In this second article in my series on foreclosure, the sequence of events in the foreclosure process is described along a timeline. Those facing foreclosure understand how serious a matter it is. To ensure the homeowner is given due process, a timeline identifies the length of time the homeowner has to respond to the lender’s claim that the homeowner is in default on the mortgage loan.
Each state determines the number of days allowed between each of the significant markers in the process: delivery of the demand letter, filing of the foreclosure complaint, filing for a summary judgment, scheduling of the sheriff’s sale, the sheriff’s sale, sale confirmation and the eviction from the home. The timeline for Ohio, is located at www.savethedream.ohio.gov/images/workshopchart.png.
The homeowner is delinquent the first day the mortgage payment is late. If you know in advance you are not going to be able to make a full mortgage payment on time, contact your lender and begin discussions to deal with the situation.
Day 16 to day 30
Late fees are added to your already overdue mortgage bill. Each lending institution determines the amount of the late fee and this should be listed on your mortgage contract.
Day 45 to day 60
The servicer of your mortgage (this is an entity that you mail your payments to and is to make sure payments and possibly property taxes as well are correctly credited to your account), sends you a “demand” letter informing you that the terms of your mortgage have been violated. The servicer of your mortgage may be different from the institution that loaned you the money to purchase your home. By this time your next mortgage payment has come due and delinquent debt is adding up.
Day 90 to day 105
After you’ve missed three payments, your mortgage servicer refers the loan to its foreclosure department and hires a local attorney or other firm to start foreclosure procedures. At this time, a formal notice of foreclosure is filed at your county’s Common Pleas Court. You must be notified of this filing within 45 to 60 days.
You should have an attorney at this point, if not sooner. You must answer the summons within 28 days. In your answer you may dispute the facts as presented if you feel the servicer is incorrect. If you do not reply within the 28 day window, the servicer can ask the court for a summary judgment and move right into the sheriff’s sale, thus, answering the summons slows down the foreclosure process.
Day 150 to day 195+
The homeowner and the lender may try to make changes to the mortgage contract that enables the homeowner to make mortgage payments in a lower amount. If not, a sheriff’s sale will be scheduled to sell your home. A sheriff’s sale is a public auction. At the time of the sale you are not required to leave your home. Once the home is sold, the sheriff has 60 days to inform the court of the sale. The court then has to confirm the sale within 30 days. The time between the sale and the confirmation is called the “redemption period.”
The redemption period could be as long as 90 days and as short as a few days. During the redemption period, the former homeowner has the right to repurchase the home and is responsible for any costs incurred through the foreclosure process. Once the sheriff’s sale has been confirmed, the homeowner must vacate the home. The time between the confirmation of sale and the date when the homeowner must move out of the home varies by county.
Now it’s clear why the foreclosure process timeline can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances of each situation. Next time the series will outline what the homeowner should do when they receive notice of a foreclosure notice or filing.
Melanie S. Hart is a Family and OSU Extension Greene County Consumer Sciences Extension Educator at and guest columnist.