ImproveNet is especially helpful to those who are thinking of buying a home that they may add-on to or to remodel. It provides ballpark estimates specific to the Chicagoland area building costs on everything from kitchens to baths to patios.

For the "Do-It-Yourself" handy person, these two sites will provide you with invaluable information. DIY is a great site for information on home projects of all types. Just go to Home Improvement and be amazed at the detailed information it provides. This site also covers Autos & Boats, Crafts, Gardening, Hobbies, Home Building, Living, and Woodworking. It also includes a step-by-step process for various building projects and includes a materials checklist, so you can avoid repeated trips to the hardware store.

HomeTime, home of the public TV show by the same name, offers similar, step-by-step instructions, as well as links to HomeTime videos that explain building more visually. However, it does not provide checklist of materials and it has fewer diagrams than the DIY page.

Depending on the size and scope of your project, before you get started you may want to check with your local building department. Most towns or villages have ordinances or restrictions that apply to everything from fences to additions. Good Luck!!!