Has the Spring Market Sprung in Orland Park?


Has the Spring Market Sprung in Orland Park?

Joe and Mary sold their house in December. They’re ready to buy. They’re looking for a ranch. They’d like a ranch with at least two and a half baths, basement doesn’t need to be finished and they’re not opposed to doing some updating. We’ve seen the few that have come on the market, but there have only been a few and none of them have been quite right.

Joanne is on the internet all hours of the day searching for townhouse possibilities. Joanne wants to downsize, she’s looking for a ranch townhouse with a basement, preferably a three bedroom but if the layout is right and has enough space she’d settle for two. But even if Joanne finds the townhouse of her dreams, Joanne still has a house to sell.

Don and Alice have a gorgeous house that’s ready to go on the market but they’re waiting to hear from the builder with the target completion date for their new house that’s being built.

Bob and Shirley are ready to jump on a house in the community they’ve been scouting for months. As soon as they find it and buy it they’ll put their perfect location house on the market.

This is a partial picture of my spring market. Orland Park is just one town, I am just one agent but from my vantage point, the spring market hasn’t sprung.

The numbers tell the same story. The market’s been steady, but we are a seasonal market and it’s still early. This year from January 1st until February 17th 104 properties have gone under contract. Compare that to the 182 properties that went under contract from March 1st through April 17th of last year and you see our spring market isn’t in full swing. We’re at least a couple of weeks away.

Maybe the weather needs to warm up some, maybe a daffodil or two will push us along…or maybe…

The spring market needs Pink so we can get this spring market party started.


Who’s Pink?

Do you have an Orland Park ranch with two and a half baths that you’d  like to sell this year?  If you do, you’re Pink and if you’d get your house on the market, I’ll be over with Joe and Mary in a jiffy.

Do you have a spacious two or three bedroom townhouse with a basement? If so, you’re Pink and if you’d get your two or three bedroom Orland townhouse on the market that would light a fire under Joanne’s butt to get her house on the market.

Are you a builder with a presold house under roof? If so, you’re Pink and if you’d call those buyers with a target completion date then they like Don and Alice could get their gorgeous sell in a blink Orland Park house on the market.

Do you have a great house in a fabulous high demand community? If so, you’re Pink and if you’d just get your house on the market Bob and Shirley would jump on it and then they’d be ready to put their perfect Orland Park location house on the market.

Are you Pink? If so, everybody’s waiting…the spring market will not have sprung until you arrive.

Are you Pink? Give the Amy Curtis Group a holler…let’s get this party started!

Word Wednesday: Window Treatments

win-dow treat-ment


Interior decoration for a window or window frame

When we went under contract on the house we were buying, that’s when the dreaming began…

What furniture would go where what colors we’d paint each room and lots of dreaming about window treatments.


I collected all sorts of ideas on a Pinterest board.


I was dreaming about window treatments because the window treatments that were staying with the house were less than my heart’s desire.

Some houses have beautiful window treatments.


Some houses have such lovely window treatments buyers want them included in their purchase of a house.

So how exactly does it work with window treatments when it comes to the sale of a house? What window treatments stay? What window treatments does a seller take with them?

On the contract I use it looks like this:

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 8.33.53 AM
The contract is clear. “All window treatments and hardware”

And with most of the window treatments in a house, it isn’t a problem because…

Realistically, would a seller remove mini-blinds? Plantation shutters? Would they remove the vertical blinds from the sliding glass door? Probably not.

How about an elaborate cornice and drapes in the dining room? The removal of a cornice and elaborate drapes attached to the wall would leave holes a seller would need to patch and paint.  Given the elaborate window treatment was custom made with the exact measurements of a particular window, what would be the sense in taking it along? It’s not going to fit any other window as perfectly as the window it was made for. So a seller probably has no intention of removing it, it stays not because the contract says it should, but because removing it doesn’t make sense.

The second bedroom with the Thomas the Train curtains that match a child’s comforter? Does a buyer care whether the seller takes those? I’m thinking no, because really what are the chances the buyer had Thomas the Train curtains in mind for the windows anyway…what the are the chances Thomas the Train curtains are the window treatments the buyer has been dreaming about and pinning on their Pinterest board? Pretty slim.

In most cases, with most windows and their treatments there isn’t a problem.

Problems can happen with the beautiful window treatments. The window treatments the buyer and seller both think are beautiful and both want. The buyer wants them to stay and the seller had no intention of leaving them behind.

A real estate transaction is stressful, even a smooth transaction has its stresses and bumps along the way. The last thing anyone needs is a bump that could have been avoided. The last thing anyone really wants is a real estate transaction to get derailed over some window treatments. It can happen, but it shouldn’t.

