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Residents losing homes at record pace despite foreclosure decline

Although reports show an overall decline in new foreclosures in the state, a homeowner in Hamilton County facing financial challenges might not be breathing a sigh of relief. Other reports put Ohio ahead of all other states number of homes taken by banks following foreclosure proceedings.

Bank repossession of homes in the state was up by more than 50 percent during the first quarter of 2015 as compared to a year ago. Experts attribute the increased taking of homes by mortgage lenders to a slow foreclosure process that is just now catching up with foreclosure actions started in prior years. 

Ohio, unlike some states, uses a judicial process for foreclosure proceedings. A mortgage lender must obtain court approval before it can take the home of a mortgage borrower who has fallen behind in making his or her payments on a mortgage or home equity loan.

For the family losing a home to a mortgage lender due to a default in mortgage payments, the event can be a devastating reminder of the serious consequences of unemployment or a decrease in income. Some homeowners may not realize that options exist that might help them to stop foreclosure and save their homes from repossession.

Some individuals might benefit from filing for bankruptcy before a mortgage lender takes their home. A bankruptcy results in an automatic stay that puts a halt to collection efforts by creditors while the bankruptcy is pending. A bankruptcy attorney might review the financial circumstances of a mortgage borrow and offer suggestion to prevent foreclosure and help to resolve the financial challenges the person is facing.

Source: Columbus Dispatch, "Ohio led nation in bank takeover of homes in first quarter," Mark Williams, April 17, 2015

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