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.

If you can't pay your mortgage, you should contact your loan servicer immediately to request help. Be prepared to wait on the line for assistance as a lot of homeowners are seeking help right now.

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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.

Help with paying your mortgage and property taxes

Save the Dream Ohio – Mortgage Assistance provides eligible Ohio homeowners with financial assistance to pay delinquent mortgage payments and/or future mortgage payments for up to six months. While the amount of assistance may vary by household, a household may receive up to a combined $25,000 in mortgage assistance.

There is no cost to apply for the program. To qualify for the Save the Dream Ohio program, a household must have their primary residence in Ohio, have experienced financial hardship or loss of income related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have an income at or below the Save the Dream Ohio income eligibility threshold. Learn more at savethedream.ohiohome.org.

Save the Dream Ohio – Utility Assistance Plus provides eligible Ohio homeowners with financial assistance to pay delinquent utility bills, property taxes, and other housing costs not included in the mortgage payment. A household may receive up to combined $10,000 in utility and/or housing cost assistance. You can apply for Utility Assistance Plus now through your local Community Action Agency.

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.

If you can't pay your mortgage, you should contact your loan servicer immediately to request help. Be prepared to wait on the line for assistance as a lot of homeowners are seeking help right now.     

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. Stay in your home while the foreclosure process is ongoing. 

Your lender files for a judgment 

If you file an answer, the next step is for your lender to file a “motion for 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. If you did not file an answer, your lender will file a "motion for default judgment." 

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.

Ask for money left over from the sale.

After your home is sold at the sheriff’s sale, the lender will take what you owe using money from the sale. Sometimes, money is left over, and you have the right to get it back. The leftover money is called the “balance” or “excess funds.”

The clerk of court will send you a notice within 90 days after the sale if money is left over. (Make sure the clerk has your current address.) The notice should state how much money is left and how you can get it. Usually, you must file a motion with the court asking for the money to be returned to you.

You can use this Form Assistant to create your motion asking for excess funds from the sale.

File your motion with the court within 90 days of the date of the clerk of court’s notice. If you don’t file your request in time, the money may become unclaimed funds.

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