The strategic partnership was in discussions for over a year and includes the purchase of an office in New York City and 27 offices across New York and New Jersey.

Howard Hanna Real Estate Services closed a deal to partner with Rand Realty late Tuesday, according to an announcement, effectively allowing the Pittsburgh-based brokerage to make inroads across New Jersey and New York state, where city dwellers have fled in recent months to avoid the pandemic.

The strategic partnership by Howard Hanna and Rand Realty, formerly Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, was in discussions for over a year, and includes the purchase of one office in New York City and 27 offices across suburban New Jersey and New York, including Rockland, Orange and Westchester counties.

The Rand family will continue to operate the newly announced company as Howard Hanna | Rand Realty.

Joseph Rand

“We still are owners of the company, me and my family,” Joseph Rand, now chief creative officer of the new company, told Inman. “They took an investment in the company to help us grow. We want to continue to build out, and we thought the best way to do that would be to bring in a partner who’s got resources and national weight. They’re a huge company — they’re the third biggest company by units in the country. And I think in this industry, there’s two ways: You can either be really big, or you can be really small, and you can’t be in the middle. And this helps us become much bigger, and that’s what we want to be.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. But, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the partnership will effectively make Howard Hanna the largest homeseller in New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina.

As Rand Realty’s franchise agreement was about to expire with Better Homes and Gardens, Howard Hanna seemed like a natural new partner, Rand told Inman.

“As we started to get to the end of our franchise agreement, we started to … weigh our options,” Rand said. “It’s really nice to align ourselves with another family company. The Hannas are an extraordinarily warm family. They’re really lovely people, they’re professionals, they’ve lived and grown up in the real estate business just like we did. So we’re very aligned.”

Howard W. “Hoby” Hanna, IV, president of Howard Hanna, echoed Rand’s sentiment that the partnership was a natural fit, given the two families’ history in the industry and similar business philosophy.

Howard “Hoby” Hanna, IV

“We’ve had a professional and industry friendship with the Rand family going back for years,” Hanna told Inman.

“We’ve found that as we create these partnerships and we invest money into businesses, we want to keep the owners and entrepreneurs who have been there as partners, if they want to be,” he added. “We’ll still buy companies where ownership wants to exit, but we’ve found that to create partnerships with owners who still want to be in the business is a little bit different model than some of the other players who buy into your company and say ‘Ok, I’m riding off into the sunset …’ I really value local operators who know their local market traditions and concerns and say ‘Here’s what we need to do’ and then say ‘Well, what can Hanna bring to the table?’ and then ‘What can we learn from a company operating in other markets?’”

Rand Realty is established in markets throughout northern New Jersey and the suburbs of northern New York City. In 2019, the company reported closed sales volume of more than $2 billion and over 6,000 homes sold. It has more than 1,000 residential real estate sales associates, as well as a commercial real estate arm and an operation that provides title services, mortgage lending and other services.

Howard Hanna’s total sales volume in 2019 across all regions clocked in at over $22 billion with more than 100,000 homes sold.

“[Rand Realty] enjoyed significant growth during their nearly 12-year affiliation with the BHGRE brand,” a press statement from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate stated. “Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate is proud to have supported Marsha, Matt, Joe, Dan and their affiliated agents to become the company they are today. We wish them the best in this next chapter of their company’s story.”

Email Lillian Dickerson

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