Foreclosure Process in Ohio

Complaint

Upon receipt of the foreclosure referral package, the loan title policy is referred to our title company to be updated. The update will reveal any liens or restrictions and parties with record interest in the property subsequent to the original mortgage deed. When the updated title search is received, the Complaint is prepared, naming all parties with a record interest in the property as defendants.

The foreclosure complaint is filed with Court of Common Pleas for the county in which the property is located. A summons is also submitted to the clerk at the time of filing. The summons is issued either to a private process server to effect personal service upon the defendant(s) or will be served by the clerk via certified mail, or both. If service is not accomplished over any defendants after the exercise of reasonable diligence, service may be obtained by publication. An affidavit for service by publication is filed with the court and legal notice published once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property is located.

Judgment

Each defendant has 28 days after service of process in which to file an answer or otherwise plead to the Complaint. The last publication date is considered the date of service for this purpose. The only exception is that the United States of America has 60 days in which to file their answer when named as a party defendant.

If the defendants fail to file an answer within this time period, a Motion for Default Judgment is filed with the Court. An oral or non-oral hearing may be scheduled according to the local rules of that jurisdiction. In the event the primary defendants are in default for failure to answer or otherwise plead to the complaint, judgment by default may also be taken although other defendants may be of record.

In those cases in which the primary defendants have filed an answer to the complaint, a Motion for Summary Judgment is filed together with supporting affidavits and a ledger history of the account. Once again, depending upon the local jurisdiction, an oral hearing may be required by the Court. Most local rules allow the defendants 30 days in which to file a brief in opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment. In such a contested case, the final Decree date may be delayed as long as three to four months depending upon the complexity of the defenses raised.

Reinstatement

There is no statutory right to reinstate although the right to reinstate may be controlled by the terms of the mortgage or VA and FHA regulations. The mortgagor is usually permitted to reinstate the loan at any time up to the foreclosure sale by tendering all past due payments, late charges and attorney fees and costs of suit. The right of reinstatement terminates after sale.

Sale

After entry of the Final Decree of Foreclosure, a praecipe for Order of Sale is filed with the clerk of the court, requesting that the sheriff be directed to set a sale, to advertise, appraise and sell, at public sale, the subject property. The sheriff first appoints three disinterested fee holders in the Court to set an appraisal for the property. The sale is then advertised in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for three consecutive weeks prior to sale.

The sheriff conducts a public sale at the county Courthouse, and the property is sold for a bid of not less than two-thirds of the appraised value. The plaintiff may submit a bid through counsel in the full amount of the indebtedness or any lesser amount within this range.

After sale, the Court reviews all proceedings involved in the case to ensure they have been regular in nature and according to law, and if all matters are in order, the Court confirms the sale. In most counties, the plaintiff must make a motion for confirmation. Confirmation of Sale may take one week to one month, depending upon the county.

Redemption

Although there is no statutory redemption period after sale, the mortgagor may exercise the equitable right to fully satisfy the mortgage and redeem the property at any time prior to the confirmation of sale. The sale is not considered final until it has been confirmed.

Conveyance & Final Title

The foreclosure attorney must prepare a deed and deliver it to the Sheriff within 7 days of the confirmation of sale. The purchaser has 30 days from the date of sale confirmation to make payment in full of the purchase price. The Sheriff must then record the deed within 14 business days of the purchaser making payment in full.

If the property is to be conveyed to a governmental agency or any party other than the plaintiff, an Assignment of Bid may be executed and presented to the sheriff or other sale officer in order to obtain a deed conveying directly to the designated party. After receiving recording approval, the deed is sent for recording and the client advised on the day the deed is actually recorded. The final title policy is ordered and forwarded to the client or grantee with the original recorded deed upon receipt.