The Alimond Show

Dean Yeonas of Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate

December 07, 2023 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Dean Yeonas of Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What do you get when you mix real estate brokerage, the DC market, Loudoun County, and touring with Bob Marley's guitarist Junior Marvin? A whirlwind of knowledge, experiences, and priceless insights. We're thrilled to have the founders of a thriving boutique real estate brokerage company with us. They're here to share their journey from launching their enterprise, their unique approach to standing out in the crowded market, and their future plans. One of them even reveals his extraordinary experience of being the only non-Rasta touring with Junior Marvin. 

But we go beyond just business talk. This episode takes a deep dive into the essence of human relationships and finding personal passion. We engage in a thought-provoking discussion about the power of focusing on others and how it can lead to personal success. The conversation highlights the value of having a core set of principles that includes empathy and concern for others. As we wrap up, we couldn't be more grateful for the enlightening dialogue and the privilege of hosting this show. Get ready to get inspired and see the world from a different perspective.

Speaker 1:

And then, in terms of this podcast, this is a fairly new fun thing that we're doing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I used to have a I'm not used to, I still have it but something called a Loudoun 100 Project, and so it highlighted Loudoun County people, everyday people, not business owners, but everyday people who are doing good things for the community but not looking. They're not doing it for the recognition, they're doing it because it's the right thing to do, yep. And so I loved that so much, but it was such a time-intensive project.

Speaker 2:

Of course, yeah, for my team.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm. So I said I kind of want to do something similar where I'm sharing stories but not necessarily have the event part. So here comes the Alamon Show, which is this Community people are nominating different business owners and then I get to have conversations.

Speaker 2:

And where are you from? Where's your Loudoun County person?

Speaker 1:

No, I grew up in Terre Haute Indiana. Oh boy, okay, yeah, how about you?

Speaker 2:

I was born in DC and lived here most of my life.

Speaker 1:

Tell me a little bit about what you do.

Speaker 2:

So I have a real estate brokerage company.

Speaker 1:

Uh-huh.

Speaker 2:

I have a business partner, okay, and we have about 10 agents that work for us. So we are essentially a small boutique real estate company, hands-on, that has a lot of history. So my two sons work with me in the business Fun, and they represent the fourth generation of my family in the business. So my grandfather and my father started building houses after the war in the DC metro area and so I grew up in the real estate business and big company environments. Those guys built about 15,000 homes during their career in the DC metro area and I decided 25 years ago that I didn't want to be in the big corporate kind of big company kind of world. So my partner's background was similar.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

He and my family did business together in the 50s and 60s. His father and my father did business together. Okay, so we got to get. We actually went to high school together in Arlington and we got together to decide to build what we have been doing now for over 20 years. And this is this concept of if you call me, I'll answer the phone.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and you know you get, have a personal touch you get us yeah. And I say you know the DC metro area, you really know the DC metro area. So you guys have like built the DC metro area.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely yeah. There was one time in the 70s and early 70s where in Fairfax County I think it was one out of every 12, but some kind of number like that One out of 12 homeowners lived in a young house home. So they built a lot of houses locally and built a really good reputation, then sold to a national company. It was kind of a progress. But I grew up in the business, doing everything from digging ditches to building houses, managing land development, putting sewer and water lines in you know that buying land and developing property. So I've got a pretty broad perspective on the whole process.

Speaker 1:

So what do you like most about it?

Speaker 2:

Well, every day is different generally, and it has given me an opportunity to interact with people that I would not otherwise a wide variety of people you know, coming in contact with people far smarter than I am and very interesting. You know doing various things in their lives and I have an ability to help them out and things that you know they might need helping.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

You know. So it puts me in that position. It's really, it's been really fun. I love it.

Speaker 1:

And your family's involved in it now.

Speaker 2:

My two boys work for identical twin boys, so they work with me now for about three and a half years.

Speaker 1:

Awesome, how's that? It's great Working with family.

Speaker 2:

You know can cut both ways at times right, but ultimately it's really really really good.

Speaker 1:

Do you see them taking it over?

Speaker 2:

That's my exit strategy, exactly.

Speaker 1:

You know, I say to people I'm like, if your kids don't want the business, sell it and take that money and give it to them and let them create something that they yeah, but a lot of it's like legacy and yeah, there's that, but I never was kind of guided like you have to do this, and they did their own thing.

