Sitting squarely between the sweltering days of summer and our famous Chicagoland winters, fall is an opportunity to really get to work on your home, both inside and out. This transitional season is the perfect time to repair any damage that may have resulted from the summer’s hot weather and severe storms — while also getting your property ready for everything that winter might send our way.
Curious what repairs, renovations, and maintenance projects you should focus on this season? Here are 15 helpful home projects to tackle this fall:
1.) Clean Your Gutters and Spouts
Falling leaves and other debris can clog up your gutters — causing blockages and damage during some of the wettest months of the year. Early in the fall, check your gutters to make sure that they’re flowing properly. Get rid of any blockages, and consider investing in gutter-covers or shields to help prevent further buildup. Make sure that your downspouts are attached properly, and make sure that all water is draining away from your home’s foundation. For a fun green project, look into installing a rain barrel. This easy-to-install DIY system allows you to collect rainwater, preventing excess runoff and giving you a reliable supply to use for your lawn and garden.
2.) Clean Off Your Patio or Deck
As the weather cools down, it’s time to say “goodbye” to your outdoor living spaces — at least for now! Sweep and wash your patio or deck, polish up your railings, and clean your outdoor light fixtures. Meanwhile, bring container plants indoors, and cover up or remove your outdoor furniture and decor. Cover your grill for the season, and clean all of the grime and gunk off of your outdoor tools and appliances before putting them back into storage. For a bigger project, consider staining and resealing your deck before winter settles in. This can help prevent rotting and damage to the wood, and increase the longevity of your deck.
3.) Weatherize Your Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are some of the biggest sources of heat loss during the winter months. During the fall, check for drafts and gaps in your windows and doors. You can seal up gaps with caulk, and add weatherstripping to minimize the amount of air that gets in and out. Depending on the age and quality of your windows, it may also be time to think about an upgrade; consider replacing any broken windows or outdated single-pane models with newer, more energy-efficient styles.
4.) Tackle Those Last Minute Painting Projects
Have a painting project you’ve just kept putting off? Autumn may be the perfect time to get it done. With cool, sunny days, this is one of the last opportunities to open your windows and ensure proper ventilation while you work — whether you’re making little touch ups, or painting an entire room.
5.) Check Your Insulation and Seal Up Gaps
Frosty winter weather can take a serious toll on your property, drive up your energy bills, and cause serious health effects — especially if your insulation is not up to snuff. During the fall months, work with a professional to examine the insulation in your attic and basement. Seal up any cracks where air is escaping, and consider upgrading or beefing up your insulation.
6.) Service Your HVAC Systems
When was the last time you had an experienced professional examine and service your home’s heating, ventilation, and cooling systems? Ideally, homeowners should aim to have their HVAC systems inspected and tuned up at least once per year. The fall months can be a great time to schedule this appointment, as it gives your technician the chance to survey any wear or tear that may have come up over the summer, while also getting your home ready for winter. Meanwhile, there are some simple DIY tasks you can take to help protect your HVAC systems during the fall months, including changing out your furnace filters, bringing your window air conditioning units inside, and clearing away overgrowth and debris from your outdoor pumps and units. This may also be a prime opportunity to look into green updates you can make to your HVAC system, such as installing an energy-saving programmable thermostat.
7.) Get Your Lawn and Garden Ready for Cold Weather
If your lawn and garden are your pride and joy, remember that the work you do in the fall can seriously pay off come spring. Take some time to fertilize and aerate your soil. Add mulch to insulate your garden, and trim back overgrown or damaged bushes and trees — before heavy winter snow can cause further damage. Rake up leaves on a regular basis throughout the season. As the weather cools down, turn off and cover your outdoor spigots, and take some simple steps to protect your outdoor irrigation system. Look for gaps or cracks in your hardscaping, such as your driveway or any pathways around your property; minor cracks can turn into chasms during a freezing winter, so work with a professional to get them repaired while you can.
