Ohio Foreclosure Timeline

How long does foreclosure take in Ohio?

Many people assume there is nothing that can be done once payments are missed or foreclosure starts. But that is not true.

You Have Options

We regularly help people avoid a sheriff’s sale without the need for bankruptcy when they call us early in the process. If you’ve been served foreclosure papers, don’t move out. Instead, contact our law firm to see how we might be able to help you stay in your home.  You must respond to the lawsuit and know if you have any counterclaims which can help you negotiate with the bank.

Most of our clients have tried to work with their mortgage company on their own without results. We step in and help homeowners avoid foreclosure (and avoid bankruptcy) to get loan modifications, even after the bank has refused a request by you. Don’t assume you will lose your home to foreclosure. 

Do not move out.

Answer the lawsuit.

Get your case evaluated for counterclaims.

Continue to work with your servicer through counsel.

Avoid Bankruptcy.

Ohio Foreclosure Timeline

If you do not take any action to prevent the foreclosure and sheriff’s sale, Ohio foreclosure takes several months from date the homeowner first misses a payment to moving out (see below).  This lengthy period assumes the homeowner does not make an appearance or defend the foreclosure in court. 

With an attorney, the foreclosure process can take much longer, especially if your goal is to find a way to get back on track.  Normally, loan modifications or deals with the mortgage company that save the home can resolve the foreclosure within 5 to 14 months with counsel.  If you are working to get a modification or deal done with the bank, then securing a deal can prevent the foreclosure and sheriff’s sale all together. 

If you defend the foreclosure through a lawyer, the hope is that your foreclosure will be dismissed when a deal is done. That way, the foreclosure does not cause you to have to move out (assuming you do not want to move for a “cash for keys” deal).  A deal might include a loan modification, fee write-off, damages, or other terms you negotiate.

Don't Move Out!

If you are facing foreclosure, you should NOT move from your home until the sale is confirmed (later in the process - see below). In Ohio, you own your home. The bank only has a lien against it. Thus, you are on the hook for any losses to the property while it is still in your name, even during foreclosure.  This includes liability for injuries, code enforcement actions, and possibly theft of vandalism to the home.  Because of this, you should not move at the point of receiving a pre-foreclosure letter, or even at the point the foreclosure lawsuit is filed. 

Staying in your home until the foreclosure sale protects you, and helps maximize value to avoid any deficiency judgment.  Of course, if you retain counsel and get a deal done, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you are set on losing the home through foreclosure, then you will want to keep the property in good condition through the sale.  If the sale price is higher than the amount you owe, you are entitled to the excess proceeds.  That is another reason to not move out.  

Finally, not moving out gives you more time to try and get back on track.  It gives you time to find employment, organize your affairs, or get past whatever has caused this situation in the first place.  Contact us today to see if we can help. 

Foreclosure Timeline Without an Attorney:

4

Months After Last Payment Foreclosure is Filed

0

No Litigation

1

Month Later and Default is Entered

2

Months More and the Home is Sold at Sheriff's Sale

1

Month Later You Are Asked to Move

=8

Months with Deficiency Judgment Possible

Foreclosure Timeline with an Attorney:*

4

Months After Last Payment Foreclosure is Filed

12+

Months of Litigation

8+

Months of Any Appeal

24+

Months to Get a Deal Done

24+

Months to Get Back on Track

24+

Months to Avoid a Deficiency Judgment and Bankruptcy

Mortgage companies grade their foreclosure lawyers on how fast they can get foreclosure completed.  We can help slow down the foreclosure timeline to get a deal done.*

Detailed Foreclosure Timeline

Here is a detailed foreclosure timeline for Ohio. The entire foreclosure process takes eight to nine months if you do nothing.

