A home is the most significant asset that many people own, and remodeling can considerably affect its resale value. To prevent homeowners from accidentally destroying value, the National Association of Realtors has queried its vast network of realty agents to find out what remodeling projects add the most value to homes.

Remodeling magazine crunched the data and on Wednesday released its annual "Cost versus Value Report." Even if you have no immediate plans to move, the report provides valuable insights into how remodeling might alter the resale value of your home. The report covers 58 regional markets and discusses various improvements from kitchen remodeling to deck additions.

"Our members' experience and familiarity with the communities in which they work make them valuable resources," says NAR president Thomas Stevens. "They understand what makes a good investment, whether their clients are buying, selling or remodeling."

Stevens hopes the report will help homeowners choose the projects that increase home value while avoiding those that lose money. In West Coast states, for example, kitchen upgrades return an average of 112% of costs when homeowners sell their home. By contrast, kitchen projects typically recoup only 85% of their costs in the Midwest. For their part, Midwesterners place a premium on exterior siding.

Even within regions, important distinctions in value emerge. "The desirability of certain home features varies by neighborhood and is heavily influenced by buyers' expectations in a given area," said Stevens.

For example, if homes in a neighborhood typically have two bathrooms, then adding a second to a one-bathroom home does little to distinguish that home. Instead, a wiser choice might be converting an attic into a bedroom.

The one consistent trend across regions is that home offices do little to increase value. (Yet another reason not to work from home.)

A synopsis of the report is available at www.Realtor.org/realtormag.