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Welcome to the Ohio legal services community's pre-foreclosure website!

This website is brought to you by Pro Seniors, Inc., the Ohio Poverty Law Center and the Legal Aid Societies of Ohio to provide information about how to avoid a foreclosure in Ohio along with related material.  The Ohio legal services community has provided no-cost legal advice and representation to thousands of low income Ohioans threatened with or facing foreclosure, but our limited funding prevents us from serving all who need help.  Though this website is not a substitute for professional legal advice tailored to your individual situation, it does provide self-help foreclosure prevention information and resources to Ohioans in need.

Avoiding Foreclosure

This website is designed for the Ohio homeowner who is struggling financially and evaluating whether to keep the house.  If you are buying a house on land contract, buying a mobile home or even a tenant whose house is in foreclosure, see the Other Housing section of this website for information and resources.  However, if you are buying a house with a typical loan and mortgage, then the Pre-Foreclosure and Foreclosure sections are for you.

There are many helpful foreclosure avoidance programs and options but not every option is the right choice or even an available choice for every homeowner.  Your situation is unique and requires an individual assessment of available opportunities best provided by an experienced professional familiar with foreclosure avoidance programs and options.  But you can start here and gain insight and understanding that will be very useful as you assess your situation.

Evaluating Your Options

For every homeowner there is information to be gathered and assessments to be made before deciding to keep the house.  Sometimes financial circumstances are such that ultimately there is no decision to be made except whether to voluntarily give the house up or let it go into foreclosure.  For others, filing bankruptcy or cutting expenses to the bone to afford the mortgage payment may be too great a hardship.  But for everyone it is important to make an informed decision.  Knowing all available options and their cost allows you to make a decision that is right for you.

Pre-Foreclosure and Foreclosure

The Pre-Foreclosure section is for homeowners in financial distress and the information, resources and tools available to help them stabilize their situation.  Addressing the financial problems may involve modifying the mortgage, refinancing the loan, getting rid of other debt and expenses or qualifying for short or long-term income through government programs.

The Foreclosure section is for homeowners who have had a foreclosure complaint filed against them in common pleas court.  They are actively and legally being foreclosed upon by the lender that owns their mortgageThe Foreclosure section contains information and resources that specifically address the foreclosure lawsuit.  Homeowners in foreclosure who want to keep their house will also need to cure the financial problems that led to the foreclosure, while simultaneously dealing with the foreclosure process.

Below is a series of steps to gather information, identify options and define a strategy to reach your goal.

Decision Tree

1)  Know Where You Stand


2Mortgage Options For Temporary Financial Distress

  • Reinstatement
  • Repayment
  • Forbearance
  • Save The Dream Ohio 

3)  Options To Permanently Modify The Mortgage

  • Mortgage Refinance
  • Mortgage Modification
  • Special Lender-Specific Options

4)  Other Ways To Save The House


5)  Nothing Worked - Giving Up Your Home

  • Short Sale
  • Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure
  • Cash For Keys
  • Save The Dream Ohio
  • Walking Away
  • Damage to Credit
Get Professional Help

1)  A Lawyer Familiar with Foreclosure

  • 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.
  • If you are age 60 call Pro Seniors at 1-800-488-6070.

2)  A HUD Certified Housing Counselor

  • A free housing counseling agency is staffed with trained specialists who can assess your situation, answer your questions, explain your options, prioritize your debts, help you apply for government programs and participate in discussions with your loan servicer.
  • Click here for a list of housing counseling agencies (pdf) that work with Save The Dream Ohio, Ohio's foreclosure prevention initiative.

3)  Call Your Mortgage Loan Servicer

  • A mortgage loan servicer is the company that you send your mortgage payment to.  It is usually not the company that owns your loan.  It is a company hired by the company that owns your loan to be responsible for the day-to-day management of your mortgage loan account.
  • When you are having trouble making your payments, you should immediately contact your loan servicer to discuss what options are available to make your mortgage payment more affordable. 
  • Part of the job of a loan servicer is to discuss with you a list of loan modifications and programs that the owner of your loan has authorized.  But the longer you wait to call, the fewer options that will be available to you.

4)  A Certified Financial Counselor

  • A free or low-cost non-profit financial counseling agency is staffed with certified counselors who can assess your personal financial situation and through financial education and debt management, create an individualized action plan to address your credit and debt concerns.
  • Click here for a list of HUD supported foreclosure and financial counseling agencies.

Pro Seniors, Inc.

Ohio Poverty Law Center

Legal Aid of Western Ohio 

   The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

   Community Legal Aid Services

   The Legal Aid Society of Columbus

   Southeastern Ohio Legal Services

  The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati

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.