howard hanna

How Does Howard Hanna Do It?

by Victor Lund on August 24, 2016

Table with job growth stats

The title to this article may very well become the title of a book someday. The story of Howard Hanna’s ascension to the pinnacle of real estate brokerage in America is certainly one for the Library of Congress. By and large, their growth has come from two streams – market expansion in existing offices and acquisition. Oddly, not much has come from property value growth. I remember my early days in real estate. I was at a conference somewhere and Alain Pinel was speaking about the growth of his namesake brokerage. When asked about his success, he replied along the lines of “when the doctors and lawyers are the poor people in your town, real estate is a great business.” It was a profound statement to take in. During the times of most rapid growth of Alain Pinel, Intero, and others in San Jose, property values were exploding in line with job silicon valley job expansion and income expansion. Clearly the market place in many areas of America is driving the growth of real estate brokerage. If your market share is steady but the property value grows double digits, your brokerage will have double-digit growth. In viewing the antithesis, when your market share is flat but home values go down, so does brokerage volume. It’s a factor of the old business lore that tides float all boats. Like all brokerages, Howard Hanna has experienced extraordinary growth coming out of the recession, but it was not the market that did it. Take a look at this graph that shows metros with the slowest job growth in 2016. It is pretty obvious that Howard Hanna’s growth was not just impacted by the rise in tide of property values. They expanded their market share by purchasing companies and growing same store sales. Howard Hanna has offices across the regions of Upstate New York and Northern PA that were highlighted as markets with lowest job growth. These adverse local economic problems did not seem to hinder Howard Hanna. Contrast this with NRT, the nation’s largest brokerage. NRT just took a hit during their last public reporting whereby they acknowledged that the Franchise business was doing well, but company owned NRT stores were underperforming. The market reacted negatively to the NRT report because they are concerned that NRT is not able to maintain or expand the companies they acquire. In truth, we do not know […]


RealtyUSA joins the Howard Hanna Family

by Victor Lund on July 13, 2016

Two of the nation’s top real estate firms have entered into a definitive agreement for RealtyUSA (over 23,000 transactions) to join the Howard Hanna family of companies (over 66,000 transactions). Merle Whitehead of RealtyUSA will remain with the firm and operate all of the Hanna company business interests in New York. Congratulations to both of these firms on their transaction, among the largest seen in our industry since the HomeServices acquisition of Fox and Roach. Mr. Whitehead will continue to serve as Chairman of the Broker Public Portal. The event also recognizes that Howard Hanna extends their share of ownership of MLS systems, as many of the MLSs that RealtyUSA is a member of are broker owned. See the full press release below: Pittsburgh, PA (July 13, 2016) – Today at a joint press conference held in Buffalo, New York,  Howard W. “Hoddy” Hanna, III Chairman of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, and Merle L. Whitehead, President and CEO of RealtyUSA, announced that RealtyUSA has merged into the Howard Hanna family of companies.  This merger combines the largest residential real estate broker in New York State with the largest broker in Pennsylvania and Ohio. “I have known and respected the Hanna family for years. Their growth in the last decade has been amazing.  A common theme of commitment to our agents by developing the best in products and services for customers and clients will assure our combined success,” said Mr. Whitehead. RealtyUSA is the #1 broker in the state of New York with 65 office locations covering Western and Central New York, Northern New York, the Capital Region and the Southern Tier.  The company has more than 2,200 sales associates and employees and is ranked the 9th largest real estate company in the country with 23,023 closed transactions last year.* Howard Hanna Real Estate Services is the #1 broker is Pennsylvania and Ohio with 205 office locations in the eight states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Virginia, Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.  The company has more than 7,100 agents and employees and is ranked the 4th largest real estate company in the country with 66,714 closed transactions last year.** The merger ranks Howard Hanna as the 3rd largest real estate company in the United States.  The combined performance of the joint company is $16.2 billion in closed sales volume last year and 89,737 closed transactions.  The combined strength […]


Visit the new!

