Suzanne - you should have an appraisal of the house's value, an inspection to let you know if there are any hidden problems, title work to make sure there are no other problems with the title, money to pay the tax lien, and especially the advice of an attorney. Don't waste time soliciting advice from your friends or non-experts. If you don't have the money to do your due diligence, you might try to find someone who will help you acquire the house in return for a share of the equity when you sell. You will probably not be able to avoid settling the tax issue as the lien will be attached to the property and could result in the property being sold at a tax sale if it isn't paid. Good luck! This might be a really great opportunity for you.