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The threat of foreclosure is one of the greatest fears of a homeowner with mortgage troubles. There are ways to avoid foreclosure, but not every option is the right choice for every homeowner.  Your situation is unique and requires an individual assessment of debt-relief opportunities that will allow you to take control of the situation before it is too late. This is best provided by a professional experienced with foreclosure avoidance programs and options.

The skilled and seasoned Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that financial problems can happen to even the most well-intentioned people.  We believe that it pays to be knowledgeable about foreclosure avoidance options to increase the chances of keeping your home. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your entire financial situation and determine which debt-relief solutions will work best for you.

Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation.

Sources of Mortgage Problems

Your current mortgage problems may have come about for reasons such as:

  • A decrease in income because of a layoff, a business downturn or a medical crisis.
  • The rising cost of living or accumulation of other types of debt, such as credit card balances and medical debt.
  • Mortgages that contain high-risk features such as adjustable interest rates, that have dramatically increased payments.

Once your mortgage is in arrears for more than a month or two, you need personalized advice to find your best options for preventing foreclosure.

Evaluating Your Options

When faced with foreclosure, there are many options, from letting the house go to filing for bankruptcy.  When evaluating options, you should first be aware of your financial situation.  Since mortgage terms differ, look at your mortgage papers and find out just what your terms are.  Find out whether or not your loan is insured or guaranteed.   Examine your income and do a monthly budget to understand whether you will be able to meet payments in the future.  Know whether your current financial difficulty is just temporary or will persist into the future.

Options may include:

1) Reinstatement – While Ohio law does not recognize a right of reinstatement, your loan papers may provide for doing so. You can stop the foreclosure by bringing the loan current by paying:

  • past due principal and interest payments,
  • escrow shortages,
  • late charges, and
  • attorney’s fees and costs related to the foreclosure.

2) Mortgage Refinance or Mortgage Modification — Loan modification, if available and applicable for your circumstances, can lower your interest rate and/or monthly payments.

3) Special Lender-Specific Options – These may include:

  • Direct negotiations with your mortgage lender to obtain a legally binding agreement allowing you to catch up with mortgage payments
  • Legal challenges to the lender with the help of a foreclosure defense lawyer
  • A decision to allow foreclosure to take its course, with legal advice and a plan to manage this process with the least amount of stress

4) Save The Dream Ohio — If you were laid off or disabled on or after January 1, 2014, and are eligible for unemployment or disability benefits, you might qualify for up to $35,000 to bring your delinquent first mortgage current and make your mortgage payments for as many as nine months.

Foreclosure Procedures

If you are facing foreclosure in Ohio, you must go through the courts. After you are more than 120 days delinquent, your lender will file a foreclosure summons and complaint.  Ohio does not require lenders to give you notice before filing, but your mortgage loan agreement may do so.  Check your paperwork to see if it requires a Notice of Default or Time to Cure which can allow you time to bring the loan current by paying all the past due payments and charges before the bank can foreclose.

Summons — The court then issues a summons that contains instructions as to when and where to file an answer and other important information, including copies of your promissory note and mortgage. If the court has a foreclosure mediation program, there will be information on how you can participate. Ohio mediation may be a good alternative to litigation if you wish to keep the home, have a short sale, or explore other options.

Answer — You have 28 days from the date that you are served with the summons and complaint to send your answer to the foreclosing creditor’s attorney, and then three days to file your answer with the court. If you disagree with the allegations or discover the creditor has failed to include necessary documentation, you can say so in your answer.

If you do not file an answer on time, the court may grant a default judgment against you. If you need more time to respond to the complaint, you can request that the court grant you an extension.

Pre-trial — After you file the answer, you will have at least one pre-trial hearing or status conference to discuss the issues with the judge and the bank’s attorney. The lender may request a summary judgment, settling the case in their favor, which you are allowed to oppose. If there is no summary judgment, the case will go to trial where you will have to prove your defense with documents and witnesses. If the lender gets a judgment for foreclosure, procedures to sell the home will begin. You have a right to redeem your house in foreclosure (pay off the mortgage loan and fees in full) until the sale of the house is confirmed by the court.

Bankruptcy Can Stop Foreclosure

Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers many homeowners an opportunity to keep their homes while repaying back mortgage payments with the least amount of worry. Filing bankruptcy can immediately put a stop to foreclosure.  Even if a sheriff’s sale is quickly approaching, our attorneys can work immediately to stop it and get a real solution underway instantaneously.

Contact Us Today

The experienced Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer know that, despite their best efforts, too many people wind up facing foreclosure, and we can help.

We recognize that everyone’s individual situation is different, so we offer a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION to evaluate your entire financial situation and make sure you are aware of all your options. We will examine your income, your debts and your goals and help you find the best and most affordable path to a brighter financial future.

If you’re having difficulty paying your mortgage or you’re facing foreclosure notices on your property, contact one of our offices in Columbus, Dayton or Cincinnati by email or by calling 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati).

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