Foreclosure FAQs
FAQ > Foreclosure FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions



A company says it will review my loan documents for a fee. Should I pay?

No. Never pay for foreclosure assistance—real help is available for free. Scammers might ask you to send money so that so-called experts can review your files. After you pay, however, you’ll receive a fake document that only looks as if it’s been filed with the court. For real foreclosure assistance, contact Save the Dream Ohio at (888) 404-4674.

A letter I received from the federal government says I need to pay or else I’ll miss out on special bailout funds. What should I do?

Don’t send any money. This is a scam. The government will never charge you money in exchange for foreclosure assistance.

An investor offered to buy my house and rent it back to me. Now the investor is asking for the deed to my house—should I give away my deed?

No. This is a foreclosure rescue scam. Despite the offer, the investor will never make payments on your mortgage loan, which still has your name on it. The bank will take foreclosure action against you and once the case ends, you’ll be evicted.

Are there federal programs that can help me?

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan may help you refinance or modify your loan.

How can I get a free copy of my credit report?

To get a free copy of your credit report, visit

How long does a foreclosure take?

In Ohio, the foreclosure process can take anywhere from six to 18 months or longer.

How long will a foreclosure action or bankruptcy stay on my credit report?

A foreclosure stays on your credit report for seven years, and a bankruptcy stays on for 10 years. The impact of both to your credit score will decrease over time. For more information about credit reports and your credit score, visit the Federal Trade Commission online here.

I rent my home and think my landlord is in foreclosure. Does the law protect me?

Tenants who live in foreclosed residential properties are allowed to stay in their homes until they are given at least 90 days advance notice to vacate, with the buyer as the new landlord. Moreover, if the tenants have a current lease, they are entitled to stay until their current lease expires, unless the buyer or some subsequent purchaser intends to move into the home and make it their primary residence – in which case, the tenants still must be given at least 90 days advance notice to vacate before they can be required to move out.

For more information, please visit the National Low Income Housing Coalition to access the Renters in Foreclosure Toolkit. Also, for any tenant who needs help in asserting their rights under the new law, the local legal aid program in your area may be able to provide legal assistance. To find and contact the legal aid program in your area, visit Ohio Legal Services or call (866) LAW-OHIO (529-6446).

If I’m in foreclosure, what help can I expect from my lender?

Your lender may be able to offer you one of the following (often for a fee):

  • Forbearance: A temporary reduction or suspension of your house payment.
  • Repayment Plan: A temporary increase of your house payment for a specific amount of time in order to catch up on missed payments.
  • Refinance: A new loan at a lower interest rate to reduce your house payment.
  • Mortgage Modification: A lower house payment achieved through a lower interest rate, a reduced principal amount or a longer term of your current loan.
  • Short Sale: Your lender allows you to sell your property for less than full payoff.
  • Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure: Your lender allows you to “give back” your property to satisfy your debt.

Should I pay a company to help save my home from foreclosure?

No. Do not trust companies that ask for money in exchange for helping you negotiate with your lender to save your home. This is a foreclosure rescue scam. Never pay for foreclosure prevention services. Real help is available, and it’s free. For foreclosure assistance, contact Save the Dream Ohio at (888) 404-4674.

Should I stay in my home if a foreclosure action has been filed against me?

Yes. Stay in your home as long as possible. Keep it in good condition. Some banks decide not to go through with a foreclosure action, which would mean you would still be responsible for your home.

What if I can’t get help from my lender?

Contact Ohio’s foreclosure prevention resource, Save the Dream Ohio, at (888) 404-4674.

What is foreclosure?

Foreclosure is the legal process a lender uses to take back a piece of property.

What is Save the Dream?

Save the Dream Ohio is the state’s effort to help Ohioans avoid foreclosure. This multi-agency effort offers free help. Call (888) 404-4674 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday to receive referrals to housing counseling, legal assistance and more.

What should I do if I get a certified letter from the clerk of courts?
  • If you haven’t paid your house payment, it is probably a foreclosure action. Open it and take action. Contact Save the Dream Ohio at (888) 404-4674 for help.
  • File a foreclosure answer. You only have 28 days to file an answer with the court, even if you are talking with your lender to work it out. Failure to file an answer will result in the loss of your home. An answer may be written in a legal document or as a simple letter.
  • Look for information about mediation in your court documents. If you don’t find any, ask the judge assigned to your case to refer your case for foreclosure mediation. Foreclosure mediation, available in every Ohio county, helps borrowers and lenders reach mutual agreement to resolve the foreclosure action. Find out more about foreclosure mediation. Get information for local court mediation contacts from the Ohio Supreme Court.

What should I do if I get behind on my house payment?

As soon as you know you won’t be able to make your payment, take the following steps:

  • Call your lender. Ask for the loss mitigation department. Be honest about your situation so the lender can give you the best options. If your lender does not help you, call Save the Dream Ohio at (888) 404-4674.
  • Stay in your home. If you leave your home, you may lose some of your rights. Also, vacancy can lead to vandalism, and you could be held responsible for those damages
  • Open your mail. Government and non-profit agencies may mail you information to help you keep your home.
  • Beware of scams. There are companies who will promise to help you for a fee, but often they take your money and do nothing. For more information or to report scams, click here or contact the Attorney General’s Help Center at (800) 282-0515. For referral to a government-approved housing counseling agency who will work with you for free, contact Save the Dream Ohio at (888) 404-4674.