Cuyahoga County's FitzGerald Raising Standards for Appraisers of Foreclosed Properties

In an attempt to clean house at the Cuyahoga County’s Sheriff’s office, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is changing the standards for contracted appraisers in the real estate unit.  In Ohio, the county sheriff’s office is responsible for overseeing the auction of foreclosed properties.

The Cuyahoga County sheriff’s office hires contractors to appraise the foreclosed homes to set the values for auction.  Former Sheriff Gerald McFaul was found to previously give many of these contractor jobs to his political buddies, some of whom did not even have appraiser licenses.

In order to meet requirements under the new rules, applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • 5 years experience as an appraiser
  • Ohio appraiser license preferred

FitzGerald believes that requiring Cuyahoga County appraisers to have experience will make the county’s foreclosed property appraisal unit the most qualified in the state of Ohio.  Ohio state law dating back to 1831 requires only that the appraisers be disinterested freeholders (property owners) in the same county.

So, what exactly does a county appraiser do?

When a property, home or building goes into foreclosure, the bank or lender is required in Ohio to ask a judge to order a sale at the public auction.  The appraiser then is called to survey the exterior of the foreclosed home, check the yard, and look in the windows.  They are not required to enter a foreclosed home unless a judge approves a mortgage lender’s request for an inside appraisal.

As the more and more homes have been foreclosed in Ohio, the county appraisal jobs have become more coveted as appraisers earn money from each appraisal done from fees that the foreclosing banks pay.

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