This is a question that I frequently get from property owners considering to sell a home that they have been renting. It is not limited to homes that they have been renting out, but I get it more for those homes than personal residences.
The answer to this question depends on each individual case (as is the case with all homes). However in general, the answer comes from the amount of work that is needed. There is a major difference with just painting, carpeting, and cleaning a house as opposed to remodeling it. If it is as simple as just paint and carpet, the cash out of pocket investment is usually lower than the return will be. The home will also tend to sell quicker if these improvements are done.
If the question is really "remodel" and we are getting into new kitchens, bathrooms, roofs, windows, etc. the answer is usually more complicated. Real estate investors tend to make their money "flipping houses" because they have very efficient systems in place to handle the renovation work. A lot of the work is done themselves (or with their own companies) so the cost is lower. Since they are doing it on a regular basis, they tend to know where the best return on their dollar is going to come from. Combining the efficiency, the experience, and the "know-how" usually leads to bigger profits.
All of this being said, the answer to the question is usually found by how much time, money, and commitment you want to put into the project. Also factor in any carrying costs while the work is taking place too. If the work lasts 6 months and the mortgage is $2,000 per month that reduces your profit by $12,000 right out of the gate.
If you want to try the renovation route as a possible business down the road that is one thing. If it is just for one house and you want to be out of real estate holdings, seriously consider doing the minimal possible and selling "as-is".
You will never lose money taking a profit....even if it is not a huge profit....