Foreclosure is the legal process a lender uses to take your home. The process from start to finish can take at least six months, and can take up to two years.
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.
You miss your mortgage payment.
Most lenders will wait three months before starting the foreclosure process. 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.
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 a "summary 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 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.