Why Didn’t My Home Sell?

I’ve been having conversations with frustrated sellers. Sellers frustrated because the home they listed last year “expired” without a sale. And each of those frustrated sellers wants to know:

Why didn’t my home sell in 2017?

This is the question many homeowners ask themselves, and it’s what they ask me.

It’s worthwhile to talk about it here….

Inventory is low. The market is strong.  You have a great house. You dream of where you will go next. You put your house on the market and…it doesn’t sell.


I can’t immediately be sure, but these are questions to consider:

When did you put your house on the market?

Timing can be everything. There are ebbs and flows to the housing market. If you put your house on the market during the “ebb” your house may have gotten lost in a market of higher inventory and lower market activity.

What was your competition?

Every house will either sell itself or help sell the neighbor’s house. How did your house stack up against the competition? Did your house appear to be a good value or did it give the impression another home was a steal?

How was your house presented?

Did you see your house online? How were the photos? Did your house attract the attention it deserved? The online presentation of a house is critical. More than 90% of homebuyers are searching online. Professional photography is a must in today’s market, a picture is worth a 1,000 words…did your photos “say” all the right things?

Was your house market ready?

No house is perfect. Every buyer is going to want to make some changes to a house when they buy to make it their own, but the key is to have your house “ready” enough the changes can be at the buyer’s leisure not mandatory before they even move in.

The reason for a house not selling can be found in the answer to at least one of those questions.

I’m having conversations with frustrated sellers because they still have a desire to move. But most of the folks I’ve been talking to are hesitant to try it again. They’re not sure they have it in them to put up with showings, to hope their home will sell, to dream about where they’ll go next.

And I get it. Having hopes dashed, it’s not easy to hope again.

I am the finder of silver linings and I’ll tell you what I tell them. Because there is a silver lining, there is good news.

The good news??

It’s not your first trip to the rodeo, you have experience now. You’ve experienced the market first hand and know more today than you did the first time you attempted to sell. You can consider the factors that prevented a sale with more clarity and adjust accordingly.

This time you’ll be ready like you weren’t ready before.

This time you’ll have the house ready for the spring market and the timing will be just right. This time you’ll consider the competition and commit to beating it, this time the photos will be beautiful and this time the house will be ready because you’ll have all those staging things done.

This time you’ll get everything right.


The Amy Curtis Group works with a simple equation: Homes well prepared for the market + Packaged Beautifully + Priced appropriately + Presented to the Widest Audience possible EQUALS  A home sold for the highest price the market will bear.

If you’re frustrated your home hasn’t sold in the past, let us put our math to work for you! Give us a holler.

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.

Your House is Ready for the Market… Are You?

Your House is Ready for the Market, Are You?


“All things are ready, if our minds be so.” William Shakespeare

Bob and Shirley are ready to move.

Their home is too much house and has too many stairs.

They’ve lived in their home for nearly 30 years. The house holds every significant moment and memory…

But they’re ready to move…they’re getting there.

Over the last several months they’ve been hard at work. Giving the house a fresh coat of neutral paint, making some needed repairs and updates. They’ve been going through 30 years of things…the things their girls left at home when they moved out…going through the things that once belonged to Bob’s mom…china, furniture, books and papers the things that made their way to Bob and Shirley’s house when Bob’s mom passed away.


It took time to sort through…the sorting through things was a task of memories. Memories of the girls’ childhood…the toys played with, the books read. Memories of mom and the china she loved to use for Sunday dinners. It took time to decide what to keep, what to get rid of…what to pack away, what to give away. It’s not easy…the sorting of things. They’ve gotten rid of so much still, for now, they’ve kept and packed some things they can’t yet part with.


Truth is the house looks great, photos could be taken tomorrow…they’ve purged and decluttered, they’ve painted and staged. The house could go on the market by the end of the week…the house is ready.


The house is ready, but Bob and Shirley still have some getting ready to do.

Selling a home, especially a home lived in for thirty years is as much an emotional process as it is a physical one. For Bob and Shirley, the physical work is nearly done…the house looks great, it’s move in ready but they still have some emotional ready to do.

What is emotional ready?

Emotional ready means you can see your house as property, not your home. Emotional ready means feeling though you’ve loved your home, you’re certain you no longer want it. Emotional ready is you are more excited about the next house and next chapter in your life than you are sad to say goodbye to the home you’ve loved.

And Bob and Shirley are getting there…

While they’ve been hard at work getting the house physically ready we’ve been working on getting them emotional ready too.

We’ve spent some time in the market…exploring the different possibilities that might be in store for Bob and Shirley when their house sells. Because being emotionally ready means you’re excited about the next chapter, so you need an idea of where that next chapter will take you. So we’ve had many possibilities to explore…houses and townhouses, houses close to where they live now and houses nearer to their daughter and granddaughter. Homes in 55 and older communities because maybe this next move should be a complete change of lifestyle, not just address. It’s work that can’t be done online…Bob and Shirley needed to get out and see possibilities in person, try them on, see if they fit…see if they could see themselves calling the possibilities home.

