Q&A with Dawn Cusulos Award-Winning Property Leasing Agent of the Year 2014

Today we introduce you to Dawn Cusulos, she is AMSI’s award-winning and top producing Real Estate Agent, a Superwoman!

What do you like the most about working in Real Estate? It gives me great pleasure to see people happy once they have found a home, whether it’s a buyer or tenant.
What does a usual working day look like for you? My day starts first thing with calls or showings all day long. Oftentimes I work late since I have clients that may have odd work hours. But I don’t mind arranging appointments at times when others go home or meet with their friends and family, since this may close the deal.
What has been your biggest success and achievement in Real Estate so far? Closing hundreds of transactions over the years! Nice being noticed as a top producer in business!!
Do you believe that being a woman makes is easier or harder? No. I believe being true to your self with honesty and integrity is key.
You are a working mom and wife, but you are very successful in your job. Do you have any tips for other working moms? Being a working mom in the Real estate field works. I have flexibility and can work around many mom duties. My tip would be simply to take advantage of your flexibility and arrange your duties around your appointments, or the other way around. But you have to keep in mind that this might mean to arrange appointments at late hours to meet clients for showings.
The real estate market in San Francisco is very competitive but you belong to the top producer. What is it that distinguishes you from others in the industry? Honesty and being a good listener are great assets to being a top producer. Owners appreciate the value they may get from an Agent who takes time to listen and follow up with them. I have a positive attitude in this industry and owner’s may like it.
What do you like the most about working with AMSI? I love working at AMSI because it feels like family. Robb Fleischer is the best broker! I like the fact we are all team players.
Have you encountered a drop in the Real Estate Market during the recession? Has it been more difficult than before to make business? I have been very blessed due to referring business and owners calling me back over the years. I keep very busy and love it. I really do enjoy what I do!

Visit Dawn’s website to get to know here better or follow her on TWITTER @cusulos
Email: dcusulos@amsiemail.com
Phone: 415-678-8854

First Time Home Buyer Guide

What steps to take when buying a home

  1. Get your finances in order and check your credit score. The higher your credit score is, the better the chances to qualify for a better mortgage rate and type of loan.
  2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Before you start your search you have to see if you qualify to buy a home.
  3. Determine your wants and needs before you start house hunting. Finding the right house can become a long process when you don’t determine in advance what your wants and needs are.
  4. Once you find your dream house you need to write an offer with help of a real estate agent. Your agent will help you to negotiate the price.
  5. Inspections, a home inspector will let you know what condition the home is in and what kind of repairs are needed before you buy the home.
  6. Closing progress/Escrow. The period between offer acceptance and the final settlement is known as escrow, which can take several weeks

Don’t buy if you can stay put

If you cannot commit to stay put for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying a home, you may end up losing money if you sell too soon, even in a rising market.

When you are buying to rent out the property, ask your agent for how much you can lease your rental every month. Your expenses (e.g. property tax, maintenance and mortgage costs) have to be lower than your monthly rent income in order to make profit.


Homes gain on value over time, some years more and some less, depending on the market. The home appreciation rate varies from region and neighborhood. Therefore you should figure out what neighborhood has which appreciation rate before you start house hunting.

Do you want more information? Then check this out and learn more about buying a home.

Common Problems Encountered When Selling a Property Yourself

Some homeowners decide to sell their property by themselves. Their common belief is that it’s simple; they save money and sell their property faster. However, there is a common set of problems a homeowner has to face when selling a property without the advice, guidance and expertise of a professional real estate agent.

 Proper pricing

Homeowners often will overprice their property due to inexperience and lack of objectivity. This can cause less interest and makes the home less appealing, especially during the important first three weeks the property is on the market.

A real estate professional knows how to determine the true market value, and how to properly price the property by using comparable listings and sales, square footage comparisons, amenity comparisons and countless other factors both gross and subtle.

Property marketing 

Not only is there a lack of marketing resources when owners market properties themselves, they often times don’t know how to attract the right target group.

A real estate professional has more resources and methods available to market the property than a homeowner. A professional can and does market the listing to other real estate professionals and not just to the public.

Furthermore when home owners market their homes themselves, they are missing out on all the buyers who are represented by agents, as real estate professionals are more inclined to bring their buyers to properties listed by a professional.

Showings and open houses

Once the property is advertised, calls have to be taken, questions must be answered and appointments scheduled in a timely manner. Also property showings, open houses and broker’s caravans have to be implemented. Homeowners don’t always have the right solutions, answers and the time to manage all of it by themselves.

Screening and qualifying prospects

Potential buyers have to be screened to find out how interested they are in buying and if they are even qualified. Homeowners usually don’t know how to determine if someone qualifies to buy or not. However, a real estate professional knows how to ask the right questions to find that out.

Negotiating offer

After a buyer submits an offer to purchase and a pre-qualification, the homeowner has to write a counter offer to counter-bid and address particular items. Most homeowners are not able to handle the negotiations in an experienced and objective way and need the support of a real estate agent or a real estate lawyer. Negotiating is both an art and a science.

Coordinate inspections and appraisal

The buyer’s lender requires these steps to determine the value of the property and to support the price agreed upon in the offer.

Once the buyer’s loan is approved, the homeowner will receive more instructions from the escrow officer or buyer to follow up with. Coordinating those inspections and understanding what they entail is often beyond the scope of the seller, without the support of a real estate agent.


A home seller is obligated to disclose problems, conditions and circumstances regarding the property and sale that could affect the property’s value. There are countless disclosures required by the Department of Real Estate and the State as well as local ordinances pertaining to disclosures. Proper disclosure prevents legal trouble in the future.

Usually a homeowner doesn’t know what the state and local laws are. They not only don’t have the forms, but also don’t know how to execute them. A real estate agent knows all that, as well as certain legal ramifications that can protect or hurt the owner, in case of non-disclosure.

Learn more about selling a home and how you benefit by working with a real estate professional.