Window treatments are avoidable bumps. The contract is clear: “All window treatments and hardware.” Any interior decoration and the hardware holding it up, according to the contract, stays. If, as a seller, there are window treatments you want to take with you it’s important to make that known to prospective buyers from the beginning. Remarks in the MLS can express your intent. “Dining room panels do not stay” “Curtains in the second bedroom do not stay,” Or to avoid any possible window treatment bump you could remove those window treatments you want to take with you and replace them with something you’re happy to leave behind.

Window treatments.

We closed on our house without such a bump…

They aren’t my heart’s desire, but I’m glad they left them behind. I’m still dreaming.


Window treatments.

The Amy Curtis Group is adept at avoiding bumps and reducing the stress of real estate transactions, give us a holler.

Word Wednesday: Love

Love – noun

10. Strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books

9. Affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one’s neighbor


Photo by Laura Briedis on Unsplash

You can’t tell clients… “ I love you.”

I mean how weird would that be???

A professional relationship involving a big real estate transaction, one with legal documents and financial ramifications, a commission paying for services rendered…

“I love you” doesn’t fit.

Start dropping “I love you(s)” and a real estate agent might quickly find herself doing no realestating at all. Because “I love you”? That’s just too darn weird, right??


I am fortunate to love the work I do. Yes, being a real estate agent is hard and can be stressful, and unless you’re a super big producer the erratic income can add to the stress of the job. But I love the work…”strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything”…I love being a real estate agent.  I once wrote a post explaining why…

Top 10 Reasons I Love My Job


Anyone that knows me knows I am a person of feels…sometimes it feels like a curse, but it’s just the way it is. I am a person of feels; people move me. Their joys, sorrows, dreams, disappointments, fears, hopes…I can see them and feel them.  

Puts me in quite the predicament doing this real estate gig, because real estate is personal business. I mean, I sell houses but those houses are attached to people and their personal stories, and those stories are filled with the joys, sorrows, dreams and disappointments, fears and hopes I can see…

Young couples in love, starting their journey together, finding their first home…

Retired couples selling the home they’ve lived in for 30 years, the bittersweet process of letting go and moving on…

The still grieving adult child selling the home of the parent that’s passed away…

The family of four soon to be six busting at the seams of the house where their family began…

They slay me.

And I’m just there to do a job…get a house sold or help them buy the new one…but being one cursed with the feels, in the process of getting the house sold or finding the new one, those clients of mine get under my skin and make their way into my heart. My clients move me. You could say I feel affectionate concern for their well being.  

And that, according to the dictionary…is love.

Weird, isn’t it?


What to do?

On any other day I’ll bite my tongue, keep my weird hidden from view…but it’s Valentines’ Day so…I’ll just go ahead and tell the truth…

I love you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Amy Curtis Group is skilled at big real estate transactions, we are professionals, we also get choked up and hug at closings, we won’t weird you out by saying “I love you” but we do. When we can be of help, give us a holler.

Word Wednesday: HVAC

HVAC:  Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning


The house we bought a couple of years ago was built in 1963.


I fell in love with the house the moment I  walked in the front door, it had me at hello.
Before I’d even made my way through the entire house or seen the backyard I’d  already imagined myself living there…knew where I’d put our couch and bookcases.


The furnace and air conditioning weren’t as old as the house, still, they were ancient. But I was already a goner by the time I  saw the green rusty monstrosity that was the air conditioner. I saw the house in the summer, the house was cool enough, the air conditioner WAS working, but darn, it looked like it was on its last leg. Learned it was installed in 1986. It was working, but for how much longer?



No one looking at houses falls in love with a heating ventilation and air conditioning system. The HVAC is one of those after the fact things…irrelevant if you don’t care for the house, or a thing to contend with if you have indeed fallen in love.

The HVAC is one of those things that make the lovestruck buyer squeal in delight if they discover its relatively new…what great news! Love the house and the furnace is new!

If it’s old or ancient as was the case with the house that had already become the object of my affection…it’s a how do I deal with it??

What’s a buyer to do??

Decide if it’s a deal breaker.

Maybe you don’t love the house quite that much, maybe one of the others you’ve seen are lovable and have newer systems.

Ask that the seller replace it.

In my experience this doesn’t happen. But hey…you can ask.

Recognize a new HVAC system is in your sooner rather than later future and consider your offer price accordingly.

Sellers most often say, “it’s older but working fine, we’ve never had a problem with it.” But sellers, realistic sellers, know an old furnace and air conditioner are going to be an issue for most buyers and will take it into account in negotiating.