We’ve been at it for months and the result? Bob and Shirley will be buying a home in a 55 and older community closer to their daughter…when the right one comes on the market. It took us time to get to this community and we haven’t found the just right house yet but the process has been incredibly helpful in getting Bob and Shirley emotional ready. In discovering the community and seeing the options that exist they’re excited about the next chapter, the new lifestyle it holds for them and excited to find their new home. It will be easier to put their home on the market knowing where they’ll be going…they’re getting ready.

We already know a ballpark price for their home but before we put it on the market we’ll spend some time in the market again. This time we’ll be looking at the possibilities from the perspective of the potential buyer of their home. What choices will the buyer have? What do properties offer? How does Bob and Shirley’s house stack up? Do they need to do anything more to their house or reconsider pricing to win a buyer over?  The process will help them see their home as a property, one in competition with the other properties on the market. The home they’ve loved will become a property for the market’s consideration.


And once they can see their home as a property, once they are ready to say goodbye to the home they’ve loved, once they’re excited to get to that new community and the lifestyle it offers…it will have taken months…but they’ll be ready!


Being ready…a house being ready, a seller being ready,  is the surest way to a successful real estate experience…physically, financially, emotionally it’s most important to be ready.


Think you want to move?  Give us a holler…the Amy Curtis Group can help you get there…it’s one of the things we do best… we can help you get ready!


Lockport Market Watch 2017-Amy Curtis Group

I’ve lived in Lockport for 2 ½ years now.

I like it here.

I like that Berkot’s is just a couple of blocks from my house.


I like State Street, the architecture of the of the old buildings, and I like seeing the new businesses popping up and visiting the ones that feel like they’ve been here forever.


I’m close enough to all the places I need to be close to…Orland Park, my office, most everywhere I need to be is 20 minutes away. I’m minutes from 355, and if I want to get downtown there’s a train.


And my house…I do love my house. I still have to pinch myself, can’t believe the beautiful big picture window and the outdated kitchen with the mid-century vibe are really mine.  And the truth is, if my house were somewhere else it would most likely have been out of financial reach for us.


In just the couple of years that I’ve been here, I’ve seen a flurry of real estate activity…outdated homes coming on the market and selling quickly and months later returning to the market freshly updated and selling quickly again…


So this week as I’ve been diving deep into market numbers I wasn’t surprised to see the median price in Lockport increased by nearly 17% in 2017. With an increase of almost 17%, it outperformed other area suburbs. 



An increase in the median price doesn’t mean that all Lockport homes saw 16+% appreciation, but Lockport’s 2017 numbers speak to its appeal among buyers looking for the things I’ve happily found here:

Nearby conveniences.

Pretty cool little downtown area.

Accessibility to the train and expressways.

An affordable unique home in an established neighborhood.

A solid investment.

The market’s liked Lockport as much as I do!

Lockport by the numbers:

Closed Sales: 587


Months Supply: 2.8 months















Average Days on Market: 71 days

I’ve been diving deep into the numbers…and the stories they tell. Lockport’s numbers tell the story of some market love in 2017.

Curious what the market numbers mean for the value of your home? I’ve got those numbers too. Give me a holler!





















Word Wednesday-Photographs


A picture produced by photography.


I’m headed out for showings with buyer clients, we have six appointments. We’re in the car headed to the first house when the typical question arises, the one I always ask…

“What house are you most excited to see today?”


And as is typically the case, there’s one or two from the list of appointments we have set that’s generated the most enthusiasm.

The house or two that’s generated the most enthusiasm is the house that looked great online. The house that was captured in its best possible light. The house that was professionally photographed.

In all my years of asking  “What house are you most excited to see today?” Professionally photographed homes are picked most often.

The house with the dark photo of the dining room or the house with the photo of a bathroom with the toilet seat up or the house with a photo of the master bedroom where you can see the agent in the mirror with his iPhone taking the bedroom photo…

Those houses don’t make the most excited to see list.

Buyers are willing to see those houses, they’re just not excited about them.

When you’re selling your house, do you want your house to be one a potential buyer is excited to see or just willing to see?


93% of homebuyers are online looking for their new home.

How your home looks online matters.

Photographs “show” your house before you “show” your house. The quality of the photographs matters and nothing compares to professional photography.

Professional photography generates enthusiasm for a house. And enthusiasm generates good offers.

It’s really as simple as that.

Photographs…not just any photographs…professional photographs are a must.

A quick search of Orland Park homes priced from 200-300K produces 47 properties. Of the 47 properties, 17 have professional photographs.  I guess not all agents agree.

Will the house with the dark dining room photo sell? Sure it will…eventually, all houses do. Chances are a buyer will like the house when they see it in person on their way to see the house they’re most excited to see. But if you want to sell your home why leave it to chance?


The Amy Curtis Group has their clients homes professionally photographed. It’s a must.

If you’d like to learn how we get our sellers’ homes on the “most excited to see” list, give me a holler.