Check with your local county extension office. Here in NC if I were interested in purchasing an established hive with questionable history, the state bee inspector will examine the hives with me free of charge to look for anything that may be wrong with them before I buy them. You can also ask at the extension office about a local bee club. Find an experienced beekeeper who can act as your mentor the first year. Most beekeepers are very excited about new beekeepers and young people with interest in the hobby. Build some relationships in the bee circles. You may even trade off some "apiary work" (lifting the heavy stuff) for an older beekeeper in exchange for the education / experience. Don't be afraid to ask. :)
Welcome to Beemaster!