Last updated March 29, 2018.
The foreclosure process is complex and intimidating. When will you have to leave? When is it too late to reverse the process? How long does foreclosure take in Ohio? If you’re worried about losing your home to foreclosure, check out this guide to the foreclosure process in Ohio.
Ohio Foreclosure Process Timeline
The outline below is a guide to the legalities of the Ohio foreclosure process timeline. As a practical matter, foreclosure timelines can vary considerably based on the market, number of defaults, value of real estate, etc. Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you are facing foreclosure — we may be able to help.
Day 1-15: Missing a Payment
Day 1 is the day you miss a payment. You’ll be able to make your regular payment for two weeks without any repercussions. After Day 15, your lender will start to assess late fees.
Day 45-60: Notice of Breach
Six weeks to two months after your first missed payment, your lender will usually send you a letter indicating that you are in breach of your mortgage contract. That letter will include your options for catching up on your payments and will describe what you can expect if you don’t.
Day 90: Ohio Foreclosure Lawsuit Filed
Ohio is a judicial foreclosure state. This means that the Ohio court system oversees the foreclosure process, and banks must file a lawsuit and seek court approval in the form of a judgment before completing a foreclosure sale. Three months after your first missed payment, your lender can instigate a foreclosure proceeding with the court. You’ll receive a summons and a copy of the complaint.
Remember: While your bank can initiate foreclosure proceedings soon after a default, many will wait 6 months or more to get the foreclosure process started.
Day 118: File Answer with Court
You have until Day 118 (28 days after the lawsuit is filed) to file an official answer to the summons with the court. You may request mediation during this time or you may ask for additional time to work with your lender. If you don’t file an answer to the summons, your lender will file for summary judgment. If granted, summary judgment will give your lender the right to sell your home.
When the court grants the lender’s motion for summary judgment, the lender can then contact the sheriff’s office and set up a sheriff’s sale. That process can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months, depending on how busy the court is in your county. On the day of the sheriff’s sale, your home will be sold but you will not yet have to vacate the premises.
Redemption Period: Up to 90 Days
The sheriff must inform the court within 60 days of the sale. The court then has 30 days to confirm the sale. This process could take anywhere from a couple of days to the full 90 days. The time between the sale and the court’s confirmation is called the redemption period. During the redemption period, you have the legal right to buy your home back for the sale price plus any fees incurred during the foreclosure process.
If you do not redeem your home, the sheriff will notify you that you must leave your home.
How to Avoid the Sale of Your Home
The best way to avoid the sale of your home is to stay away from the foreclosure process altogether. If you miss a payment, reach out to your lender. Let them know you’re having financial trouble. Explain your situation and tell them that you want to make payments and keep your house. The foreclosure process is time-consuming and expensive for your lender. They’d rather work out a payment plan with you than go through that hassle.
If you do find yourself in foreclosure proceedings, it’s still a good idea to reach out to your lender. You may be able to reach an agreement at some point during the process. You should also make payments as you are able. It will show both your lender and the court that you’re truly trying to keep up with your mortgage rather than just abandoning it.
Bankruptcy Stops Foreclosure
If you’re headed for foreclosure, remember that you have another option: bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy at any time before or during the foreclosure process, the bank will be forced to stop foreclosure. Bankruptcy won’t wipe out your mortgage, but it can give you the time and space you need to get back on track with your payments and let you keep your house. Bankruptcy will also help with other debts and may significantly reduce the total amount you owe.
If you’d like to know more about how bankruptcy can help you, contact one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys. We have law offices in Dayton, Mason, Springfield, and Vandalia and offer a free case review.