Chicagoland is famous for its legendary winters, which bring freezing temperatures, frequent snow flurries, and shorter days to the region.
As a result of the tough weather and the busy holiday season, the real estate market is often slower in the winter than in spring or summer — making it all the more important for sellers to make sure their property stands out.
Fortunately, while the weather outside may be frightful, winter in Chicagoland is also a chance to showcase a home at its most delightful, especially if you take steps to embrace the season in your staging. Here are seven simple ways for sellers to bring the sights, smells, and tastes of winter into a Chicagoland home:
1.) Pile On the Comfortable, Cozy Design
There’s something about the winter weather that makes coming into a comfortable, cozy home feel all the more special. Embrace this spirit, and take some simple steps to make the space feel extra warm and welcoming. You could load up sofas and chairs with extra blankets and pillows, using lots of wintery patterns and materials, such as fleece or flannel. Or you could embrace the hygge aesthetic, which emphasizes comforting, neutral colors; engaging textures like wood and leather; and lots of fun finishing touches, including candles, blankets, and houseplants.
To ensure that your wintertime visitors are comfortable, make sure that the entrance to the home comes complete with an easy place to take off wet footwear or slip into shoe covers, so you can help keep the floors and furniture safe from snow, ice, mud, and salt.
2.) Celebrate Wintertime Curb Appeal
Curb appeal really matters. In fact, a National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) report found that 99 percent of real estate professionals believe that curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer. 66 percent of NAR members also say that buyers tend to rank a home’s outer appearance as a “very important” factor when considering different listings.
Fortunately, there are many different ways you can create a “winter wonderland” right here in Chicagoland. Throughout the winter, make sure to keep walkways, driveways, and paths shoveled and free of snow. Find decorative flourishes that can add a pop of color, such as hearty evergreens in bright, appealing pots. And before the winter weather really settles in, make sure that the home’s exterior is ready for the worst of the season by cleaning the gutters, and taking some time to assess the home’s roof, patio, and foundation.
3.) Bring In Warm, Wintery Scents
Our sense of smell can be incredibly powerful, conjuring up memories of the past and helping a house feel more like a home. In fact, research has shown that there’s a powerful correlation between smells and sales; one study, for instance, found that shoppers tended to spend 31.8 percent more money in a home decor store that featured “a simple orange scent, rather than a blend of scents.” To help make your space seem all the more enticing, you can bring in clean, appealing winter scents, like citrus, vanilla, pine, or cedar. Get creative with how you bring in your favorite aromas. You could blend up your own “simmer pot” on the stove, or bring fresh fragrances in with candles, essential oil diffusers, or plug-ins.
4.) Bake Up Something Tasty
The smell of freshly baked goodies can help make a space truly feel like home, invoking warm memories and strongly appealing to the senses. Plus, having some fresh cookies, gingerbread, or pie cooling on the counter can give hungry house hunters something to linger over when they stop by for a showing. Even better? On a cold winter day, firing up the oven can help bring even more warmth into the space, helping put visitors at ease as soon as they step through the front door.
5.) Turn On the Heat
Coming into a heated home from blustery winds and heavy snow can feel like getting a big, warm hug. Throughout the winter, make sure you take steps to keep the temperature inside the home as warm and comfortable as possible. This way, you can encourage buyers to stay in the house for longer, while showing off the home’s ability to stand up to a tough Chicagoland winter. You can even use the cold weather as a way to highlight a home’s coziest features, whether that means a stately fireplace or a newly updated smart thermostat system.
6.) Layer In Seasonal Decor
Beyond the lights of the holidays, winter is a great time to cozy up at home, and many interior designers love to bring in new touches to help create a warm, comfortable atmosphere throughout the cold, dark winter months. Consult with your real estate professional and home staging experts, who can help you decide on chic, tasteful, and appealing interior flourishes, from earthy centerpieces, to festive wreaths, to throw rugs and accent pieces perfect for the season.
7.) Bring In Lots of Light
Here in Chicagoland, winter means that the sun often sets right around four in the afternoon. And even before that, winter days are often gray and dark, from morning to night. To help combat the winter doldrums, make sure the home is full of warm, inviting light. That may mean bringing in new lamps or light sources; cleaning windows and opening the curtains to let in as much sunlight as possible; switching out lightbulbs for brighter models; and making sure that the home’s light fixtures are polished and clean. In addition to helping potential buyers feel right at home, creating a cheery glow can help shine through to the street, adding one last flourish that can send the property’s curb appeal over the top.
Navigating the Winter Market
At Baird & Warner, we believe that selling a home should be easier — in the frigid days of winter, or the dog days of summer!
As the largest independent and family owned real estate brokerage in Chicagoland, we have earned the respect of the brokerage community by always putting our clients’ needs first and by making it easier to navigate the selling process, at every step of the way.
There is an art and science to selling your home. Our agents are hyperlocal experts who know the strategies that really work. They’ll work with you to help make sure your property stands out above any homes you’re competing with, using a mix of proven tools, technologies and techniques.