Speaker 2:

they're 29. So they did their own thing until about three or four years ago, and then they had the opportunity.

Speaker 1:

And they chose this.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they had, the opportunity was there and then they chose to jump in.

Speaker 1:

Is there a difference between the DC market versus out here in this area?

Speaker 2:

There's a difference. Yeah, there's a lot of similarities, like lack of inventory and. So that's everywhere Competitive nature. That's everywhere in the country almost right now. Yeah, okay, so that's similar. Price points are different. Obviously, you know the house that's a million and a half out here might be four million in McLean or three million in McLean or something. So there's kind of the price metrics are different, but it's basically the same process and the same kind of protocols and not a lot of difference.

Speaker 1:

Where do you see yourself in your business in the next five years?

Speaker 2:

I see the boys just taking it over.

Speaker 1:

In five years. Yeah, all right.

Speaker 2:

I want to get out. Let's go yeah.

Speaker 1:

What are you going to do when you're retired?

Speaker 2:

Well, I do other stuff.

Speaker 1:

Talking about a guitar earlier.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I played in bands and I toured with bands and Tell me a little bit about that. A little bit about that. Mm-hmm, it's a cool story.

Speaker 1:

I want to hear it.

Speaker 2:

So I took most of 2019 off and I went on the road with the Whalers. Okay, so my boss was Bob Marley's guitar player, junior Marvin. Wow, so I was. It was a 10, 11-piece band and I was the only non-Rosta guy in the band.

Speaker 1:

Did you feel a little out of place? No, you just loved it.

Speaker 2:

It was great. Yeah, I mean it was quite musically great and entertaining and educational, but culturally even more so to be hanging out with these guys and touring the country and playing a lot of shows all over. It was fun and some of those guys are still my best pals today.

Speaker 1:

You guys going to go do a road trip.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, going on the road is tough.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's kind of a young man's business. It's a tough gig to play seven shows in 10 nights and travel in and that kind of thing, but it's. You know, the best part about it is when you're playing. When you're out there actually playing everything else. You forget about everything else until you're playing. But when you're in the middle of travel and you got to eat and you got to try to sleep and then you got to load in and you got a sound check and then you got to load out and then you got to get on the bus, that can get really tiring. It was really super exciting. So I see you know doing more of that it's kind of my thing.

Speaker 1:

It's awesome. Okay, so we've got performing. What other things are you into when you retire, like what's going to be the yeah?

Speaker 2:

My family's Greek, my background is Greek, so my wife is from Greece, so we go there quite a bit a lot. We have a home there Travel, yeah, so that's kind of just that's really it.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome. How did you build your business?

Speaker 2:

How did I build it. So it's really just word of mouth and referral business at this point, and that's really what it got down to. We have a name in the area for a long time and a good reputation family why the name is recognized and it's just about doing a great job for everybody that we work with. And then they you know what it's like and if you ever bought a solar solar house, you know whoever you used to do. That came to you from a particular source, typically from someone or your friends or coworkers this guy's great. You know this is the only guy you should talk to and he'll be honest and treat you right and do a good job. So that's really that's how it works. We don't tend to do a lot of advertising, and so I got my boys working on social media stuff, doing Instagram.

Speaker 1:

I was going to say now, with the market changing, do you feel the need to?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think the next, if these guys stick with it, which I expect they will there's going to be a part of their plan. But you know, the real estate business is not like other businesses that have been disintermediated, like, say, travel business you know, through internet and through social media and that kind of thing.

Speaker 2:

It's still a very hyper local kind of thing and you know, there's always a component of people that will do whatever they can to save money and not you know, if you have kidney replacement and you didn't want to spend the money and you could take your own kidney out, you'd do it right. So there's certain amount of people that will gravitate towards. No matter what happens, they won't spend any money. But the people that want service and want experience and want to be taken care of. There's always a piece for that, I think, in the real estate business and what we do and we do generally, we do 90% residential and some commercial component. But that's how we've gotten business and that's how we do it.

Speaker 1:

More than male doing a good job and just length of time of building your name.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's really what it's about. And the phone rings, you know, and when we advertise it'll be for specific properties. But generally the real estate advertising game is I kind of have learned over the years is not necessarily about putting an advertisement to increase your business. Put an advertisement in to make your clients whose home is pictured there feel like you're doing something and to spread your name from an imprint or however, whatever meaning it is.

Speaker 1:

You know what I'm saying, kind of like the open houses, where it's like.

