Before a property goes to auction, there are some events that are most likely to have taken place. One of such is that the homeowner refuses to pay his mortgage for several months which will prompt the bank to file a notice of default. When the bank files the notice of default, should the homeowner refuse to immediately pay the balance owed on the house or renegotiate the mortgage, the property can be put up for an auction.
Another reason a property can end up at an auction is if the home owner refuses to pay property taxes. If the tax evasion to State and local authorities become severe, then same can be seized by the State or Local tax authority for auction.