Police said that Carlene Balderrama used her husband's high-powered rifle to kill herself Tuesday afternoon, shortly after faxing the letter at 2:30 p.m.
The mortgage company called police, who found Balderrama's body at 3:30 p.m. The auction was scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and interested buyers arrived at the property in Taunton, about 35 miles south of Boston, while Balderrama's body was still inside, according to Taunton police chief Raymond O'Berg.
Police did not immediately release the name of the mortgage company. O'Berg said Balderrama's fax read, in part, "By the time you foreclose on my house I'll be dead."
O'Berg also said a suicide note found next to Balderrama told her husband, John, and 24-year-old son to "take the (life) insurance money and pay for the house."
Joe Whitney, who works with Balderrama's husband, a plumber, said that Balderrama handled the bills and her husband didn't know about the foreclosure.
"John didn't even know about it, that's the surprise," Whitney told The Boston Globe. "It's just one of those awful, awful tragic events."