by Victor Lund on November 18, 2015

PITTSBURGH, PA (November 18, 2015) – Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the 4th largest real estate company in the U.S.A., invites the public to try the new website for the first time today. Working collaboratively with 1000Watt, the leading agency focused on real estate and mortgage branding, marketing and innovation, the new is widely regarded as the most powerful real estate site in the entire industry. achieves new milestones in real estate brokerage navigation by combining active listings, recent sales and public records data for properties within a clean, modern design that highlights the strength of the Howard Hanna brand. It is easy to navigate and provides the information and features that consumers love. “Why did we do this? Consumers want INFORMATION!” said Helen Hanna Casey, President of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. “We challenged ourselves to break through the thinking that limits most real estate company websites. Why can’t a real estate website serve prospective sellers as well as buyers? Why can’t we display information on every property and not just those for sale? Why can’t our agents enhance the user experience through their own contributions? Our new site demonstrates what is truly possible.” The website delivers three industry firsts: 1. Combined search for active listings, recent sales and public property records The new offers consumers something they won’t find on any other website: the ability to get details on any property, whether it’s for sale, recently sold or off the market. By combining up-to-the-minute updates from over 30 MLSs with millions of public records, we can offer any consumer – buyer, seller, or a property owner thinking of selling, a complete picture of the housing market. And by offering all of this information on our site, it gives Howard Hanna agents the opportunity to connect with prospects online in new ways. Studies show that consumers who are ‘thinking of selling’ often seek price histories and recent sales prices to gauge the market. They can now get this information at, along with clear calls to action to also get the expert assistance of a Howard Hanna agent. 2. “Hanna View” neighborhood photos People don’t just buy homes, they buy a place to live their lives. That means they want to see what a community or neighborhood is like before they make the commitment. The Hanna View feature gives them that by displaying current photos of […]


Howard Hanna Promotes 5700 REALTORS on

by Victor Lund on June 26, 2014

Today’s real estate broker faces some difficult decisions when it comes to online advertising. The choices are often predicated upon what your competition is doing; what sellers demand; traffic and leads generated by your website or franchise website; website owner terms of use; who gets the lead; who pays – agent or broker. It is really quite a mess. It is so bad, that many large firms have walked away from it entirely and leave it up to the agent. Other firms have taken the proverbial bull by the horn and worked hard to market listings online is a very controlled and purposeful fashion. Howard Hanna is one of those brokers. About Howard Hanna Howard Hanna is among the most dominant online marketing brokers in America. In their core cities of Pittsburgh and Cleveland – traffic to their broker website is greater than the national sites like, Zillow, Trulia, and (Hitwise). But Howard Hanna stretches well beyond those two metropolitan areas. The firm covers most of Pennsylvania, most of Ohio, and parts of Virginia, Michigan, upstate New York, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland (169 offices in total). They are the 4th largest firm in North America trading 52,827 homes and $9.7 billion in closed sales in 2013. Howard Hanna is also a full service firm offering consumers services in Mortgage, Title, and Insurance. An important component of the arrangement is not only that broker competition is not displayed on a Howard Hanna listing, but neither is any other competition from home services companies. Howard Hanna listings are generating leads for all of the affiliated companies they have. The effort also extends to the mobile application too. What is important about this announcement is that it is a renewal. Howard Hanna executive, Hoby Hanna made a statement made a statement about their online strategy back in February of 2012 announcing a partnership with Zillow and with when the firm committed more than $500,000 to effort. In 2012, the decision the firm made was a bit of a well calculated and well researched test. They did not know what the outcomes would be. Clearly the renewal is a signal that the strategy has been successful. In addition to the link back to, this image shows most of the 8 key additional areas of promotion Howard Hanna is purchasing on – it is like […]


Howard Hanna enters Michigan Market

by Victor Lund on October 19, 2012

howard hanna logo

At a joint press conference held in Ann Arbor, Michigan this afternoon, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services announced that Edward Surovell Realtors of Ann Arbor, Michigan has become part of the Howard Hanna family of real estate. Surovell is one of the largest real estate companies in Michigan and was #1 in homes sold last year in Southeastern Michigan. As Surovell joins Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, it becomes part of the 4th largest real estate company in the United States and the #1 home seller in PA and OH, with almost $6 billion in volume and 34,292 transaction sides last year. The company was founded in 1957 by Howard and Anne Hanna with one office on the University of Pittsburgh campus; three generations of the family are involved in the company today with home bases in Pittsburgh and Cleveland and 144 offices across the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia and now Michigan. Howard W. ‘Hoddy’ Hanna, III, Chairman and CEO of Howard Hanna, said his family has known the family owned Surovell Realtors for more than 20 years. “Surovell’s superb culture, along with the quality of their agents, management team and business, mix well with our family-owned company,” said Hanna. Howard W. ‘Hoby’ Hanna, IV, President of Howard Hanna Michigan and Ohio, added, “Today we are beginning a new chapter in service to real estate consumers in this region. We are excited about the future and growth of both of our companies, as well as the region.” Surovell’s owner, President and CEO, Ed Surovell, stated that over the course of a year, as he examined the needs of his company and sales associates and staff, the decision was made to seek a business relationship with an established super-regional firm that would broaden the company’s opportunities while also strengthening their core real estate sales, property management and title insurance businesses. “We chose to join forces with the Hanna Company,” said Surovell, “as it models our own company, in that both are family owned and operated with an emphasis on professional excellence, full-time sales associates and a full line of real estate related services. I’ve known the Hanna family for many years and our close relationship will allow for an easy transformation from out three decades of growth as Edward Surovell Realtors to our next stage as Howard Hanna Realtors.” Hoddy Hanna added the company’s exclusive 100% Money […]