Ohio homeowners got a bit of good news this week, as RealtyTrac released its midyear foreclosure market report. In the Buckeye State, the foreclosure rate fell 13 percent from 2013. That is fantastic. But those owning homes in Ohio are still at higher risk than most of the rest of the country when it comes to the threat of losing their homes.

Ohio is ranked sixth in the country for foreclosure rates, at 0.69 percent of all homes falling under a foreclosure filing.

According to Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, trends are still not exactly in vulnerable homeowners’ favor.

“There continue to be concerning trends in some states and local markets that clearly indicate those markets are not completely out of the woods when it comes to the lingering foreclosure problem left over from the housing bust,” he said. “… it’s important that any remaining foreclosure infection is addressed promptly to keep it from festering … “

With the fear of foreclosure comes the risk of falling victim to scammers and identity thieves. So, while the numbers of those who find themselves in such a position are falling, the need for prudence in seeking assistance has not.

Legitimate housing and financial counselors could help Ohioans continue to reverse the foreclosure trend. Counselors are available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, at, or through the Homeowner’s HOPE hotline at (888) 995-HOPE.

But if anyone offers to negotiate changes to financial arrangements, or claims to be able to help, provided they receive additional information, be cautious in the extreme. The best plan is to remain in contact with your mortgage lender early and often.

Many Ohio families continue to struggle, even as the situation appears to be improving slowly and unevenly. Those who reach out for help must be certain they are working with someone who will not turn their struggles into a crisis from which it could be difficult to recover.