Home improvement projects with big payoffs

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    See how this list compares to the best home renovation projects for 2013.

    Most homeowners know exactly what they would do to change their current home into their dream home: gut the kitchen, reconfigure the bathroom or repaint the entire exterior. But what if you're ideal renovations don't yield any return?

    The key to investing in your home is doing it wisely, making sure you recoup at least some of the cost upon the sale of your home. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Remodeling Magazine recently released their 2011-2012 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, and the findings prove you don't have to spend a ton of money to add to your home's resale value.

    Exterior renovations dominated the list of cost-effective projects. "This year's Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report shows the value of putting your home's best facade forward, so to speak," said NAR President Moe Veissi. "Inexpensive exterior replacement projects are not only crucial to a home's regular upkeep, but are also expected to recoup close to 70 percent of costs."

    So, without further ado, here are some of the home improvement projects which will get you the most bang for your buck:

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.