Foreclosure timeline in Ohio

Foreclosure is the legal process a lender uses to take your home. The process from start to finish can take between six months and two years.

A note on COVID-19: If your mortgage is backed by the federal government, you may have two protections available to help:

  • foreclosure moratoriumat least through December 31, 2020. The CARES Act set an initial moratorium through May 17, 2020. That moratorium was extended on May 14, 2020, June 17, 2020 and August 27, 2020. A moratorium stops or suspends the foreclosure; and, 
  • A right to up to a 12-month forbearance for homeowners impacted by COVID-19.

If you can't pay your mortgage, you should call your loan servicer as soon as possible to ask for help. A lot of homeowners are calling for help, so be prepared to wait on hold when you call.  

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Foreclosure in Ohio can take different lengths of time based on how quickly a lender takes action. But, there are certain deadlines that are important. Here is a summary of the steps that have to happen for a foreclosure to be completed, and the important deadlines you need to know.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) changes

To help homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes, the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) gives two helpful protections:

  • A foreclosure moratorium, at least through December 31, 2020. The CARES Act set an initial moratorium through May 17, 2020. That moratorium was extended on May 14, 2020, June 17, 2020 and August 27, 2020. A moratorium stops or suspends the foreclosure; and,
  • A right to up to a 12-month forbearance for homeowners impacted by COVID-19.

The foreclosure moratorium and right to forbearance applies to homeowners with a mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Almost half of the mortgages in the U.S. are backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, so many homeowners will qualify for these protections. You can see if your mortgage is backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae by going to their websites.

Day 1 through 120


You miss your mortgage payment 

Most lenders will wait three months before starting the foreclosure process. During this time, your servicer will try to reach out to you to discuss potential options to get you current. Don't ignore these letters or calls. If you’re behind on your mortgage but have not received foreclosure papers from the court, find out what you can do now to avoid foreclosure.

Day 120 through 180


Your lender files a foreclosure against you 

The legal foreclosure process does not start until the lender files against you in court. If you receive foreclosure papers, also called a “complaint,” in the mail or served to you in-person, don’t ignore them. Take action.

File an answer in 28 days 

The most important deadline in the process is 28 days after you receive the foreclosure complaint. You must file an “answer,” or a response to your lender’s claims in 28 days. Otherwise, the court will assume that you agree with everything your lender is saying and they will win the case. If you don’t file an answer, the court can rule against you in as little as 31 days. Find out what to do after you receive foreclosure papers to learn how to file an answer.

Your lender files for a judgment 

If you file an answer, the next step is for your lender to file a “summary judgment,” or documents asking the court to make a decision based on the facts you and the lender have given, without going to trial. Most foreclosures do not go to trial. If you want to oppose or fight the summary judgment, it is important you get a lawyer. You may qualify for legal aid.  

Day 180+


If the court decides against you, your home will be put up for sheriff's sale.

The sheriff’s sale process can be a little different from county to county, but in general:

  • There will be an “appraisal” of your home. This means that an expert, hired by the sheriff, will come to look at your home and estimate its value.
  • The home will be sold at public auction.
  • The home cannot be sold for less than 2/3 of the appraised value.

After the sale, the sheriff has up to 60 days to let the court know the sale took place.

Eviction from your home. 

The final act of the foreclosure is when the court confirms that the sale has happened, and that the buyer is now the owner of the home. You will get a letter from the sheriff’s office saying that you must move out. The amount of time you have depends on the county that you live in, and will be included in the letter.

The foreclosure process in Ohio doesn’t have a set length. The speed of the process will depend on how fast your lender acts and can take up to two years.

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