Speaker 2:

It's like an open house open house generally not going to sell your house. Yeah, it's going to allow that agent to Press fact a little bit. To reach out and maybe meet a new prospect or a new client, make the seller feel good oh, I have an open house. Therefore I'm going to sell my house. It's on traffic, yeah, and sometimes it works, but generally that's just sort of a real straight, honest advice on what those are used for.

Speaker 1:

In my opinion, what do you wish more consumers would know about before hiring an agent?

Speaker 2:

Before hiring an agent. Yeah, I think that it's the real estate industry. It's the largest trade association, so there's 1.2 million real estate agents in the country and there's a lot of agents. It's like anything in life. There's a high percentage of those agents that maybe not operate at the highest of levels.

Speaker 2:

It's not as high as that Some people say 80, 20, right, but it's not just because you're my uncle's cousin's former roommate and you're a really good kid and you just got your license and I should use you.

Speaker 2:

It's about what is the nature of the transaction, and is it seemingly simple, or is it more complicated, and can you hire somebody that is going to pay for themselves and then some to facilitate the transaction? Or if you're solely focused on paying the least amount of commissions that you can, then there's different business models that will work for you, but you may not be getting the level of service that you either need or want. So we tend to want to be more upfront and say well, what is it that you want and let's talk about it. But it's not one size fits all necessarily, and maybe hiring the low-cost guy in the market to do it may be a benefit to you, depending upon what the nature of the transaction is, what the market is at that time and what kind of product or property that you're actually selling. So people just tend to think of it as I'm going to hire an agent to sell my house. It doesn't really matter, an agent's an agent.

Speaker 1:

And that's not true. Especially because the commission isn't small. So if you're going to hire somebody to do a job, you want to make sure that you've got the best of the best.

Speaker 2:

The numbers are big, yeah, and it's kind of like, again, if you're related to the doctor thing, I always like to use this as an example. If you have a medical issue, who would you rather have operating on you or working on you or working for you? The guy just out of medical school, or the guy that's maybe been doing it for 10 or 20 or 30 years? It has some background. So the numbers are big and the industry is changing. Commissions have come down and it's gotten more competitive and that all makes sense and there's lots of changes going on within the industry today. But yeah, the numbers are large and it's not an inconsequential amount of money, yeah, to pay somebody to represent you in a real estate transaction.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, that's.

Speaker 2:

For sure.

Speaker 1:

What is something that you wish other agents knew, either before getting into the business or you know it's.

Speaker 2:

I think one of the biggest things is how to communicate. Not just communicate with your clients, because that's more on the personal level of you to your client, but how to communicate with your peer group, for example, younger agents today, and I mean younger, like 30 and under the way they communicate versus people that are a little bit older or more experienced text messaging at odd hours versus picking up the phone. And I encourage the young agents that work with us, including my kids, that if you want to communicate with somebody, unless they tell you specifically, the preferred method is only text me or only email me. Pick up the phone. In doing so you build a relationship.

Speaker 2:

In the text messaging aspect of communication you lose a lot and you lose the ability to form a bond or a relationship or get to know somebody. And we're in the middle of several of those right now where we have young agents on the other side who will text me at 10 o'clock at night and ask a question that is longer than a text message answer and really needs to be discussed, but they're just kind of used to communicating in that fashion. So what I would say to a lot of people is learn how to communicate, whether it's written communication or verbal, but do it on a level that positions you to build relationships and have people understand who you are and what value you might want to deliver or be able to share.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. Last question is what is something that you like? What is one piece of advice not necessarily related to real estate, but just overall that you would give to the world right now?

Speaker 2:

In regard to what?

Speaker 1:

That is an open book, my friend Wow.

Speaker 2:

That's a really seriously interesting question, I would just stress to focus on other than yourself and, ultimately, whatever you do in your life, learn to love it if you have the ability to do that, because if you love something then you'll be very good at it. So, and concern for others, meaning environment, your peer group, the people that you work with, your family, and having that at the center of your core values, as opposed to me, me, me, me, me. You know, all I want to do is text and see social media all day. That's good. That's good.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for being on the show sharing a little bit of your story and giving us some great tips on how to navigate.

Speaker 2:

I'm proud to be here. I'm glad you asked me to be here, sweet.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, thank you.

Real Estate Business and Retirement Plans
Prioritize Others, Find Passion in Life