Cross your fingers and hope it keeps working.

If you go this route you’ll want to be sure to consider accumulating some savings for the day it goes kaput, because it will.

Request a home warranty from the seller or purchase one yourself.

A one year home warranty buys you time to save, and buys peace of mind too. If the furnace or a/c goes out during the coverage period, the warranty will cover much of the cost of replacement.


My house had me at hello. I was a goner. The HVAC wasn’t a deal breaker…and the sellers gave me the answer I most often hear, “it’s old but working fine.” They weren’t replacing it…heck, they didn’t even give it consideration in our negotiations, they didn’t care about their ancient furnace and air conditioner, and I guess I didn’t either. I wanted the house. In the end, they did agree to the home warranty. It was enough to have me squealing with delight…love the house, the HVAC is ancient, but there’s a warranty!!


Postscript: The warranty coverage period outlasted the ancient a/c…the house now has a new air conditioner…and the warranty covered most of it…squeal!



The Amy Curtis Group specializes in helping folks buy homes that have them squealing with delight…give us a holler!


Word Wednesday: Downtown

down-town:  the main business section of a city.

Ask me where I’m from, and I’ll say, “Chicago”. And being from Chicago, “downtown” should be downtown Chicago.

“From Chicago” is the answer I give to someone who has no idea where Orland Park is…because really…I’m from Orland Park.

And the truth is…in “downtown Chicago” I’m as much a tourist as someone visiting from Detroit or Boston or King of Prussia the suburban town outside of Philadelphia. I too enjoy visiting downtown Chicago…

but downtown Chicago isn’t “my downtown.”

I’m drawn to the “downtown” of smaller towns, Chicago suburbs’ downtowns. Those parts of town that were there from the town’s beginning. Those areas near the train, a couple of blocks with the older storefront buildings with apartments up top. The streets with little shops, restaurants, and businesses and the neighborhoods of homes that surround them. Those are “my downtowns.”

Orland Park, the town I’m from doesn’t really have a downtown. Through intentional development, it’s sort of being created. But Orland Park does have Beacon Ave.



The block of antique and consignment stores…vintage salt and pepper shakers, antique tablecloths and mid-century glassware…treasures abound on Beacon Avenue.

Beacon Avenue is also home to my favorite building, the old Orland State Bank Building.

I love that building. I remember the apartment my brother lived in on the top floor of the building…long after it was a bank and before it became Kay’s Old Orland Marketplace. It was a great apartment and the rooftop was the perfect place to lay out in the sun.  The old Orland State Bank building is Orland’s downtown to me.

Lemont has a downtown…

I live in Lockport now…it has a downtown.  A stroll down State St and downtown Lockport will keep you happily busy for an afternoon or evening. The Gaylord Building, Betsy’s Yarn and Tea Shop, Embers…I’m still learning “my downtown“.

Tinley Park, Mokena, and Frankfort have vibrant small town downtowns..and LaGrange’s has such a popular bustling downtown they built a parking garage to accommodate its daily visitors.

Chicago is a beautiful city, with an incredible downtown and if you’ve never been or don’t go very often, you should. It really is an incredible city.

But my downtowns? You won’t find The Bean in my downtowns, can’t see the matinee of Hamilton, or see Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte or take an elevator to the top of the second tallest building in the United States either…but “my downtowns” are pretty cool places to be. Restaurants, shops, and awesome architecture can be found in each…art, live theatre, and summers full of fairs and festivals too. Downtown in suburban towns have so much to offer. 

Turns out, as beautiful and popular a real estate destination downtown Chicago is, most buyers still choose the suburbs. Downtown in suburban towns is a real estate destination too and offers a myriad of possibilities to call home.

If you’re looking for a place in the city, I know some great agents…but if you’re thinking home is in or around “my downtowns,” give me a holler…the Amy Curtis Group would love to show them off to you!


Can Jake Buy a Place?

Meet Jake.



Jake is a 25-year-old college graduate, he has a decent job. Jake has some student loans he’s paying off. Jake lives with his mom and dad but he’d like to move out, get a place of his own. Jake might get an apartment but he wonders if he could buy a place.
Should Jake rent an apartment? Can Jake buy a place?

I’m not sure.

But I  know Jake should give me a call.

Yes, I’m a real estate agent and yes I earn a living, get paid, make money when I close deals. I am paid when the apartment is rented or a home is sold. But Jake doesn’t have to be definitely renting or buying anything to give me a call…because I’m also a help Jake figure it out resource.
I can help Jake figure out what he can do, what makes the most sense.
I could introduce Jake to Pam.
Meet Pam.


