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 ready to sell. If you’re thinking about selling, chances are you’re also thinking about renovating. According to research by Zillow, almost 80% of sellers make at least one upgrade before listing.

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 remodelling 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 help. 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 make improvements to the functional aspects of your bathroom as well. Good ventilation prevents mould buildup in wet areas, and a tankless or energy-efficient water heater is a major bonus for younger buyers with environmental concerns. Local contractors have the most insight into which projects are right for your neighbourhood; 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, it often seems like 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 yourself, it might be tempting to retrofit your kitchen with ultra-high-end appliances and exquisite marble countertops, but it’s better to stick to upgrades that fit the character of your neighbourhood. Plus, the ROI of midrange remodels (86% of the cost) outperforms luxury upgrades (as low as 54%).

Not sure 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 don’t want to make a major investment in new ones, try resurfacing them in a new finish and adding updated hardware. Even small improvements can make a difference in a room as important 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 norms, 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. Remodelling 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 colours by Zillow found that homes with a freshly painted front door 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 that buyers love homes with great potential for outdoor entertaining. Adding new composite deck colours will enhance your backyard, and also can help you host family functions in your home—and you can enjoy it during the closing period! Composite deck colours is 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 what they spend. For extra flair, ask your contractor to include a built-in planter and bench on the deck, and add a few colourful 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 not in 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 like new again, helping your buyers envision the easy move-in of their dreams. Painting is another low-cost, high-return option. In some cases, the right colour 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 who are competing with nearby new construction neighbourhoods can improve their prospects by installing smart home features. Smart thermostats, Wifi-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 ageing into the property market.

Finally, don’t neglect 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.

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