If you fail to pay your property taxes when they are due and continue to avoid paying them, you stand a good chance of accumulating penalties and interest. After a given amount of time, the county office can place a lien on your property. If you continue to avoid paying the property taxes, you home can succumb to the auction block. This can be done even if you owe an outstanding mortgage on the home. You or someone else is going to have to pay the outstanding balance owed on the property taxes. It is always best to pay the taxes, but if you do not, an auction can take place.
How the auction works is the county decides you have had ample time to pay the property taxes and you have made no effort to do so. They will then notify any lenders of intent to auction your property to recoup the taxes monies owed. Once the process starts, you still have time to save your property before the day of the auction. If you have the resources, you can apply monies to the delinquent property taxes and have your property taken off the auction block.
Once your property is deemed delinquent in property taxes, the county will add this information into the file with other properties that are going up for auction as well. Once this procedure starts, there is only one way to stop it, you have to pay the taxes and have it taken off the list. You will have to pay the penalties and any interest that has accumulated over the years. When you have a receipt stating payment has been made, your property is then safe from auction and you retain ownership.
If you do not pay the property taxes, the auction will go as planned. People sign up to participate in a property auction and are allowed to view information about the property before bidding starts. Many bidders will search the title to see if there are any other lien holders on the property in question. Even if you are a mortgage holder, your property can be auctioned off. The legalities of a mortgage are more intense then the auction itself. The county will put a minimum limit requirement on the property to recoup as much of the tax owed as possible and allow bidders to bid accordingly. Once some wins the bid, you have a new situation to handle.
Chances are, the winning bidder has searched the title and now knows who the mortgage lender is and where to reach them. The winning bidder does have a stake in the property and now it is a matter of obtaining the property from you as the owner in a legal sense. This is procedure is going to be lengthy and costly in some cases. You are wise to contact a property tax attorney before you let this matter get this far, because you will have more problems now than you had before with just owing property taxes.