Is there such a thing as believable HDR? A couple of years ago I would have said no. See these examples HDR which are typical of all the HDR that was around a couple of years ago when it first got "hot".
I shoot a fair amount of homes by custom builders to fill in the gaps between big commercial jobs. The budgets are low so I need to work quickly. I have to squeeze a decent set of shots out of a limited time even if the light is not primo. Here is an example of an HDR that to me works (a little surreal I admit). The day was bright overcast. The sun was high and above left. The area under the porch was too dark. If I exposed for the porch the sky blew out. A pain to try and light the porch. Three exposures-2 stop range. Exposure Blend in Photomatix. HDR always needs some additional adjustments in PS after the blend, because the midtones tend to get a little flat and lifeless. I like Tony Kuyper's Luminoscity Masks for this. HDR is just another tool if used appropriately.
Show some of your examples.
Client comments-the contractor loved the HDR because you could see all the rich detail under the roof. He thought it "really came alive". To satisfy him any other way would mean I would have had to light it. It also ran full page in an article in a homebuilder magazine. The editor, my primary client, thought it was a bit "surreal" and didn't like it that much but ran it, but I didn't hear that until after it ran. It could be toned down slightly and still be effective. Personally I like the HDR (I grant you a bit tooooomuch maybe). The straight image just sits there, muddy and lifeless.