Selling your Chicagoland home in the winter can present challenges, but it can also offer unique opportunities. Cold weather and a lower volume of both buyers and sellers can make selling a home difficult. However, home sales don’t stop altogether during this time of year. Family circumstances or a new job may make a winter move necessary, and with the current Chicagoland market there are still buyers on the market looking for a new home.
Making your listing stand out from the crowd is particularly important in the colder months of the year. A lower volume of buyers makes it all the more important to make sure each impression counts. Staging your home may seem like an unnecessary expense, especially when added to the costs of moving and buying your next home, but according to data compiled by HomeAdvisor, staged homes spend an average of 33 to 50% less time on the market, and sell for up to 20% higher, than non-staged homes.
What Is Home Staging
When a potential buyer evaluates a new home, it’s important that they can picture themselves being at home there. Empty rooms can seem smaller than they are, and buyers may have trouble picturing how furniture items may fit and flow, particularly in awkward spaces. On the other hand, too much clutter can make even a large property feel crowded and small, and too many personal items can make it difficult for buyers to picture themselves starting a life in a new space. A properly staged home will emphasize the property’s best features, while making it possible for new owners to picture themselves making the space their own.
Home staging can cover a number of different approaches and levels of investment, ranging from simply removing personal items and rearranging existing furniture to hiring a professional stager who will recommend repairs, help you rent furniture and accessories, and decorate your property to its fullest potential. If you’re making the leap to a full staging, your agent or broker can be an excellent resource to help you make the best choice in the area. However, if you want to try your hand at staging your home yourself, there are a few tips and tricks to help you show off your property in a way that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Think About Curb Appeal When Staging
Winter can be a tough time to think about showing off your home’s outdoor features. Harsh weather, storms, and unpredictable conditions can make it tough to show off your home’s exterior features. But cleaning out gutters, keeping walkways clear of ice and snow, sweeping or raking leaves and branches, and adding pops of color in the form of potted plants or hardy winter varietals can be a great way to make your home stand out to potential buyers.
If your home needs cosmetic exterior fixes, or even just a fresh coat of paint, this is the time to make the effort. Buyers may not notice specific improvements, but they will notice a home that feels well-maintained and inviting versus one that has been affected by the elements.
Set A Seasonal Mood
Inside, it’s important to convey a sense of warmth — literally. Turning up the heat, starting a fire in the fireplace, and setting out baskets with cozy blankets and pillows can make your home feel warm and welcoming without seeming overly cluttered. Pleasant scents like cinnamon or mulling spices can also enhance a potential buyer’s opinion of your home, especially when the weather outside is cold and unwelcoming. A bit of seasonal decoration, such as a wreath or holiday lights, can also make your home seem festive, but be careful not to go overboard — like personal photos or art, too much holiday decor can make it difficult for visitors to picture having their own holidays in your home.
Use Home Staging To Maximize Light
Shorter days and stormy weather can make even the brightest home feel a bit darker and less welcoming than usual. Opening up blinds and window coverings can help, but bringing in more artificial light is also a wise choice when you can never be sure what the outdoors will have on offer. Adding additional lights, using brighter light bulbs, and choosing light, bright colors for decoration will help to make your home brighter and provide a welcome contrast with gray, stormy weather.
Consider A Deep Cleaning
With more light, small flaws will be more apparent to potential buyers, and can undo your careful attempts to make a great impression. Consider painting walls and baseboards that may have become dingy or dirty, make sure windows are clean to maximize light, and, if you can, invest in a deep cleaning to make sure dust, cobwebs, or wear-and-tear aren’t influencing your potential buyers’ opinions of your space.
Make A Plan For Winter Gear
Nothing can undermine a careful staging plan more quickly than water and grime tracked in from the outdoors. Make sure your own winter boots, coats, and hats are stored out of sight, and make a plan for visitors’ wet shoes and coats. Having extra mats inside and outside, along with a place to hang up wet coats and winter wear can help keep your home looking its best, even during a stormy winter open house.
When Home Means More, You Need a Team With More to Offer
Ready to get some help with your winter home sale? Need advice on staging, or referrals for Chicagoland’s best staging, cleaning, and home repair providers? Your local Baird & Warner agent is here to help make the journey easier from beginning to end.
Home is about so much more than just four walls. Buying or selling a home is a big deal, and our homes have never been more important. That’s why your local Baird & Warner agent is with you at every step of the way, with the tools and support you need to make your real estate journey easier — including in-house connections with local experts in mortgage and title.
So whether you’re looking for your starter home or you’re ready to move on to one with more space for the perfect greenhouse, your Baird & Warner agent can help you through every part of the buying and selling process.