  • First 30-120 Days.  This is the period when the homeowner first gets behind in their mortgage payments. Federal law requires that you be a few months behind before a lender files foreclosure in court. This gives you time to work with them directly. We sometimes call this period "pre-foreclosure." It is a great time to consult a lawyer because it offers the most opportunities to plan a course of action. An attorney can help you avoid a deficiency judgment (and avoid bankruptcy) with the right kind of negotiated deal with the bank.
  • 30 Days Before the Lender Files Foreclosure.  Your lender is required to mail you a letter indicating you are in default and that you ave thirty days to respond or foreclosure will begin. This is called a "notice of acceleration."  
  • The Lawsuit is Filed.  30 days after the letter, the bank will file a foreclosure lawsuit against you. In Ohio, banks must file a lawsuit to sell your home and name everyone who my have an interest. This means your spouse will also be named, irrespective of whether they are on the loan with you. It does not necessarily mean they will owe any money under the loan.
  • 1-14 Days After the Lawsuit is Filed.  You are served a copy of the lawsuit by registered mail or by personal courier/sheriff's department. This triggers your obligation to respond to the foreclosure lawsuit.  At this stage, you should immediately have a consultation with an attorney if you have not already done so. You do not want to miss your answer deadline, which will result in a default judgment. 
  • 29 Days Later After You are Served. If you do not respond to the lawsuit within 28 days of receiving it (service), you will be in default. The bank can request judgment against you.
  • 1-30 Days After the Bank Requests Default Judgment Against You. If you do not answer the lawsuit, the bank will ask the court for a default judgment. The judge will sign off on that as a matter of course. This will occur as soon as the judge gets around to signing the order. This could be a day or a month (expect about 1-14 days here).  This is your last chance to get an attorney involved before things get more complicated. It will be a race to get an answer into the court before the default judgment is granted.
  • 3-14 Days After Judgment is Entered. Within a few days of receiving a judgment against you, the bank is going to ask the sheriff to sell your home. The judge isn't very involved with this aspect of the case. Instead, the bank works directly with the sheriff's department by filing a "praecipe" to sell your home.  
  • 1-4 Months After Notice to the Sheriff to Sell Your Home (depending on the County). Once the sheriff gets notice to sell the property, he or she will have the property appraised. The sheriff selects 3 appraisers who determine the value. Once the value is established, the sheriff schedules the property for sale.  You should request and fill out a complete "loss mitigation" package with your lender if you haven't already done so, which may delay also delay the sale.  If you submit that at least 45 days before the sale date, it could offer you great benefits if the lender does not pull the sale.  
  • The sale is advertised in the newspaper for 3-5 weeks. The opening bid is required to be 2/3 of the appraised value for lender-foreclosures. Foreclosures based on past-due real estate taxes begin at the value of the overdue taxes. The lender may ask the judge to allow for a private sale instead of a courthouse auction.
  • Day of the Foreclosure Sheriff's Sale. The property is auctioned according to Ohio law. Recent changes allow for the sale to occur at an online auction site, through a private company, or at the county courthouse. The Sheriff will auction property to highest bidder. The bank will probably bid up to the amount of its loan, in what is called a "credit bid." Anything over the amount of the judgment is returned to you upon motion to the court.  As a side note here, some law firms are sending advertisements out that offer to recover the surplus for consumers, asking 1/3 the recovery. This is unethical and you should avoid those law firms. Instead, look for one that will recover that surplus for you on an hourly or flat rate rate (like our firm). You will save thousands of dollars.  Here is our post about stopping a sheriff's sale.
  • Prior to the sale is your last practical opportunity to call an attorney for help if you want to save your home. As soon as the sale is confirmed, it becomes incredibly hard to unwind it. Our firm might still be able to help, but we generally will ask for a larger deposit up front. You might also contact a bankruptcy attorney at this time, as that is the only way to guarantee the sale is stopped. Call us for help or for a bankruptcy lawyer referral here.
  • 1 to 30 Days After the Sale.  Once the sale is completed, the bank will file a motion with the court to confirm the sale. These are generally approved without much notice. Sometimes the bank won't even notify the parties it has requested the confirmation (which is probably reversible error). In any event, the court will generally sign off on the Confirmation of Sale within a few days.
  • 1-7 Days After the Confirmation of Sale is Entered. After the court confirms the sale, a sheriff’s deed is prepared and given to the new owner.  That might be the bank, or it could be an investor. If an investor buys your home and gets a sheriff's deed, it is nearly impossible to unwind the sale.  An attorney probably cannot help get your home back now. However, if you filled out and sent in a complete loss mitigation package at least 45 days before the sale, you might have a substantial ($) new claim for damages. RESPA might provide you the ability to sue your mortgage servicer for failing to pull the sale while it reviewed your loan modification request. You'll need a very specific lawyer for this kind of lawsuit, as few lawyers know what the law is here - let alone how to file one of these complex federal lawsuits. Fortunately, we created some of the caselaw in this area and know what we are doing with RESPA. Give us a call today.
  • 1-7 Days After Deed Transfer.  Once the sale is finalized and the deed has been transferred to the new owner, the new owner will file a form to evict you from the property. They don't have to file a brand new lawsuit or an eviction. They only ask the sheriff's office for a "Writ of Possession."
  • 1-7 Days After the Sheriff Gets the Writ of Possession. Now is the time to move. The sheriff will generally give you 3-7 days to vacate the property. If you do not move all of your belongings from the property by the deadline, the sheriff will return and set them out on the curb. You may request an extension from the sheriff's department, but they are not obligated to give you one. (You might be more likely to get an extension if the bank bought your property at sheriff's sale, versus a private person.)
Timeline of Foreclosure

