Remodeling Magazine released its latest evaluation of home improvements and the biggest returns suggest buyers are focused on the exterior curb appeal.
The current online report includes results nationally, by region, and you can also narrow down to the Cincinnati area specifically (see Cincinnati stats here).
One question someone might have is why they would make an improvement before they sell their home if it only gets a portion of the money back. Well - the big reason is the ability to sell the house quickly in a market like we have today. Buyers are expecting homes to be in near-perfect condition or will otherwise expect the price to be steeply discounted. Those who try to get full market value when the house is dated end up staying on the market longer, making more price reductions, and taking a lower price when they finally sell.
I would note that this report tends to focus primarily on major "cosmetic" elements with remodeling of a home as opposed to structural and mechanical updates (such as a new furnace or appliances). I'll keep a lookout for similar studies and point them out when available.