I'm so sorry to hear about your friends mother. If your friend needs a home fast, looking to buy a property by buying the tax lien is not going to be a fast process. How that works is that you buy the tax lien on the property, then the legal owner has 3 years to pay that back to you, if they by the end of the 3 years don't pay the lien, then you can start the process of taking over the property. If he is lookin for fast housing to buy, I would suggest looking for a bank owned property. Or even faster, a rental. Good luck to you.
Best of luck to you and your friend.
They key to understand here is that any lien you purchase must be held for a minimum of 3 years prior to foreclosing on it and taking possession of the property.
If you have further questions about buying tax lien properties in Tucson, please visit my site and send a contact request!
One more thing your friend sounds like a very lucky person already by having a good friend like you.
Tonje nailed it right on the head, tax lien properties aren't going to be fast at all. I would second the suggestion for looking at bank owned homes but if your friend isn't going to seek traditional financing (pay cash) then pretty much any purchase can be accelerated.