Your answer is correct on many fronts but please let me correct a few points:
1) The Lake County Board of Review (BOR) will NOT accept a market analysis from a Realtor as evidence. Also, I don't know about you, but I would feel bad wasting a Realtor's time without compensating them in some way.
2) A lot of people do not have the time you discussed to do the research and attend appeal hearings. Also, it is very intimidating and scary to defend your "evidence" in front of the Assessor and the BOR when you are not exactly sure what they are looking for. I still remember my first time in front of the BOR...I was shaking and sweating trying to counter their arguments!
3) As I mentioned in point #2, the BOR is VERY strict on what they consider to be a comparable. This is probably the biggest problem when it comes to appealing with the BOR. A home that you or I would consider comparable is many times not accepted by the BOR due to their very strict guidelines. In my opinion this is the most difficult aspect of the process.
4) There are also multiple ways to appeal your assessment and the comparable sales method you mentioned is just one way. As experts in the field, we will look at all the options (even the more difficult ones) to see which method will achieve the largest reduction for our client.
Your post makes some very good points (about being respectful and such), but it also points out one of the big problems of the internet...taking advice from anonymous strangers! The process of appealing your assessment is not rocket science, the same way that filing you taxes is not rocket science. I know I pay an accountant good money every year to complete my taxes for the IRS (when I could do it myself) but I have to invest almost no time or effort and I know it is being done correctly. My accountant is also aware of loopholes and exemptions that I am not and I am a true believer that he pays for himself in what he saves me. That is no different than what Lake County Appeal does for our client's property tax appeals. Our upfront fee is very small and we only charge a percentage of what the client saves! There is very little, to no, out-of-pocket expense (you only pay a percentage of your savings) and our clients tell us it is well worth not having to spend the time and energy of going through the process not knowing if they are even doing it correctly. I guess it depends on the individual...if you have more than enough time (reading the 14 pages of rules, driving around to do research, calling Assessor's Offices, filing your appeal, driving to Waukegan to defend your appeal, etc.) you MAY be up for trying it on your own but I can assure you that we have thousands of satisfied client's that tell us everyday how much more successful we were than their friend that tried it on their own. My clientâ€™s get to be more productive making money instead of wasting their time doing all of this work not even knowing if they are doing it correctly. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
If you are interested in our services, please visit our website for more information and to contact us. Also, I would like to remind you of the coupon code TRULIA which will lower your up front Complete Assessment Review fee to only $55. I wish everyone the best of luck no matter which route you try!