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Brokerage Beat: News from Corcoran, The Agency, Hanna 

Corcoran expands in Houston, opens first Canadian office; The Agency moves into Cleveland; Howard Hanna acquires century-old Lancaster County firm.

October 28, 2023
4 minutes

Editor's note: The brokerage business is a busy one, with frequent moves, mergers and milestones. Here we highlight some of the latest activity among brokerages across the U.S.

Corcoran adds Houston franchise, launches in Canada

Corcoran Group is making moves, from the southern U.S. to the country's neighbor to the north.


The company announced the addition of a new Houston-area franchise, Corcoran Prestige Realty, owned by Founder and CEO James Krueger.

James Krueger, Corcoran Prestige Realty.
James Krueger, Corcoran Prestige Realty.

The location is Corcoran's second outpost in the metro area after Corcoran Ferester Realty, which services northern Houston and The Woodlands. 

"Introducing Corcoran Prestige Realty in Houston is a pivotal addition to our expanding international affiliate network, not only bolstering our footprint in the greater Houston market, but also strengthening our presence in the South-Central region," Corcoran Group President and CEO Pamela Liebman said in the announcement. 

Krueger, a Texas native who hails from the Houston area, attended Texas A&M University and founded Krueger Real Estate in 2014. Since then, his team has grown to over 40 agents and support staff. 

Corcoran cites numerous benefits of its expansion in the Houston area, including the area's growing economy, affordable cost of living, and its expanding population, which all bode well for real estate professionals serving the market. 


In addition to its expansion in Texas, Corcoran has also announced its first franchise in Canada. The new Corcoran Horizon Realty office is owned and operated by CEO Cliff Rego and will service the greater Toronto metropolitan area.

Cliff Rego, Corcoran Horizon Realty.
Cliff Rego, Corcoran Horizon Realty.

"Toronto is a dynamic city and a world leader in business, finance, and culture — I can't think of a better market for Corcoran's entry into Canada," Liebman said of the launch.

Previously known as Rego Realty, the new Corcoran Horizon team includes over 55 agents and support staff, as well as two offices. Rego started his company in 2003 and has closed over $3 billion (Canadian) in real estate. 

Toronto has been the epicenter of a real estate boom since the pandemic, and a key launching point for Corcoran, Liebman added.

"Cliff and his incredible organization are ideal partners as we continue our global expansion and I'm eager to unveil all that Corcoran has to offer consumers and real estate professionals across Ontario."

The Agency takes on Cleveland

The Agency has announced the launch of a new franchise office in the Cleveland area, which also marks the company's entry into Ohio. The office will be led by managing partners David Ayers and Nick Zawit and serve both the city and suburbs.

David Ayers and Nick Zawitz, The Agency Cleveland.
David Ayers and Nick Zawitz, The Agency Cleveland.

"Given the incredible quality of life and prospering residential market, we know that Cleveland is the perfect fit for our entry into Ohio," Jim Ramsay, EVP of Franchise Sales at The Agency said in the announcement. "We are always looking to promote and capitalize on emerging markets within the U.S. and look forward to seeing The Agency Cleveland thrive."

Ayers, the leader of The Foundry Group, previously spent a decade serving Manhattan's real estate market. He grew up in Columbus and returned to Ohio in 2020. Throughout his career, Ayers has closed over half a billion dollars in real estate volume, the company said. 

Zawitz has lived in Cleveland for more than 30 years, and began working as a sales professional right out of high school. He works with buyers, sellers and investors throughout the greater metropolitan area. 

The Agency has launched 22 new offices this year, the company said, and is planning more in the coming months. The new Cleveland-area office will be based in suburban Chagrin Falls.

Welcome Home Real Estate joins Howard Hanna

Howard Hanna Real Estate Services (HHRES) is merging with Pennsylvania's Welcome Home Real Estate, the companies announced this week. 

Michelle Wiley, Welcome Home Real Estate | Howard Hanna.
Michelle Wiley, Welcome Home Real Estate | Howard Hanna.

Based in Lancaster County, Welcome Home Real Estate is notable for being the oldest real estate firm in the county, having been in continuous operation since 1892.

But it's the shared background as family-run businesses that was a major selling point for both companies to join forces, leaders said. 

"As a family-owned and -operated real estate firm, we're excited to partner with another family firm that shares our values and culture," Dennis Cestra, HHRES president for Pennsylvania said. "This partnership will double our market share in Lancaster County, which translates to greater opportunities for our agents and clients."

Michelle Wiley, Welcome Home's owner and president since 1996, said another benefit for her firm was Howard Hanna's "innovative products and services" that will enable the company's agents to provide their clients with "a better real estate transaction experience."

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