If you're facing foreclosure in Ohio, you don't simply send the keys in and move out. There are several tactics that you can use to delay what may feel inevitable, and luck may be on your side if the bank cannot prove ownership. However, some of the remedies are harsh and require a strong backbone; they may also cause long-term damage to your credit -- or bank account.
Properly file a written answer to the notice of legal action in the court system. In Ohio, answering in writing forces the lender to ensure that it's following "due process," according to Ohio real estate expert Andy Morris.
Ask the court to reappraise your home if the sheriff's appraisal is inaccurate. Be prepared to provide proof that your home was improperly appraised.
Apply for a mortgage loan modification or forbearance plan, or both. A loan modification will lower your payments, usually by reducing the interest rate or extending the term. Forbearance is a temporary halt to payments; the missed payments are added to the principal.
Request foreclosure mediation. In Ohio, mediation is provided by a neutral third party who attempts to resolve the dispute. It's available throughout the state. Read the Ohio Supreme Court's website to review the program rules.
Present an offer to the lender and notify the court. Although many lenders will continue foreclosure proceedings anyway, it may postpone the foreclosure and buy more time in the house. Do not present an offer unless you actually intend to sell, either with a private investor or via short sale.
Challenge the foreclosure in court with an experienced attorney. According to Andy Morris, there are "100 ways to delay foreclosure" [sic] that can keep a family at home for months, if not years.
File for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy automatically stops all collection and foreclosure activities, but this choice is a choice of last resort. If you want to keep your home, file Chapter 13. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be allowed to work out a repayment plan, though strict rules apply. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will most likely be forced to sell your home to repay the debt. Be advised that your credit -- severely damaged already if you're in foreclosure -- will be affected for 10 years, and bankruptcy may affect your ability to get a job at high-paying levels or in certain industries.
If you opt to challenge foreclosure in court, be prepared to pay hefty legal fees.
Do not attempt to delay foreclosure by offering to sell if you don't actually intend to do so; this is fraudulent, and may result in criminal prosecution.
- If you opt to challenge foreclosure in court, be prepared to pay hefty legal fees.
- Do not attempt to delay foreclosure by offering to sell if you don't actually intend to do so; this is fraudulent, and may result in criminal prosecution.
Lisa Bigelow is an independent writer with prior professional experience in the finance and fitness industries. She also writes a well-regarded political commentary column published in Fairfield, New Haven and Westchester counties in the New York City metro area.