I've been playing with this product for about a week, I bought it because It looked like a major upgrade from Home Designer Suite 7, which was a little quirky but got the job done. Maybe its just my expectations but the final renderings you get with this program don't look very good, as in not close to photo-realistic. They are no better than the Suite 7, and because this really isn't intended as professional home design software, the real function of it should be great visualizations. Bottom line they look pretty cartoonish.
There are a lot of great features in this software, like being able to design in the 3D view, importing your XYZ terrain data (DTM), stair tools, plant choosing tools, a whole bunch of authentic items like windows, furniture, fixtures, floor coverings, etc (although a good bit of the extra ones you have to download, which is odd because the software only ships on DVD-ROM). You can probably design your exact house using this software and maybe even build from it (if you're an experienced builder) but you may become frustrated in the process because of 2 fundamentals of the Better Homes & Gardens line of software.
1. It is real quirky and some of the "automatic things" can ruin your design if your not careful. For example, I added an "automatic stairwell" once and as it turned out ruined my design because it created "attic walls" that were not able to be deleted. I had to go back to my last save point because was unable to undo it. The zoom & pan tools work but they are very unintuitive and nonstandard. It just isn't fun to try new things for fear of screwing something up. If you are patient and creative you can get your design done, but not without some frustration. In short, the quirks are numerous, and I've only used this software a couple of weeks.
2. The maker of this software have 2 more expensive products ($500, & $2195) that are subtly hinted can do more. This is a gateway product, teasing you enough to want just a little bit more. The renderings of the $500 product don't look any better, however.
I think bottom line, if you are determined to design your house and learning new software is fun for you, this will do nearly everything, but if you get frustrated easily and/or only like easy to use software, steer clear.
Also, if you use Vista, it turns off Aero-glass while it is running.