When Andrés Serafini, a REALTOR® with RLAH Real Estate, got his real estate license in 2007, the market was booming. As he recalls, “Everyone was on top of the world.” But, as we all know, the economy came crashing down in a hurry. Prosperity turned to fear, and Andrés was left to figure out his new career in the most trying real estate market in recent times.
Two years prior, Andrés had graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with a degree in political science and linguistics. He landed a job as a congressional liaison for the Organization of American States (OAS), a multilateral organization on Capitol Hill.
“I thought I’d be a politician,” Andrés reflects. “Growing up in D.C., I thought that would be the track I would be on. My dad worked for the U.S. State Department and my mom for the Federal Reserve. And that was it. You live in D.C. and work in politics.”
Just two years into his chosen field, however, Andrés discovered that he wasn’t aligned with the cutthroat culture of politics. He had a close friend who was doing really well in real estate and began to get curious about making a transition.
“Right around that time, 2006 to 2007, I was in the market myself, flirting with the idea of buying something. He encouraged me to get my license and use my own sale as a method to gauge my interest in the business. So the first deal I ever did was my own. I bought a property in the down market, and I loved the process.”
At 23 years old, Andrés began his career in real estate. He was faced with building a business amid a deep recession.
“It was mayhem. Every channel you turned on, the sky was falling. Every day, the stock market was less, there were more and more ‘For Sale’ signs popping up on every street. Short sales and foreclosures. It was nerve-racking. But I was focused on learning and understanding what was happening in the real estate market.”
Andrés sold one home in his first year. He knew he needed to find a way to get creative, so he sought out veteran agents who had been through a down market before. The advice he received helped shape the future of his work.
“They were telling me that the people with money are taking advantage of this situation. So you need to network to see what you can do for people that want to invest.”
With creativity and perseverance, Andrés found his way to his target audience and began to get his business off the ground. For several years, he primarily sold rental properties for clients looking to take advantage of a down market. As the market began to turn upwards, Andrés shifted his business alongside it, and over the years, he has continued to achieve sustained success.
The Washingtonian Group
In 2013, Andrés founded The Washingtonian Group. His vision has always been to create a group of thriving agents — and eight years into his journey, he feels he’s accomplished that goal. In 2021, his team of six agents closed 135 transactions for over $90 million.
“In our seven-year career, The Washingtonian Group has had two GCAAR Rookie of the Year recipients. In my eyes, this is one of the most fulfilling accolades a team leader strives for and can receive indirectly.”
The Washingtonian Group is built on culture. Andrés prides himself on providing service to all types of clients. His team includes buyers’ agents, a new construction division, a listing coordinator, and a strong support staff.
“We leave our ego at the door. Many agents are known to be out for themselves — to be the namesake of the team and to live by the self-proclaimed ‘I’ and not the ‘we’ mentality. But when I created The Washingtonian Group, the name itself would allow all team members to play equally.”
Drawing on His Roots
Andrés’ parents are both first-generation immigrants; his father is from Italy and his mother is from Colombia. Like so many other immigrants, they paved the way for their children through hard work and perseverance.
“Their journey and their lives have taught me to take risks, the importance of hard work, to be solution-oriented, and to face challenges head-on, without room for excuses,” Andrés notes. “I have no other option but to strive for success because my parents did just that for me. Many immigrants share a similar narrative, a similar inspiring story … and that is to attain success, to do better than their parents did, and to provide a better life for their families. That is what many people come to this beautiful country in search of. And I hope to be part of how they achieve that dream, whether it’s to help them buy a home or help them build wealth.”
One outcome of Andrés’ own success is a deep desire to give back to his own family and community. He and his wife, Carolin, have been together for nine years, married in 2018, and now have a 2-year-old daughter, Valentina. Together, they are devoted to the service of others — Andrés through real estate and Carolin through her career in public health. In real estate, Andrés’ desire to give back continues to drive him towards success. Whether he’s helping a local charity or mentoring an agent to personal success, Andrés is fully devoted to others’ fulfillment.
“I want to help others — whether it’s my client, my team, my friends, or my family. And to do that, I am committed to a path of constant growth, constant learning, and always striving to be better than yesterday.”