8.) Check Your Alarms and Change Your Filters
As you get ready to set your clocks to “fall back” this season, think about all of the other projects you should take on regularly throughout the year — including checking and changing the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, changing your air filters, or running a test of your home security system.
9.) Inspect Your Roof
Summer thunderstorms can cause serious damage to your roof, and winter weather can quickly turn small problems into major disasters. The fall shoulder season is a great time to work with a roofing expert to look for damage, including leaky spots or sagging supports. A professional can repair or replace damaged or missing shingles, and help make sure your roof is sealed tight and structurally sound before heavy winter snowfall comes our way.
10.) Bring Your Floors Back to Life
A summer outdoors means lots of chances to track mud and grass onto your floors. As you start to get ready for the cooler months, think about how you can bring your floors back to life. Now is a perfect time to shampoo your carpets and rugs, when you can still open up the windows and allow for proper ventilation. If you regularly clean your hardwoods with a dry brush or mop, now may be the time to treat them with a bit of wood cleaner or a fresh sealant. You can also polish up the tile floors in your kitchen and bathroom, making sure to get into the grout and cracks for a truly spotless finish. And while you’re looking down, use a clean cloth to wipe away dust and scuff marks from your baseboards and trim.
11.) Protect Your Plumbing
More time spent indoors means more work for your home’s plumbing system. Take some time early in the fall to look around your home and repair any dripping faucets or running toilets — which can each cause thousands of wasted gallons each and every year. Look for water damage or wet spots, as these could be a sign of leaking pipes or water intrusion. Consider upgrading your showerheads or faucets for newer, more efficient low-flow fixtures. Finally, take some steps to winterproof your plumbing. Wrap up your water heater and any exposed pipes to prevent freezing and increase efficiency, and consider setting your water heater’s temperature a few degrees lower.
12.) Stock Up On Supplies for Winter
Do you have everything you need for a safe and comfortable winter? Autumn is a great time to check your supplies, and stock up on all the things you may need. In addition to cozy blankets and chic winter decor, spend some time inventorying and restocking your winter emergency preparedness kits. Aim to have one kit in your home and one in your car, each well-stocked with supplies you may need in a winter storm, including batteries, first aid supplies, and more. Check your snow removal equipment and shovels to make sure they’re still functional, store some dry firewood, and make sure your vehicle has windshield wiper fluid and plenty of air in its tires.
13.) Take Care of Your Houseplants
Houseplants are a welcome addition to any home. They help provide a chic finish to a room, and can offer some real health benefits in their own right. Of course, remember that your plants need a little care to stay fresh and healthy — especially when your indoor air gets dry and dusty during the fall and winter. Be sure to gently wipe down the leaves on your houseplants to get rid of dust on a regular basis; you can also clean off some of your heartier plants in the shower or bathtub.
14.) Get Rid of Clutter Around the House
Tired of the same old, same old? One of the best ways to refresh your home is to get rid of unwanted clutter. This way, you can enjoy a fresh, clean space as you hunker down during the fall and winter months. Work room by room and go category by category, dividing up items based on what you want to keep, what you should throw away or recycle, and what you can donate. Once you’ve gotten rid of some clutter, look into fun organization and storage solutions to manage what you’re keeping — and look for Chicagoland charities and organizations that can help make sure your old items go to a good cause.
15.) Perfect Your “Work From Home” Setup
This fall, people around Chicagoland will be thinking of how to be productive and focus while working and learning from home. Take some time to set up a home office or classroom space. Find a quiet area with a steady internet connection and a simple background perfect for Zoom calls. Keep your workstation organized and clutter-free; bundle up your cables; and keep your electronics clean and free of dust and grime.
Ready to Make the Most of Fall in Chicagoland?
The cool, golden days of fall are a great opportunity to focus on your biggest home goals.
