When faced with non-payment of property Tax, sometimes the County Governments offer tax sales at an auction to the public as a step towards making lost income. In the case of an auction of tax lien sales, it is actually just a certificate that is sold and a purchased and not the actual land or property.
A buyer of such a tax lien is essentially lending money to the property owner to pay their taxes. In return, the property owner has to repay the buyer, all the taxes accrued and the sum of all penalties, and administrative cost. Failure to do so will allow the buyer to access to own the deed and the property in question.
A tax lien sale is a public sale set up as an auction, against the County's right to collect on a delinquent taxpayer's debt. The County organizes such auctions, usually once a year. The term of sales different from state to state as a matter of fact from County to County, too. Basically, if the said debt is not repaid towards the agreed amount rate of interest which is determined at the time of sale within a particular time period, the purchaser of the tax lien may foreclose on the property.
Different than a tax lien certificate sale, if you purchase a tax deed sale, you are not liable against any other liens, mortgages, or deeds of trust drawn on the land. You purchase the deed to property, which is completely free and clear of any other commitment.
You can contact the County for specific information and details on both about the sale and the properties. It would be prudent to gather information upon which type of sale you are attending, a tax deed or tax lien / certificate sale, because these two sales differ in term of specific rules and guidelines. You may want to find out details on the method and timeliness required for payment and delivery of a property. Getting guidance from a legal attorney and the Government agency would be a plus.