Business Corner: Susan Monus, Coldwell Banker

Susan Monus

Susan Monus describes herself as “a thinking person’s real estate agent.”

One of Coldwell Banker’s most successful Realtors in Malibu and Southern California, Monus has sold hundreds of Malibu homes and estates since January 1990. In 2011, Monus was ranked in the top three agents for her Malibu Coldwell Banker office. In 2010, she was ranked the number two agent in Malibu for Coldwell Banker and number 17 for all Coldwell Banker agents on the Westside. Additionally, Monus has the distinction of selling two of the top 10 sales ever in Malibu real estate, for $25 million and $30 million. Last year, The Wall Street Journal ranked Monus in the top 100 of the top 250 agents for volume in 2010.

But oddly enough, Monus never set out to go into real estate. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied business and sociology, the Youngstown, Ohio native applied her knowledge at Fortune magazine and Grey Advertising in New York, before moving on to work in the tax-leverage leasing business for Itel Corporation in San Francisco.

After suffering a back injury, Monus left town for awhile to recuperate. Upon returning, she discovered her landlord was converting her rental into a single-family home, and she had no choice but to move out and look for a new home. Monus had previously acquired a real estate license to help a friend who was moving. But it was during the search for her own new place that a curious thing happened.

“I liked the looking process and decided I loved real estate,” Monus said.

Monus started out working for Jon Douglas Company, which was absorbed by Coldwell in 1997. Now Monus is one of the top Realtors around.

Outside of Malibu, Monus has sold homes in Venice and Santa Monica and a Pacific Palisades condo in 2012.

“Many times I have clients that have multiple properties,” she said, “That takes me out of my normal turf. My clientele loyalty takes me elsewhere.”

Overall, Monus has been professionally recession-proof.

“I’ve been fortunate, but I think agents who have a lot of experience survive,” she said, although she admits that “deals are more difficult now.”

In the last few years, she has sold properties along Malibu Road, Winding Way, Point Dume, Malibu Park, Serra Retreat, and 2010 was her best year ever.

Monus and husband Fred Kalmar (also in real estate) have been married since 1993. They not only enjoy working in Point Dume, but living there.

“I like small-town living and I don’t leave Malibu a lot,” she said. “I’m a real local supporter of everything Malibu.”

Monus even developed a sidebar reputation as a pretty mean baker. “Everybody knows me for my chocolate chip cookies,” said Monus, who routinely has a plate ready for visitors to her house openings. “I usually make them at about 5 a.m.”

Monus also cooks, and both she and her husband enjoy having friends over for dinners on their ocean-view deck. The couple also enjoys traveling and visiting family.

In fact, Monus spoke to The Malibu Times from West Palm Beach, Florida, where she and her husband celebrated their birthdays (May 23, 24, respectively) and wedding anniversary (May 23).

Monus makes it a point to donate to local elementary schools and Malibu High, as well as a host of local charities. That instinct for altruism extends to her work, where she has helped mentor up-and-coming Realtors.

“When I first started working for Susan seven years ago I had no idea of the nuances of the real estate industry,” said Kristen Parks Negus, a Realtor on Team Monus at Coldwell. “Susan took me in and taught me all about the twists and turns and has become like family to me. Susan always says that every transaction takes on a life of its own and I now realize the importance of experience when it comes to navigating each and every transaction.”

Monus sums up her career longevity this way.

“I love what I do,” she said. “I love showing the houses and meeting new people.”

Monus can be reached via Coldwell Banker at 310.589.2477, , or e-mail her: