Owe Taxes and Dreaming of a Home? Here’s How You Can Still Buy

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Written By kevin

A financial strategist with a knack for demystifying taxes and insurance, Kevin distills complex concepts into actionable advice.

Understanding the Impact of Tax Liabilities on Homeownership

Owing back taxes can be a significant hurdle when aspiring to own a home. Tax debts can lead to tax liens, potentially lower credit scores, and result in higher interest rates or difficulty qualifying for mortgages. It’s crucial to grasp the full extent of these implications before embarking on the home-buying journey.

Consequences of Unpaid Taxes:

  • Tax Liens: Legal claims filed by the government against your property for unpaid tax debt.
  • Credit Score Impact: Owing taxes can reduce your credit score, affecting loan eligibility.
  • Interest Rates: Higher rates may apply due to perceived lending risks.
  • Loan Qualification: Challenges in meeting the criteria for conventional mortgage programs.

Consulting with Financial Experts

Before pursuing homeownership, engage with a financial advisor or tax professional. These experts can provide insights into programs and strategies tailored to those with tax-related challenges.

Potential Solutions:

  1. Offer in Compromise: A settlement program with the IRS to resolve tax debts for less than the full amount owed.
  2. Installment Agreements: Payment plans allowing tax debts to be paid over time, typically within 72 months.
  3. Currently Not Collectible Status: Suspension of collection activities if you can demonstrate financial hardship.
  4. Penalty Abatement: Reduction or removal of penalties for qualifying taxpayers.

Financial specialists may also assist in negotiating lien releases if federal liens exist against your assets.

Exploring Alternative Financing

When traditional mortgage options are unattainable, consider alternative financing methods such as rent-to-own agreements or seller financing.

Alternative Financing Methods:

  • Lease Purchase Agreement: Rent a property with the option to buy within a set timeframe.
  • Seller-Financed Agreements: The property seller acts as the lender, offering more flexible terms.
  • FHA Home-Buying Assistance: For U.S. residents, these programs support first-time buyers with lower incomes and credit challenges.


While tax debts can complicate the path to homeownership, various strategies can help you navigate this obstacle. Leveraging professional advice and exploring all available options are key steps toward realizing your dream of owning a home.


Can you buy a home if you owe taxes to the IRS? Yes, homeownership is still achievable, albeit with potential financing challenges. Addressing tax debts with a payment plan can improve mortgage prospects.

Can I qualify for an FHA loan if I have tax liens? Eligibility for FHA loans is possible even with tax liens, provided certain conditions are met, including satisfactory credit and income qualifications.

How can I improve my chances of getting approved for a mortgage if I owe back taxes? Settling back taxes or arranging a payment plan with the IRS can bolster your mortgage approval chances. Additionally, improving your credit report by reducing debt and ensuring timely payments can demonstrate financial responsibility to lenders.