Howard Hanna built a great real estate business and kept it in the family

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Howard W. Hanna Jr. returned to Pittsburgh after serving in the United States Army in India during World War II and began a career at the local chamber of commerce and then joined a homebuilders association. When Mr. Hanna decided he wanted his own salon, he set up a real estate brokerage house in Pittsburgh.

To spur growth, he crafted his “seven days a day” rule: agents must talk to seven potential buyers and seven potential sellers each day, while making time to review seven properties. Mr. Hanna has diversified his business into the areas of mortgages, appraisals and insurance.

While many more have joined national brokerage chains, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services has remained a family business even though it has expanded from Pennsylvania to 10 other states. Around the age of 65, in the mid-1980s, he began handing over the management to his three children, all still active in the management of the business, which describes itself as the largest family-owned real estate brokerage in the country. country, with more than 13,000 agents. and employees.

Mr. Hanna, whose father was a salesman for the steel company Jones & Laughlin, grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mount Lebanon, where he delivered newspapers and qualified as an Eagle Scout. After retiring from the company he founded, he continued for years to send handwritten notes to each new agent hired.

He died on September 25 at the age of 101.

Mr Hanna’s family said he was an early supporter of hiring female agents and admitting black agents to multiple registration services.

Howard William Hanna Jr., the first of two sons, was born February 10, 1920. He received an undergraduate and master’s degree in commerce from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1943, he married Anne Freyvogel. She died in 2005.

Mr. Hanna is survived by three children, nine grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. He cooked chili, based on his own recipe, for charity events. He made much of his own house and built an irrigation system for his garden.

Write to James R. Hagerty at [email protected]

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