In Ohio, mortgage lenders must follow the rules of the judicial foreclosure process, which simply means that every foreclosure has to go through the county court system. Within this system, though, homeowners have many questions about how foreclosure works. Listed below is a Q and A on the complicated topic:
What does the bank have to do to foreclose? Before filing a foreclosure complaint, your bank has to first jump through several legal hoops. First, it must send you a notice of default telling you that you have missed a mortgage payment. Next, it must give you time to cure the default. If you don’t cure the default, the bank may then file a foreclosure complaint. This, however, simply starts what is typically a long court process.
What do I do after I receive notice of a foreclosure complaint? After you receive notice that your lender is attempting to file for foreclosure in an Ohio court, you have 28 days to file a responsive pleading. This may take the form of an answer, a series of affirmative defenses, or a motion to dismiss. An Ohio foreclosure attorney can help explain how this part of the foreclosure process works.
Is it possible to win a foreclosure case? Yes, there are several ways in which you might win the case. First, the bank may simply drop the case. This often occurs when homeowners refinance their loans. If the bank doesn’t drop the case, you may instead win on the merits. In order to foreclose, your lender must prove it is the holder of the mortgage or note. If it fails to show this, you may be able to defeat the lender’s claim.
How long can I keep my house? This all depends on your unique situation, but in the worst case scenario, it may take up to a year for your mortgage lender to foreclose. More typically, the average foreclosure case takes months to come to completion. Which is to say that you’ll likely be able to stay in your home well after the foreclosure complaint is filed.
What are the options to avoid foreclosure? Instead of fighting the foreclosure, you could seek a short sale (where you sell your house and your lender receives the proceeds), or a deed in lieu of foreclosure (where you simply hand the deed over to your bank in exchange for the forgiveness of your debt). The options, however, come with some risks, and it’s best to first discuss them with a foreclosure attorney to conduct a further Q and A on how foreclosure works.