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Hedy's Hints: Homeowners can see renovation dreams using 3-D technology

In the case of many homeowners, when you embark on the home-buying process, you understand that the home you set your sights on may need everything from minor tweaks to major renovations. Thanks to new technology, little needs to be left to the imagination when it comes to home renovations or building.

Remodeling companies are now using 3-D home-design software to generate computer images of what a renovated home could look like. It allows homeowners to try out different home renovation options before embarking on a home project. You can throw in everything from furniture and wall coverings, to paint colors and different materials and literally build it to pretty closely resemble the finished product.

What are the benefits of 3-D technology for homeowners?

Using a 3-D home-design software package called Chief Architect provides lifelike renderings.

Some companies, which utilize this type of 3-D technology, can also provide shoppers with estimated costs so they can determine if a house is still affordable if it needs renovations. The cost of having a design builder produce the 3-D renderings, determine the full scope of the renovations, and figure out a preliminary budget can range from $500 to $5,000 depending on the size of the project.

An invaluable benefit is that homeowners also gain confidence in their home purchase because they are able to visualize what their home could be post-renovations.

Can DIY homeowners use 3-D technology

For nonprofessionals who want to attempt to virtually rebuild or decorate their homes, Chief Architect offers software starting at $59. Of course, there are apps for that, too. Check out Home Design 3D for iPad and iPhone or BuildApp for Android.

An additional benefit is that the DIYer versions of the software can help homeowners communicate more easily with your builder. Ninety percent of customers who use Chief Architect's DIY software "Home Designer" use it to give their builder ideas of how they'd like a renovation to turn out. The builder is then able to develop formal designs from there.

But DIYers should be warned that if you're the type that doesn't understand software or doesn't have the know-how to ask the software to generate what you're envisioning in your own head, then calling a renovation company or builder who utilizes 3-D renderings, may be the right fit for you.

List of DIY 3-D home design software

If you are interested in trying out 3-D software and bringing your home vision to life, then try the following:

Chief Architect

HGTV 3-D HomeDesign

Autodesk Homestyler


Hedy Goldman has lots of knowledgeable information to share. She has been practicing real estate since 1996 and is a 2010 gold award winner at Windermere Real Estate SoCal. Hedy sells all over San Diego, but specializes in North County Coastal. She can be reached at (858) 504-2334 or San Diego Realtor.