even with the issues, that's a nice price for a car with reasonable miles. As long as the body and interior aren't in too bad condition, you'll be fine and money ahead of a car that was perfectly kept and demanded a high price.
Just identify the safety concerns and tackle those issues first, like the brakes. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Seek help from a more experienced hand or professional when you need it. It will save you time and money in the long run.
A lot of people will propose taking on certain tasks while you're tackling something else. This has the potential to save you a lot of time, since you won't be disassembling some of the same things 2 or more times, but it will also cost you a LOT of money. If you have something else to drive while you're getting this one ready, that's a great strategy, especially if you have more time now than you will later, and the funds available to do it. This all sounds very hypothetical, so let me give you an example. Let's say you need to replace the valve cover gasket ($50). Well, while you're at it you could also
rebuild the VANOS ($140 for the seals and washers)
replace the spark plugs ($10 each online, $25 from the dealer)
ignition coils ($60 each)
replace the secondary air valve ($100) and vacuum line($20)
oxygen sensors ($100 x4).
It's true, all this work does require some of the same preparation to gain access to where you're going, but you've just turned a $50 valve cover gasket job into a $1000 job replacing a lot of components that will eventually need to replaced, but are fine for the time being. it's unlikely any of these parts will fail catastrophically and leave you stranded so unless you're doing a lot of long-haul driving, my advice is to wait until they need to be replaced. This advice does NOT apply to the cooling system.