As the largest independent and locally owned real estate brokerage in Chicagoland, the Baird & Warner family has earned success by always putting our clients’ needs first. With sales, sales, mortgage and title services all under one roof, our One-Stop Shop can transform an intricate, complex process into one that is smarter and more seamless from beginning to end.
Looking for ways to enjoy all that autumn in Chicagoland has to offer? Ready to start your search for a new home this season? While it’s hardly business as usual, we know that the Chicagoland real estate market is still strong. The market is moving — and if you’re ready, you can too.
Watch Catherine Leonard, designated managing broker of the Evanston office, on episode 10 of Your Competitive Edge with Baird & Warner. In this episode, Catherine dives into how your brand is more than a logo and how you can turn it into something that actually sets you apart and drives your business. She also shares her experience in choosing Baird & Warner and how you can leverage our tools and culture to make your brand stand out.
At Baird & Warner, we’re all about giving you the competitive advantage — and we’re showing the world what that means with a 12-part video series with Inman. Each video will feature individuals from our company talking about topics such as training, culture, technology, sales strategies, and our one-stop-shop approach.
Work with people who can help you really succeed. Join us. It’s easier here.
The keys are in your hand and the movers are all gone. Now what?
While moving can be incredibly exciting, we know it also comes with some challenges. Settling in and really starting to feel comfortable in your new space is not always easy, and there may be an adjustment period. For some people, feeling right at home takes no time at all; for others, it may take days or even weeks.
As you move in, one of the biggest things to focus on is making sure that the space feels like yours.
Your first few weeks in a new house or apartment are a wonderful chance to add some personal touches, get in the swing of things, and make the blank space feel more like a home. (more…)
Whether you live in a classic Chicago bungalow or a sprawling suburban home, the reality is that everyone could do with a little more storage around the house.
Fortunately, there are all sorts of ways to add space-saving storage solutions to your Chicagoland home — from trying a creative DIY hack to rethinking the layout of some of your most-familiar rooms.
Looking for some clever ideas? Here are seven impactful ways to upgrade your home’s storage — and make sure you’re getting the most out of your space: (more…)
There’s nothing quite like fall in Chicagoland. As the weather turns crisp and cool and the leaves start to turn orange, neighborhoods across our area come alive with fun things to see and do.
As we get ready for an autumn like no other, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy all that the season has to offer — while staying safe and comfortable, at every step of the way.
Looking for a little autumn inspiration this year? Here are 10 fall activities perfect for the whole family to enjoy together:
1.) Embrace the Season With Your Decor
While it can be a bit sad to say goodbye to the warm and sunny days of summer, fall is a great chance to refresh your home decor, inside and out. Break out your coziest blankets in the living room, embrace your favorite fall colors on your patio or deck; and get creative with your tablescapes and centerpieces in the kitchen and dining room. The whole family can get involved by picking out their favorite pieces and making the whole home look picture-perfect.
2.) Enjoy a Slice of Pie or a Cup of Coffee from a Local Spot
When many people think of fall in Chicagoland, their minds immediately go to one thing: food. In our area, autumn weather calls for cozy, delicious treats, from sweet pies to pumpkin lattes to creamy hot cocoa. You can find your fall favorites at local restaurants all around Chicagoland. To get your search started, check out TimeOut Chicago’s guide to the area’s best pie shops. To find restaurants near you open for takeout and delivery, explore with Dining at a Distance or this interactive map from the Chicago Tribune.
3.) Head Out Into Nature
To enjoy the best that fall in Chicagoland has to offer, be sure to spend some time in the great outdoors — while following proper public health and safety guidelines. Look for trails and greenspaces in your neighborhood; enjoy a day on the farm at one of Chicagoland’s sprawling orchards or pumpkin farms; or set up your backyard for games, stargazing, or a relaxing evening around the firepit.
