It can take some people a really long time to figure out what they are truly good at and can have the possibility of the most success. Some people never figure it out. While I thoroughly enjoy working with people to help them buy or sell their houses, I have found the niche that I think I could be most successful at.
New-Home Construction. Having my architecture background really comes in handy when reviewing plans and construction documents. I can envision the home before the first shovel ever breaks into the earth! I really enjoy working with contractors. I love it when given the opportunity to collaborate on a project and find new ways of doing things that make the hoe more functional for the future home-owners. I have worked with a couple of clients that have built new homes and would like to think they valued my expertise and appreciated my insight.
Not all contractors are created equal. I have worked with contractors that were extremely difficult to deal with. The secret is to keep a level head and to understand the contractor's point of view. I haven't met any contractors that I couldn't talk to and soothe over any problems on the job-site. I go out of my way to make sure things go smoothly ahead of time. I have also worked with contractors that are super easy to work with. I think everyone involved benefits from open communication. The clients get a significantly better house than originally designed, the contractor may be able to make some extra money for change-orders and repeat business after the home owners brag about the experience, and I get the satisfaction that my clients got the best house they could!
I have found that sometimes builders even prefer the home buyers have a Realtor. If a builder is honest, they want the future home owners to make sure they understand everything they sign so that all problems can be taken care of before they ever happen. Builders have lost a lot of money over the years from irate home owners that did not understand the process and sued the builder and won! A realtor that understands the construction process can be a great asset to anyone thinking of building a home. And to top it all off, the builder pays for the realtor. So why not hire someone to help you build your next house.... that you don't even have to pay for??