As the Olympics wind down, I can't help but question how subjective the judging is in so many sports - from synchronized swimming to gymnastics. Sure there are sports like pole vaulting or the marathon where the winner is pretty cut & dry. But the minute differences in the diving performances of the gold, silver and bronze winners are pretty hard to distinguish.
Real Estate Appraisers are a bit like Olympic Judges. They follow a set criteria and base their numbers on many factors which are well documented. But the ultimate dollar value they place on a property is still subjective. Typically the value of a property is indicated by the current market. The primary indicator is the sales price of similar properties in the same area.
But every home is unique (in condition, exact location, etc.), and that makes the appraisal process subjective. The only impartial appraisal is of exact properties - like brand new condos. And every day the market value of those can change with supply & demand, the local economy, mortgage availability, etc.
Like Olympic judges, sometimes appraisers are right and sometimes they're way off. Its probably best not to try to bribe either a judge or an appraiser (thought I don't have any experience with this). Unlike Olympic judges, appraisers don't typically wear blazers. But they do carry clipboards. And the Dallas appraisers I work with are usually pretty accurate. I'm not so sure about international judges.