How to Extend Your Foreclosure Timeline

The above foreclosure timeline provides a good outer-band on how long foreclosure takes in Ohio if you do nothing. If you defend the foreclosure using some foreclosure defenses, that can extend the foreclosure time. That is because your defenses must be adjudicated by the court before the home is sold.

A foreclosure defense attorney should be consulted to ensure the claims or defenses raised are appropriate for your case and the court. Foreclosure defense attorneys can attack the bank's case on multiple different levels for you in a manner that is appropriate and proper in the court system. Those foreclosure claims or defense attacks may allow for a favorable resolution for you (which is the reason for raising them). They also take time to resolve.

Evaluating a foreclosure case requires considering a number of different areas of the law.  This means a foreclosure case can become fairly complex quickly, and may require a substantial amount of time to litigate. The worse the bank's conduct, the longer the foreclosure can take. Learn more about the foreclosure defenses that can be raised in here. Read about some of our results here.

How long do you have to get out of your house after foreclosure in Ohio?

There is a difference between the “foreclosure” and the “sheriff’s sale.” The “foreclosure” is the entire process that begins with a lawsuit and ends with an eviction. That process takes several months. The sheriff’s sale is one of the final steps in the foreclosure process.

Once the sale occurs, the bank must ask the judge to confirm the sale. That takes a few days. After the judge signs off on the order, a sheriff's deed is prepared and given to the new owner as soon as they pay for the property. That can take up to 30 days. After that sheriff's deed is transferred, the new owner can have the sheriff immediately notify you to get out of your house. If you fail to get out of your house by the deadline the sheriff gives you (or get an extension from the sheriff), the sheriff can go into the property and remove all the things inside. Those are usually placed on the first public space outside the home (curb or sidewalk).

If you are concerned that you will lose your home to foreclosure, but want to save it, give us a call. It doesn't hurt to see what an experienced lawyer can do to help without bankruptcy. Call or sign up online for your free consultation.

How long do you have to get out of your house after a sheriff's sale in Ohio?

You have about four to six weeks from the date your house is sold at sheriff's auction before you have to get out of your house. "Foreclosure" in Ohio is the entire lawsuit process. The sheriff's auction is the final part of the process. The sheriff's auction is the event that comes right before you have to get out of your house. Once the sheriff's auction occurs, some final paperwork will need to be completed. Once those documents are done, the sheriff will serve you eviction papers. Sometimes you can get an extension from the sheriff's department to extend the amount of time you have before you have to get out of your house. Ask or call the sheriff's department on how to request an extension. Each county will be different.

Want to know more about foreclosure? Everything you need to know about foreclosure is right here.

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* There are no guarantees with any timeline with or without counsel.  Each county operates differently, so these time frames can vary.  However, in any event, failing to answer a foreclosure lawsuit will result in a default judgment as compared to answering.