Unlike bears, the real estate market doesn’t head into hibernation with winter’s arrival.

Though the Chicago area real estate market traditionally slows as Mother Nature unleashes her wintry wrath upon the region, there are always people moving, relocating, and actively looking for homes regardless of the season. In fact, those trekking through cold temperatures, snow, and other frosty conditions to view properties tend to be some of the most motivated buyers – and that’s an undeniable positive for sellers.

If you’re selling your home this winter and are eager to move onto your next destination, stand out from the crowd and corral one of those motivated buyers with these savvy tips:

Be prepared. Rather than lamenting the inevitable slowdown in traffic that winter will likely bring, adopt an opportunistic approach and consistently put effort into distinguishing your home from others on the market. Don’t discount any showings and be prepared at every turn to highlight your home’s best attributes.

Keep up the cleanliness and staging. As winter’s elements can make it tough to gauge the home’s exterior, the interior of the home becomes that much more relevant and critical. Apply key staging principles, such as decluttering and removing as many personal items as possible, so prospective buyers see a clean home and one they can envision themselves inhabiting.

Leverage the season’s strengths. The winter months conjure up thoughts of warmth and family. Don’t run from those good vibes. Kick on the fireplace. Deck the halls, albeit tastefully. Light candles. Stage a board game on the kitchen table. Create an inviting, joyous, and warm atmosphere that makes your house feel like a home.

Light it up. With sparse daylight hours, the winter months can be dark and dreary. “Manufacture” light by switching both interior and exterior light bulbs to a higher voltage and turn on the lights during showings. This will create brightness and vibrancy amid an otherwise drab time of the year.

Be an accommodating host. The winter can bring nasty weather, so be mindful of catering to buyers’ needs. Prioritize accessibility by keeping walkways and driveways clear of snow and ice so buyers can safely enter the home. Inside the front door, provide a place for visitors to hang coats and offer a seat for guests to remove wet shoes and boots.

Showcase what can be enjoyed. If a foot of snow covers the ground, that outdoor patio, big backyard, or colorful garden will be – quite literally – buried. Combat this by displaying photos of the home’s exterior features and amenities that shine during spring, summer, and fall.

With some thoughtful planning and earnest commitment, your home can shine during the winter months and win points with prospective buyers. Do that, and you might be well on your way to life’s next adventure.