Foreclosure Attorney in Cincinnati
Helping Our Ohio Clients Save Their Homes
Losing your home as a result of foreclosure is unthinkable. Those struggling to manage overwhelming debt might feel helpless if they receive a foreclosure notice. Fortunately, homeowners have numerous legal tools with which to combat foreclosure and prevent the loss of their home. Homeowners have more power in preventing foreclosure than many realize, and the situation is probably not as hopeless as you may fear.
At The Southard Law Firm, L.L.C., our lead attorney, Arthur Southard, can help identify the best means of fighting your foreclosure. Our law firm boasts a proud history of helping our Ohio clients manage their financial situations and find paths to more sustainable futures. Retaining the services of our foreclosure attorney in Cincinnati could make the difference in whether you lose your home.
Start the conversation through a complimentary, no-obligation phone consultation. Call (513) 399-8806 or contact us online today.
How Foreclosures Work in Ohio
Ohio homeowners are protected by a federal law regulating when foreclosure proceedings can begin. In most circumstances, a homeowner must have delinquent mortgage payments for more than 120 days before a foreclosure notice can be served. This gives you valuable time to pursue loss mitigation options, such as a loan modification to refinance your mortgage.
Seeking loss mitigation, also called foreclosure alternatives, is critical during this 120-day waiting period. If you apply for relief, your mortgage servicer cannot deliver a foreclosure notice unless your situation meets certain conditions, even if you are more than 120 days delinquent on your payments.
Your mortgage servicer cannot attempt to begin foreclosure proceedings after 120 days until the following conditions are met:
- The homeowner rejects an offered loss mitigation plan
- The homeowner fails to meet the terms of an agreed-upon loss mitigation plan
- The mortgage servicer denies the request and the resulting appeal period expires
Once the above criteria have been met, your mortgage servicer can file for foreclosure. However, you still have the opportunity to request a foreclosure alternative if proceedings have begun. In fact, the mortgage servicer cannot request a foreclosure sale or judgment from a foreclosure court if you file a request for loss mitigation more than 37 days before a foreclosure sale.
If your mortgage servicer chooses to initiate foreclosure proceedings, you will likely receive formal notice of a lawsuit in the form of a summons and complaint. In most cases, you will have 28 days to file your response to the legal team of your servicer, and an additional 3 days after that to alert the court. If you fail to respond or file in court, your mortgage servicer can obtain a “default judgment,” which means they automatically win the lawsuit. This can mean you lose your home to a foreclosure sale, so it is critical to respond to any formal summons promptly. Our Cincinnati foreclosure lawyer can help ensure your documents are filed correctly and before they are due.
If you do properly file a response to the summons, your mortgage servicer will likely seek a summary judgment, which asks the court to rule in their favor since there is, in their view, no dispute of the facts of the case. A foreclosure court case can quickly become a formality if the judge grants summary judgment, but even in this worst case scenario, forcing the servicer to seek summary judgment versus default judgment buys you valuable time to raise funds or otherwise strategize on how to avoid a foreclosure sale. The judge could deny summary judgment, consequently requiring a trial: This also buys you time, and you will greatly benefit from an experienced lawyer representing you in court.
Should the court ultimately rule in favor of the mortgage servicer, they will have your property appraised. In the state of Ohio, a property cannot be sold for less than two thirds of its appraised value in a foreclosure situation. Ample notice of the date, time, and location of an impending foreclosure sale will be given for 3 weeks via listing in a well-circulated newspaper in the county in which the property is located.
At the specified time, date, and location, the mortgage servicer will conduct its foreclosure sale of your home. In many cases, no one will show up to bid on the property, forcing the servicer to make what is called a “credit bid,” which is usually equivalent to the amount you still owe on the mortgage. In doing so, the servicer takes possession of the home and effectively “owns” it via credit.
What is important to remember is servicers, typically banks or other financial institutions, do not find repossessing homes via credit bids to be an efficient use of resources. They do not want to be forced to use their own credit to repossess a home. Servicers would instead prefer some financially advantageous resolution be found with you, the borrower.
How to Stop a Foreclosure Sale in Cincinnati
One option in avoiding many foreclosures is through reinstatement, in which you must repay all delinquent mortgage installments plus any associated fees. This can be useful if a reorganization of your finances or new income gives you the liquidity to effectively “catch up” on your mortgage, after which you can resume paying scheduled installments as defined in your mortgage agreement. Ohio has no law requiring reinstatement, but many mortgage agreements do allow for the option. Even if yours does not, many mortgage servicers will agree to reinstatement if it is requested. Again, servicers would prefer to not have to go through foreclosure: They are primarily interested in being paid what was originally agreed upon.
Ohio law does allow homeowners to redeem a foreclosed property at any point before a foreclosure sale is confirmed. While reinstating only resumes the existing payment schedule for a mortgage agreement, redeeming involves paying off the entirety of the mortgage, plus any fees, all at once. This may not be practical for you unless you unexpectedly receive a great deal of money (such as financial assistance from a parent), but it is an option.
Chances are, however, that you are facing financial difficulties if you have fallen behind on your mortgage in the first place. Drawing out the foreclosure process can give you time to raise funds, but if a foreclosure sale of your home is imminent and you do not have the resources to reinstate or redeem the property, you are not out of options.
Filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often used to discharge certain types of debts by those experiencing financial problems, but it also grants the filer an “automatic stay” from a bankruptcy court. An automatic stay halts all collections actions against the filer, including foreclosure. This means if you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy before the foreclosure sale, all efforts regarding the foreclosure will be halted. You will still need to repay some obligations regarding your mortgage in some situations, but it will stop you from losing your home in the short-term.
The Southard Law Firm, L.L.C. Can Help Save Your Home
If you have been served or are anticipating a foreclosure notice, you may be struggling to understand what is required of you and the deadlines involved in addition to fearing for your and your family’s future. Arthur Southard empathizes with these concerns and is prepared to help you explore all of your options in keeping your home. Our team is intimately familiar with the state of Ohio’s foreclosure systems and can use that knowledge to better advocate for you. Our Cincinnati foreclosure attorney can represent you in negotiations with your mortgage servicer, offer guidance and help strategize during each phase of the foreclosure, and help you understand how to exercise every legal tool available to you.
Make sure you have the legal representation you and your home deserve. Dial (513) 399-8806 or contact us online today.