Centennial Series: The Yeonas Family

Centennial Series: The Yeonas Family

Four Generations of Real Estate Personal Success Icon

The story began in the early 1950s.

NVAR had existed for three decades, and homes were selling for under $15,000. The American Dream was alive and well in an optimistic post-World War II era. Times were simpler, as evidenced by the length of real estate contracts: one page.

Stephen Yeonas Sr., one of four brothers, had just returned from war and established the Yeonas Company in Arlington, Virginia. His brothers joined the family business shortly thereafter.

Today, the Yeonas real estate tradition stretches four generations long­—marked most recently with Dimitri and Paul Yeonas joining their father, Dean Yeonas, at his brokerage in 2019.

Stephen Yeonas Sr. is Dean’s uncle. 

“As a kid, high school and college, I would literally dig ditches outside and then graduated to develop entire communities…,” Dean said. “Our family has been doing it for 70 years, and now my two sons work with us!”

a star is born

Stephen Yeonas Sr. became president of NVAR in 1957 and sold his company in the early 1970s, although he and his brother, Gus, continued to build homes as separate businesses. Dean worked at the Yeonas Company for years, even after the family sold it. In 2002, he created his own boutique brokerage with his business partner, Jack Shafran.

The Yeonas Company built between 13,000 to 14,000 homes in Northern Virginia. With roots that run deep throughout the community, the family still gets calls today from clients who bought their homes in the 50s and 60s from the original Yeonas Company.

“I have hanging on my wall an advertising piece of 1955 when my dad was building homes in Vienna woods,” Dean said. “Houses started at $12,990, and we are reselling those same houses at $600,000 to $700,000 today. … I’m actually tearing down houses that my dad built in the 50s, building new homes on them and reselling those homes. So that’s quite a perspective to have!”

According to Dean, past clients often remark on the care and level of service his father and uncles provided, and professionalism was a top priority to each of them.

“They went out of their way to treat people properly—the way they wanted to be treated. I think it was to do with their heritage, their background and where they grew up,” Dean said. “And it was being part of the association: to raise the bar and have ethical and educational standards.”

Dean met his business partner, Jack Shafran, in high school. Coincidentally, Jack’s father was also a past president of NVAR. Today, their business—Yeonas and Shafran—comprises 10 agents, and the newest agents are Dean’s sons, Dimitri and Paul Yeonas, and Jack’s son, Jonathan Shafran. The company also works closely with Dean’s cousin, Stephen Yeonas Jr., who owns a homebuilding company, Artisan Builders, in McLean, Virginia.

“When someone says, ‘thank you for what you’ve provided for our family,’ that’s what makes it worthwhile,” Dean said. “I teach my sons to not necessarily focus on the revenue but focus on learning the business, doing a good job, treating people fairly—and the returns will come from the passion,” Dean said.

Real estate isn’t the only passion the family shares; Dean and his sons also play music together. Submitting as the Yeonas Brothers, their band recently won NVAR’s Centennial Battle of the Bands in July, which commemorated the kickoff to NVAR’s 100th year anniversary in 2021. The event represented bringing together past, present and future—so it was fitting that the Yeonas band would win the competition and NVAR would learn of their story.

Throughout the years, changes in leaders, laws, contracts and technologies have come along as quickly as paint-color trends, but Realtors® like the Yeonas family continue to help people find the American Dream—an invaluable service that will never go out of style. 

Kate O’Toole is the NVAR digital content manager & senior editor.

Taken from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® RE+View Magazine (SeptOct2020 issue)

Pictured at top: 
L to R. Standing: Stephen G. Yeonas, Paul G. Yeonas. Seated Front Row – Gus C. Yeonas, George C. Yeonas (know as “The Chief”), Jimmie G. Yeonas.

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