With home loan interest rates hitting historic lows this summer, buyers are ready to enter the housing market, and homeowners are considering whether they're prepared to sell. If you're thinking about selling, chances are you're also considering renovating. According to research by Zillow, almost 80% of sellers make at least one upgrade before listing.

The house facade refers to the exterior or front-facing part of the building. It is what people see from the street and typically includes elements like walls, windows, doors, roofing, and any architectural features or decorations. The facade plays a crucial role in the overall aesthetic and character of a house.

Various architectural styles and materials can create a unique and appealing facade. Some popular types include:

  • Traditional/Colonial: Often characterized by symmetrical designs, brick or wood siding, and gabled roofs.
  • Contemporary/Modern: Emphasizes clean lines and large windows and often incorporates glass, steel, and concrete.
  • Cottage/Craftsman: Known for its cozy and often intricate detailing, with features like exposed rafters, decorative brackets, and inviting porches.
  • Mediterranean: Inspired by the countries along the Mediterranean Sea, this style often features stucco exteriors, red-tiled roofs, and wrought iron details.
  • Victorian: Known for its ornate and decorative elements, including intricate woodwork, multiple colors, and often a turret or other distinctive features.
  • Ranch: Characterized by a single-story layout with a low-pitched roofline, large windows, and an emphasis on horizontal lines.
  • Cape Cod: Typically features a steeply pitched roof and symmetrical facade and often uses wood siding.
  • Tudor: Recognizable by its half-timbered detailing, steeply pitched roofs, and often a combination of brick and stucco.
  • Mid-century Modern: Known for its simplicity, large windows, and open floor plans, often with flat or slightly angled roofs.
  • Georgian: Features a symmetrical facade and brick construction and often includes classical elements like columns and pilasters.

Remember that the choice of facade style can significantly impact the overall look and feel of a house, so it's essential to consider factors like the surrounding environment, climate, and personal preferences when making design decisions. Additionally, factors like landscaping, lighting, and color choices can further enhance the visual appeal of a house's facade.

That said, not all renovations are created equal, so it's important to know which investments will improve your home's value the most in the competitive San Fernando Valley area. If you're remodeling with selling in mind, start with one of these five projects to get the best return on investment.

Turn Your Bathroom Into a Spa

Beautiful bathrooms often top buyers' wish lists, and for good reason: a light and bright space to get ready each morning can set a positive tone for the whole day. Even minor efforts, such as new fixtures, mirrors, or flooring, can boost your home's value, but doing more helps. Buyers in the Pacific region of the U.S. who opt for a mid-range bathroom remodel, adding new tile and improved counter surfaces, see a stunning 87.7% return on investment, according to Remodeling Magazine data, a better payoff than anywhere else in the country.

Since the ROI is so high, remember to improve the functional aspects of your bathroom as well. Good ventilation prevents mold buildup in wet areas, and a tankless or energy-efficient water heater is a significant bonus for younger buyers with environmental concerns. Local contractors have the most insight into which projects are suitable for your neighborhood; if you're a Valley resident, you'll want to contact a reliable water heater company in Van Nuys to get the best advice.

Entice Chefs With a Gourmet Kitchen

Between cooking, eating, homework, and talking, families spend more time in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home. That's why kitchens are another top renovation choice. If you're a foodie, it might be tempting to retrofit your kitchen with ultra-high-end appliances and exquisite marble countertops. Still, it's better to stick to upgrades that fit the character of your neighborhood. Plus, the ROI of midrange remodels (86% of the cost) outperforms luxury upgrades (as low as 54%).

Still, trying to figure out where to start? Add one or two new appliances with a popular modern finish, like black or stainless steel. If you're concerned about dated cabinets but want to avoid investing significantly in new ones, try resurfacing them in a unique finish and adding updated hardware. Even minor improvements can make a difference in a room as necessary to buyers as the kitchen.

Make an Exceptional Entrance

Curb appeal is your home's first impression, and in a market like Southern California, where attractive homes and thoughtful landscaping are the norm, knowing what buyers want to see can convince them that your home is their dream home. When it comes to improving curb appeal, you have a lot of options. Remodeling magazine names stone veneer facades, which swaps vinyl siding for a natural, textured look, as its highest ROI project for 2020. If your home has a garage door that faces the street, updated garage doors with new motors also perform well, as do new steel front doors, which are more durable and better insulating than their wooden counterparts.

If you'd prefer to focus your efforts elsewhere but don't want to neglect the entryway entirely, an analysis of paint colors by Zillow found that homes with freshly painted front doors in black or charcoal sold for over $6,000 more than comparable homes nearby. That's a lot of return for just a little paint!

Bring the Outdoors Home

The year-round, mostly temperate climate in London means buyers love homes with great potential for outdoor entertaining. Adding new composite deck colors will enhance your backyard and help you host family functions in your home—and you can enjoy it during the closing period! Blended deck colors are a hybrid of wood and plastic that's much more durable than wood alone. Up-front costs are slightly higher, but it doesn't need to be stained, sanded, painted, or sealed, and it resists fading, stains, and scratches, so it's low-maintenance. Installing a new deck might feel like a personal project, but homeowners can expect to regain up to 70% of their spending. For extra flair, ask your contractor to include a built-in planter and bench on the deck, and add a few colorful blooms when you're ready to list.

Spend a Little, Earn a Lot

Most of these projects require at least some investment of time and money, but if that's outside the cards at the moment, there are plenty of budget upgrades you can make that will catch a buyer's eye. One of the best things you can do to sell your house faster and for more is possible at any budget: deep cleaning. Floors are key; shampooed carpets and polished wood floors make a home feel new again, helping your buyers envision the easy move-in of their dreams. Painting is another low-cost, high-return option. Sometimes, the right color can add thousands to your sale price. Similarly, installing more modern light fixtures in the kitchen or bathroom is a quick way to make the whole room feel brighter and newer.

Sellers competing with nearby new construction neighborhoods can improve their prospects by installing smart home features. Smart thermostats, Wii-enabled light bulbs in permanent fixtures, and home security systems are all common and relatively inexpensive. They're also popular with millennial buyers, who value a connected home and are aging into the property market.

Finally, pay attention to the benefits of staging! A thoughtfully decorated space invites buyers to imagine themselves settling into the home, encouraging them to form an emotional connection that distinguishes your house from others they see that day. If you're listing with a realtor, ask them if they can help you stage the home yourself or connect you with a professional home stager, depending on your needs and if you're occupying the home.

Remodeling to sell can be a lot of work for homeowners, so if you can only choose a few projects, choose one that you know will offer you a great return.