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A guide to the Ohio foreclosure process

Home ownership is one of the great accomplishments for American workers and families. After the investment and care that homeowners take in their new abode, there are few times more stressful than the danger of foreclosure -- a mortgage lender reclaiming the property after nonpayment of scheduled loan maintenance.

Even if payments are late, Ohio homeowners have rights that protect their home until lenders go through the proper legal channels to reclaim the home. They also have the right to challenge foreclosure complaints filed against them during the stages of a lender's action.

Typically, a lender will add late fees to unpaid mortgage payments after two weeks. A "demand" -- or "breach" -- notice is often served on the homeowner after six to eight weeks of nonpayment. Covering the balance plus late fees may cease further foreclosure action against borrowers.

A foreclosure complaint may be filed by a lender in the appropriate Ohio county's court of common pleas after three monthly payments have been skipped. A copy of the complaint is sent to the homeowner, along with a court summons to appear at a specific date. Recipients of summons have four weeks to respond to the complaint.

If loan repayment or mediation fails to end the complaint, the lender can request a default judgment against borrowers, which can result in the county sheriff's sale of the property. Until the sheriff has reported the sale, which can take up to 90 days, the borrower may buy back the home, plus any process fees accrued during the foreclosure process. Only the sheriff's office may officially demand that a foreclosed resident leave the home.

Source: Save the Dream Ohio, "Foreclosure Timeline," accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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