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Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, a multigenerational family-run firm founded in Pittsburgh, announced Wednesday that it has merged with Coach Realtors in New York state.
The merger will bring Long Island-based Coach’s 800 people — which includes agents, brokers and support staff — into 19 offices under the Howard Hanna umbrella and the company moving forward with the name Howard Hanna | Coach Realtors.
The new branding was already being rolled out as of Wednesday.
The deal will also give Coach agents access to an expanded referral network as well as “Howard Hanna’s innovative buying and selling programs like Rate Reducer and Buy Before You Sell,” a statement from the two companies explains. “The combined company will have about 15,800 agents spread out across 13 different states.
The companies did not share financial details of the deal. However, the statement did note that Coach “will retain its existing leadership and direction,” with current broker-owner Whitney Finn LaCosta becoming CEO of Howard Hanna | Coach Realtors.
In the statement, Finn LaCosta said she is “thrilled to join forces with Howard Hanna.”
“We’re still the same Coach Realtors people have come to know and love, and you can expect the same top-quality service from our team,” she continued. “We just have a stronger real estate network for our clients now.”
Asked about the nature of the merger in a phone call with Inman, Howard “Hoby” Hanna IV — president of Howard Hanna — said that in the past, his company has expanded via straightforward acquisitions. But he said such an approach often means that “you lose a little of that local culture.”
As a result, recent years have seen Howard Hanna favor a merger approach that involves acquiring between 60 and 80 percent of a company while leaving its leadership in place. Hanna pointed to a past such deal with Rand Realty, saying the strategy has “worked really well for us.” And though he didn’t provide specifics about the deal with Coach, he characterized it as another example of the same expansion approach.
Hanna also described the leadership team at Coach as decades-long friends.
“It’s a 30-year friendship that culminated with this announcement,” Hanna added.
Both companies have similar origin stories, the companies’ statement goes on to note. In the case of Howard Hanna, husband and wife duo Howard and Anne Hanna founded the firm in Pittsburgh’s Shady Side neighborhood in 1957. The Howard family, now in its third generation, still runs the company to this day.
Coach was founded just a few years earlier in 1954. The company still describes itself as family-run and is owned by husband and wife duo Larry and Georgianna Finn.
The statement further describes Coach as “the number one independently-owned real estate brokerage in New York state.”
Howard Hanna is consistently ranked among the largest real estate companies in the U.S. and last year landed the seventh spot on the Mega 1000 ranking of real estate brokerages by sales volume. Howard Hanna was also named Inman’s Person of the Year in 2022.
The statement from the companies ultimately describes both Howard Hanna and Coach as “heavy hitters in the national real estate market.” And they expect the merger to amplify their reach. Hanna told Inman that his company gradually expanded into New York state via mergers and acquisitions, but was still looking for ways to get onto Long Island and into New York City proper.
The newly announced merger is a step in that direction.
“We think this will springboard us,” Hanna told Inman, “into the Hamptons and New York City and the boroughs in the next year to 18 months.”
Hanna added that the response to the merger from agents at both Howard Hanna and Coach has been overwhelmingly positive.
In the statement on the merger, LP Finn — operating officer at Coach — added that Howard Hanna is “a company that we share a lot of important values with.”
“Their leadership team operates with integrity,” he added, “and they’ve shown a commitment to do right by their employees and by their community too. I can’t wait to see what we’ll be able to accomplish together.”