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Foreclosure Process and Timeline
Below is the timeline of a typical foreclosure action. 

Day 1
  • You fail to make your mortgage payment by the due date.
Days 16 - 30
  • Your mortgage servicer assesses late charges on your account and attempts to contact you to find out why you missed your payment.
Days 45 - 60
  • Your servicer sends you a "demand" or "breach" letter that tells you that you have violated the terms of your mortgage.
Day 90
  • At this time, your servicer may refer your account to its foreclosure department, which will begin foreclosure proceedings.
Day 100
  • Foreclosure proceedings begin when your mortgage servicer files a foreclosure complaint at your County Court of Common Pleas.  You, the homeowner, are named as a defendant on the case.  In the complaint the plaintiff, the lender, tells the court that you, the homeowner, have breached your contract by failing to make your mortgage payments and asks the court to order the house be sold at auction and the proceeds be used to pay off the mortgage.

  • Once the case is filed, the Clerk of Court sends you a copy of the complaint and a summons by certified mail and/or asks a deputy sheriff to deliver the documents to you.
Day 128
  • WARNING!  The first deadline is the most important.  If you do not file with the court a response to the Complaint within 28 days of the Complaint being served on you, the court will assume that you agree with everything in the Complaint and the bank will win the case.

  • When defending against a foreclosure lawsuit and associated legal issues it is always recommended that the homeowner consult an attorney for legal advice and representation.  If you cannot afford an attorney call 1-866-Law-Ohio or visit OhioLegalServices.org for your closest legal aid office.  You can also call Save the Dream Ohio at 1-888-404-4674 to be connected with a housing counselor, who cannot give legal advice, but can help explain the foreclosure process.

  • Your response to the foreclosure Complaint that must be filed within 28 days is called your "Answer" to the Complaint.  Only the judge assigned to your foreclosure case can extend the 28 days.  It does not matter if you are negotiating with the bank or applying for a loan modification.  Nothing extends the 28 days except an order from the judge assigned to the case.  If you file a Motion for an Extension of Time to File your Answer and it is granted by the judge, then you must file your Answer by the date stated in the order granting the extension.

  • Note that there are circumstances when your Answer is due sooner than 28 days from the date you received the Compliant.  For example, if you received the Summons and Complaint by regular mail after the original certified mail attempt was returned as either "refused" or "unclaimed," then the 28 days may have begun when the regular mail was delivered to the post office rather than when you received it.

  • If you have any doubt about when the deadline expires, you should contact the Clerk of Court's Office immediately.  The address of the court and the phone number of the Clerk of Court is located on the Summons.  The Answer deadline is the date that your Answer must actually be filed with the court.  It is not sufficient to mail the answer to the court by that date.  You must take steps to be sure the answer actually reaches the court before the deadline passes.

  • If you do not file a timely Answer, your lender may file a Motion with the court for a "Default Judgment."  If the court grants the motion, the bank may begin preparing to sell your home at a sheriff’s sale.

  • If you are not represented by an attorney and you wish to file your own Answer or Motion for Extension of Time to Answer, see the right sidebar on the Foreclosure page entitled "Foreclosure Self-Help" for information and links to an internet application to create your own forms to file with the court.  Along with the form, it will also produce a page of instructions regarding how to file your Answer or Motion.
Days 129 - 150+
  • Some banks move more slowly than others in filing a Complaint and a Motion for a Default Judgment.  Once the court grants the Default Judgment, the sheriff will appraise the value of your house and the house will be put up for sheriff's sale.  Although your home can be sold for less than it is worth at the sheriff’s sale, it cannot be sold for less than 2/3rd of its appraised value.
Redemption Period
  • After a sheriff's sale, the sheriff has up to 60 days to inform the court that the sale took place.  Then, the court must confirm the sale within 30 days.  The time between the sheriff's sale and the confirmation is called the "redemption period."  You have the right to buy back your home during the redemption period.  If you choose to do so, you will also have to pay any attorney fees and court costs incurred as a result of the foreclosure.
Execution of Writ of Possession
  • The final action in the foreclsoure case is the execution of the writ of possession.  This means that because the new owners of the property have the right to possession, you must leaveYou will be given a notice by the sheriff that you must leave your home or be evicted.  The amount of time varies by county.

This website provides general legal information and not legal advice.  The law is complex and changes frequently. 
Before you apply any general legal information to a particular situation, consult an attorney. 
If you cannot afford an attorney call 1-866-Law-Ohio (1-866-529-6446) or visit OhioLegalHelp.org for your closest legal aid office.