Merge could benefit county’s housing market

Kyle Roerink

Howard Hanna and Realty One now joined

Two family-owned real estate companies became each other’s kin in an acquisition last weekend that will change the landscape of Northeast Ohio’s housing and commercial property markets.

Howard Hanna, the region’s largest real estate company, bought Real Living Realty One, the second largest realty company in Northeast Ohio.

Howard Hanna, a Pittsburgh-based company, has not disclosed how much it paid for Realty One.

The acquisition gives Howard Hanna 37 percent of the sales market in 21 Northeast Ohio counties, according to the company’s Web site.

The site also states that Howard Hanna’s presence in the region has now doubled. It has 79 offices and 2,804 sales associates in 21 counties in Ohio.

Marc Hustek, a former Realty One real estate agent, who is now an employee for Howard Hanna, said the merging of the two companies is paramount because it will help to sell homes at a quicker pace than they have before.

“Real estate is real estate,” Hustek said. “There is always going to be a leader – that is what competition is all about. (The acquisition) gives the customer an opportunity to get their homes sold quicker.”

Hustek said the acquisition of Realty One by Howard Hanna will be seamless because both of the companies’ philosophies and business strategies are similar.

Smaller agencies in Northeast Ohio were accusing Howard Hanna of trying to become a monopoly, according to The Plain Dealer.

“Obviously if I was a small company, I would look at that,” Hustek said, adding that there is still 63 percent of the sales market available.

Marc Davila, freshman architectural studies major, worked for Realty One and is now a real estate agent for Howard Hanna.

He said the acquisition will benefit Portage County because of the marketing and professionalism Howard Hanna provides.

“The buying out of Realty One by Howard Hanna was a tremendous surprise to me,” he said. “At first I didn’t know what to think. After I was fully informed about the buyout, the transition didn’t seem that bad.

“I didn’t want to lose any of the great tools that Realty One offered me.”

Davila said that he was comforted when he learned that many of the tools Realty One offered its agents would accompany them through the transition. And at the same time, he was excited to learn about Howard Hanna’s sales techniques.

“I was educated about the tools that Howard Hanna uses, like the money-back guarantee and the buy before you sell program,” he said. “They give the buyers and sellers more opportunities. It helps them find a property before they sell a property.”

Davila said Howard Hanna’s new slogan conveys the excitement surrounding the acquisition: “When two great companies combine, the magic begins.”

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Kyle Roerink at [email protected].