4.) Tackle Your Home To-Do List
With the scorching days of summer in the rearview and a cold, windy winter ahead, fall is a great time to focus on your home. In addition to raking your leaves and protecting your lawn and garden, consider making time to weatherize your windows and doors; make minor green upgrades around the house; service your HVAC and plumbing; and plan for all the DIY projects and renovations you’ve been dreaming about for months.
5.) Enjoy Some Quiet Reading Time
When you could use a break from your screens, try cracking open a good book! Whether you revisit a classic or find something new, autumn is a great time to catch up on all the books left over from your summer reading list. Curl up on the couch with your favorite blanket; customize a reading nook for your little ones to enjoy; or relax outside in the afternoon sunshine.
6.) Get Crafty With Autumn-Themed Projects
The fall months are a perfect opportunity to start picking up a new skill — or diving into an old family favorite. Look for seasonal arts and crafts projects your whole household can enjoy together, like leaf pressing, painting pumpkins, or making decorations from pine cones and other natural elements. Prepare for the frosty winter to come by knitting or crocheting a blanket, scarf, or hat; pick up your favorite musical instrument; or break out your easel to paint a serene autumnal landscape.
7.) Start Putting Your Oven to Work
After laying dormant for the summer, now is the time to take advantage of the cool weather and head back into the kitchen. Cooking is a fun, relaxing, and educational experience that people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy together — so start baking up your favorite muffins and pies, crank up the stovetop for hearty and filling soups, and look for healthy, family-friendly recipes to prepare in the oven.
8.) Show What You’re Thankful For
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, fall is a great time to start thinking about all the things that bring you happiness and joy. There are all sorts of little ways to come together and share the things you’re grateful for — from writing down a personal list each day, to sharing stories and memories around the dinner table, to working on fun projects like building a gratitude tree or making a collage from newspapers and magazines.
9.) Make Your Own Haunted House
For many people, fall in Chicagoland means that it’s time to gear up for Halloween. And while haunted houses and costume parades may not be as easy this year, there are still lots of ways to bring some classic Halloween fun home. For movie buffs, dark fall evenings are the perfect time to revisit all of your favorite horror flicks, or find a family-friendly option to help celebrate the season. You can also work on fun and immersive craft projects that can bring the feeling of your favorite haunted houses inside — like whipping up artificial “Frankenstein ears” and “mummy toes” in your kitchen, or having a family costume contest.
10.) Bring In Your Favorite Fall Scents
For a true fall experience, just follow your nose. There are lots of easy, affordable, and creative ways to fill your home with your favorite fall aromas. Purchase scented candles or learn how to make your own. Experiment with your favorite seasonal essential oils, like lavender or cinnamon bark. Create a simmer pot to fill your kitchen with fresh seasonal fragrances, or bake up an autumn classic like cookies or pie.
Ready to Make the Most of Fall in Chicagoland?
This is the time to remember what’s truly important — health, family, and the bonds that tie us together. Whether it’s now serving as a school, office, playground, or simply a safe space, our home has never been more important. We know this is as well as anyone. At Baird & Warner, Chicagoland has been our home since 1855.
Looking for new ideas to embrace the beauty of autumn in Chicagoland? Ready to start your search for a new home in the months ahead? Whatever your real estate goals may be, we get you — and we’re here to help make things easier, at every step of the way.
Our collaborative culture is a huge part of why our agents are so successful. Especially now as many in our company continue to work from home, we know that staying connected and transparent is crucial to giving agents the kind of support they need to keep growing their businesses.
That’s why at the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns, we began hosting bi-weekly virtual meetings with Steve Baird and the rest of the company. Our “Baird Briefings” are a way for Steve and other leaders throughout the company to connect and share company news, market advice, and encouragement directly with our agents and employees. Every session ends with Steve responding to questions from anyone in the company.
In a recent briefing, Steve shared how proud he was at how our people across the company were quick to deal with the uncertainty of the past six months. “Seeing our people at all levels of the company jump in and figure out what to do in an unstable environment reaffirms just how solid they truly are.”
