Home renovation projects that can pay off in a big way

Spring is a peak time for home buying. And for sellers, it's all about making their house stand out.

A recent survey from the National Association of Realtors showed that upgrades to the kitchen, bathroom and new wood flooring appeal to potential buyers.

But even cheaper and less time-consuming projects can pay off, often in areas you may least expect -- the attic (insulation), the garage door, or even redoing your entry way.

"Some of the projects that have the biggest bang for the buck are these really inexpensive projects," CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger told "CBS This Morning" Thursday. "These are projects that can really help sell the house."

These types of renovations can "recoup a lot money" when selling your home.

By comparison, Remodeling Magazine found a new additional bathroom only returns a little more than half of your investment.

The idea of a new pool, Schlesinger said, is a "no-no," because many people with children do not want to deal with the liability. Sun rooms, she said, are also a bad idea.

Instead, Schlesinger advised owners to "rejigger" here and there, rather than doing a "full-blown renovation." Also, seek to expand the living space.

"That's where you get your money back. You look at the typical home in the U.S. -- it's a three bedroom, one bath home. So if you've only got only two bedrooms, investing in making more living space -- a third bedroom -- that's really important," Schlesinger said. "And instead of upgrading your bathroom, put a second bathroom in."

You can also finance your home renovation projects in several ways. Saving up is always an option, but for those who still are tight on the cash, Schlesinger urges them to try tapping into the equity built up in their homes.

"You can get a home equity loan with a fixed term, with a fixed rate, or a line of credit where you can draw down the money as you need it. Some cases, a refinance may make sense. Run the numbers and talk to a lot of people," Schlesinger said.