Who’s Pam?


Pam is a VP of mortgage lending with Guaranteed Rate. Pam’s smart about “buying a place stuff.”  She’s super nice and works with a lot of people like Jake.


Pam would help Jake figure out if he can buy a place.


The ability to get a mortgage basically depends on three things:  Credit score, Income, and Debt.

Sounds simple enough, but those three factors combine in a variety of scenarios. Toss in the different mortgage products available,  add some college debt and available grant programs for first-time homebuyers and the whole thing can get kinda complicated.

Jake doesn’t know all that stuff. I don’t know all that stuff. But Pam does. And Pam can help Jake figure it out.
Nearly forty million people move each year. Six and a half million are about the same age as Jake. With so many people moving each year you’d think moving was a really simple thing. But moving makes the top ten on every list of life’s most stressful events. For most, moving is a big deal.


I suppose Jake could google his way out of his parents’ house. There’s not a thing he couldn’t find about renting an apartment, getting a mortgage or finding a place somewhere online. But when it comes to a big deal like moving human help is helpful. Human help takes some of the stress away. Human help has experience, knows the questions to ask, sees the big picture. Human help has your back, human help means you’re not alone with the big deal of moving.


Maybe Jake can buy a place. And maybe he can’t. Maybe Jake should rent an apartment. Or maybe Jake should stay where he is for another year and save a little more money, or pay off some of the student loans. What I know is, Jake doesn’t have to figure it out alone.

Maybe you have nothing in common with Jake but a desire to maybe get a place of your own.

My advice: Call a real estate agent…start there. A good agent will help you sort through it. Nearly every agent I know would be happy to help Jake. Every agent I know has a Pam.


Nearly every agent I know is like me, Amy.


Meet Amy.


amy curtis

Who’s Amy?

Amy is a help you figure it out real estate resource.

Give her a call.


The Housing Market Has a Heart as Cold Winter


I am SO done with this winter.

I’m done with hats and gloves and my expensive North Face parka that doesn’t keep me any warmer than my less expensive parka did. I need this winter to end; I need my chapped lips and dry cracked hands to heal. I don’t want to leave my kitchen faucet dripping so my pipes won’t freeze.I don’t want to buy any more salt.  I want to hear some birds chirp, I want to see a daffodil. I don’t want it to be below zero, I don’t want it to snow, I want this winter to be over, I need it to end.

It’s March. March weather in my hometown is never perfect. March usually means gray skies, chilly temperatures, highs  in the 40’s. It’s not beautiful, but there’s usually a sense that spring is just around the corner. Not this year. This year it’s polar vortex, this year, if it’s not snowing, it’s freezing. This year it’s the winter that just won’t go away…and I’m just gonna lose it.

As I look out the window and see the seventy-fifth inch of snow start to fall, one thing is blatantly clear…what I want and need just doesn’t matter, I don’t control the weather.  All the wishing, hoping, complaining, wanting and needing won’t change a thing. I better  just grab my hat, gloves and not warm enough parka, bundle up and deal with it.

You’d never know it by the weather, but  the spring housing market is underway. With the spring market comes a whole new batch of home buyers and sellers…and often they come to the market with  wants and needs regarding home values. It usually goes something like this…

“I need X for my house because I owe Y on my mortgage.”

“The house is worth more, but I need to get the house for X, I’ve only been approved for  Y.”

“I want X for my house because I want to put Y down on my next house.”

You get the idea.

With their wants and needs regarding home values, buyers and sellers want to control the ” weather”. It’s as fruitless for them as it is for me.

The market, not buyer or seller wants and needs, determine property values. The market delivers its weather in the form of supply and demand, closed comparables, appraised values, motivation of the competition. The market doesn’t care what a seller owes, or what a particular buyer has been approved for. A buyer wants this, a seller needs that? The market couldn’t care less. The market has a heart as cold as this never ending winter.

Buyers and sellers have to recognize that they participate within a market they have no control over. They can make the best of it, put their best foot forward in it, they can push it to its limits, but they can not control it or change it.

Like me, buyers and sellers need to bundle up and deal with it.

What does that mean?

For buyers,  bundling up means having that preapproval letter ready, making a realistic offer with attractive terms, maybe even including a heartfelt letter to the seller.

For sellers,  bundling up means having your house in tip-top shape, making the small improvements your agent and stager suggested, it means presenting your property in its best possible light to the widest audience and it means pricing it appropriately for the market.

This winter WILL come to an end, birds will chirp and daffodils will bloom…but remember the market’s heart…it’s cold, no matter the weather.

Bundle up!