And as many of our agents face uncertainty because of unrest in the city or concerns as the pandemic continues, Steve has offered confidence in Chicago’s resilience and our ability to continue to meet challenges as individuals, as a company, and as a community.
“I have so much respect for our company and what we’ve built — I know that we can deal with anything. Whatever’s happened in the last 165 years, we’ve been able to adjust and it’s because we have really great people who are well-positioned to meet the needs of our customers.”
Whether it’s pivoting to move our entire training program online, continuing to bring in industry experts for exclusive virtual events, or staying connected and transparent — we make sure our agents have everything they need to be successful.
Join us — it’s easier here.
With many school districts here in Chicagoland and around the country set to start the year with remote learning, now is the time to make sure your home is truly ready for your students to head back to class — at a distance.
Whether working on a group project with friends or taking notes on a lesson over video chat, kids and young adults are going to need spaces of their own to focus, learn, and create this fall.
Looking to get over the “back-to-school” rush and help your little ones make the most of their virtual class time? Here are five important ways to help create a home learning environment that is comfortable, functional, and ready to help your family start the school year on the right foot: (more…)
You’ve cleaned, decluttered, and reorganized — now, what should you do with all of the unwanted items that you’ve unearthed around your home? The Chicagoland area is full of many unique organizations that will accept a wide variety of household items, allowing you to give away the things you no longer want or need while making a major difference in our community.
Finally ready to part with that old couch, or the car parts taking up space in your garage? Have a pile of arts and crafts supplies that could go to a new home? Ready to downsize, or clear out space before a new construction project? (more…)
If you’re thinking about a career in real estate, the first thing you’ll need to do is take prelicensing classes and pass the licensing exam. We know that can be a challenge when you’re already working full time, going to school, or maybe you just don’t feel comfortable sitting in a classroom setting right now. We get it.
Our prelicensing real estate courses are designed to set you up for success from day one — that means flexible courses that fit your schedule and an exam pass rate that’s higher than the national average. While we’re still offering our accelerated in-person classes (following all CDC safety guidelines, of course), we also offer virtual hybrid classes and 100% online options.
Our hybrid course is a combination of online and virtual in-person learning. You’ll meet twice a week with an instructor and have self-study assignments in between. That means you get the best of both worlds — the flexibility to learn when it’s convenient for you and the invaluable face-to-face interaction with an instructor. This course includes the most resources and materials, so you have more practice and support to pass your exams and start your career.
But if you need maximum flexibility and thrive with self-guided learning, we also offer a 100% online course option. This broker prelicensing topics course lets you learn at your own pace and complete the work on your schedule from the safety and comfort of your own home. Not only that, but it’s the most affordable of our course offerings.
At Baird & Warner, we know getting your license is a big investment of time and money — that’s why we make it easier for you to get licensed and start your exciting career in real estate. Check out our upcoming course schedule and enroll now!
We know how important it is for you to have a team of leaders you can trust and a brokerage you can rely on for growth and stability. While other brokerages have frequent turnover and managers who are stretched too thin trying to cover multiple offices, we make sure the agents who join us can count on us to be there for them.
Our leadership team is made up of people who truly understand what agents like you need to be successful, and they’re committed to providing the very best tools, resources, training, and support to make it happen. And they don’t disappear when things get difficult — you can count on our leadership to help you meet challenges head on.
But it’s not just leadership — every office has a dedicated noncompeting manager you can depend on for coaching and guidance. They’re handpicked from our own ranks of experienced, high-performing agents so they truly understand what you need. And, since our managers don’t sell, they’re focused entirely on using their expertise and training to coach agents and help them grow their business.
On top of all this, our long 165-year history has given us the experience and expertise no other brokerage can offer. We know how to overcome difficult times, and we know what agents need to succeed. We’ve been doing this since 1855 and we’re here to stay. Join us — it’s easier here.