Homeowners preparing to sell can find themselves between a rock and a hard place: Pouring money into renovations rarely pays for itself in added value, but buyers who spot maintenance issues are likely to offer less.
Now is the time to determine what your home needs to be sale-worthy. March is when buyer traffic typically picks up, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, told CNBC.com earlier this year. Many are families hoping to find and close on new homes in time to move during the summer.
Big projects aren't your best bet. The average project recoups just 62.2 percent of its cost in added home value, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2015 Cost vs. Value report. A major, midrange kitchen remodel costs an average $56,768, for example, but adds $38,485 in value at resale—67.8 percent of that cost. (See chart below for some of the most and least valuable projects.)