me know if I can be of any assistance.