2020 Articles

Cover Story: Juan Umanzor

Raised in a small village in El Salvador with dirt roads, no electricity, and little means of transportation, Juan Umanzor learned early on the value of hard work. Living on a farm with his grandparents, he was just 5 years old when he began getting up at 4:00 am to help care for the livestock and perform the daily chores required of farm life. He recalls milking cows and riding horses and gathering herds or flocks.

Juan had to travel to the city to attend a simple school that provided only a minimal education. When he was in high school, his grandfather found a place for him to stay in the city; Juan returned home on weekends. In spite of their simple life, Juan’s grandfather taught him to continually strive for more. “Surround yourself with accomplished individuals, learn from people at the top of their fields,” he said. It was his grandfather’s wisdom that nourished Juan’s drive. At 10 years old, when he watched television for the first time, Juan realized there was much more to life than he had ever imagined.

Making His Way
In 1996, Juan immigrated to the United States to live with his aunt. His first job was as a busboy at a restaurant in Bethesda. “I was like, Wow! It was so easy.” He was astounded. Eager to learn and hungry to make a living, he worked his way up to head waiter, all the while learning English. “I earned the love and respect of everybody because I was a beast. They used to call me ‘The Comet.’” While working, he took classes at Montgomery College.

In 2000, Juan bought his first home in Silver Spring, managing to keep up his mortgage payments in spite of financial challenges. With the purchase of his home, he was able to bring his mother, sister, and brother, who had been living on the West Coast, to the Washington, D.C., area.

While he adored the restaurant business, Juan saw much greater potential in real estate. So, in February of 2003, he obtained his license, and in his first year, working only part time, Juan sold 17 houses. The following year, he sold 37 homes and hired his younger brother as a full-time assistant. Juan credits Barbara Stone, former Long & Foster manager, with his early real estate success. “She helped me out immensely, sharing all her insights about real estate. I’m grateful to still be very good friends with her to this day.”

Every year, Juan’s real estate business grew, and at 27 years old, he formed a team in order to expand his services to more clients and geographical areas. Today, Umanzor & Associates is one of Long & Foster’s highest-producing teams. In 2019, with seven REALTORS® working in Maryland, the District, and Virginia, they closed 125 units for $42 million in sales volume.

Key to Juan’s success is his genuine caring for others. He strives to treat everyone as if they were family, something that sets him apart. Also key is his appetite for growth. “Knowledge is power,” he says. “I surround myself with people who want to succeed and are hungry to achieve great things in their lives.”

Real estate has been a gift that keeps on giving. “I’m so in love [with] and impassioned about what I do, and I feel as if I have not worked a day in my life. The way I feel about this field is beyond words.”

Family Time
When he was 32 years old, Juan met his wife, Andrea, who was working as an assistant to a loan officer. Two years later, they were married and have three children: 9-year-old Nicole, 6-year-old Samuel, and 2-year-old David. They’ve recently added a sixth member to the family: Chase, an energetic Maltese puppy, who keeps them busy and smiling. Juan and his family enjoy traveling to new places and experiencing different cultures, as well as dining out with close friends and relatives. “Friends and family are important,” Juan says. “You need to form strong bonds and let them know you will always be there for them.”

Juan plans to get an early start on Father’s Day and spend the day with his wife and children. He hopes he can make the day as memorable for them as he knows it will be for him. He is hoping to visit an orphanage that day. “It would be amazing to be able to make a difference in a young child’s life, to inspire them to strive for more as they get older.” That servant’s heart is always ticking.

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