I would say find an agent who will be willing to help you as long as you explain up front why you need their help. If you find a great agent it may save you money and lots of hard work. A great REALTOR will be able to tell you wether or not an improvement will be worth the upgrade in what you are willing to spend. Sometimes an improvement might help the appeal of a home but will not actually add a lot of value.
Check out the link below for some helpful tips. Good luck and I hope this is helpful.
I am always happy when a potential client calls me for advice. That's all I ask for is that the client be very honest and upfront with me. I would suggest when contacting a local agent, be up front with them. Explain your thoughts and plans and what you are trying to accomplish before they come out. With that being said, I don't think you should have any problem getting an agent to come out and give you a market and ideas for improvements!
On the contrary, since the market is so challenging right now, I don't think you'd have any issue getting a realtor to establish a relationship with you. They are hoping that when you do decide to sell, that you'll call them first. The issue is, "will you get a good realtor to give you good advice?".
Remember, unless you're going to do the work yourself, nothing you can do today will payoff for more than the cost you're going to pay someone to do the work for you. Even the most desirable remodel, a kitchen, pays only 90% of the cost. If you're going to do things around the house, then put your own effort into it to get a big payback, and if you're going to pay someone else to do the work, then do it because you want to enjoy it, not because you can make money off of it.