Andy Collins has been selling houses since 1969.

This week, he sold his real estate firm, Morgan-Collins Inc., to Pittsburgh-based Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

"It's just like selling a home," said CEO Howard "Hoddy" Hanna III. "The buyer paid too much."

"And the seller didn't get enough," Collins said.

That's all the two realtors would say about the price tag of the deal they announced Thursday afternoon at the Country Club of York.

"We've shaken hands and are still friends," Collins said with a laugh.

"We have no shareholders to answer to," Hanna said.

Lighthearted joking aside, both buyer and seller agreed the merger was a positive move for the companies, the agents and York consumers.

"We see an opportunity for growth here, with the close proximity to the east coast, and Baltimore and (Washington), D.C., markets. It's a wonderful place to live," Hanna said. "This is our kind of community."

The deal marks Howard Hanna's third acquisition this year, as the firm continues on its path this year to reach $8 billion in closed sales - a 25 percent increase from last year.

Some of that money will be invested in the York market, where the firm plans to add two offices, 40 to 50 real estate agents and additional staff in the next two to three months, Hanna said.

All Morgan-Collins employees will be retained, and Collins will serve as corporate vice president and associate broker of Howard Hanna.


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He will continue to manage the York offices in Spring Garden Township and Shrewsbury, where signage was changing Thursday to reflect the Howard Hanna brand. Those offices will become full-service locations, offering mortgage, title and insurance services.

"I have no intention of retiring," Collins said. "I wanted (the merger) to offer more services to our agents and clients."

Howard Hanna has 150 offices and more than 5,000 employees throughout Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia. The merger will allow the firm to now sell homes in Maryland.

Last year, the company sold more than 41,000 homes last year and is the largest real estate company in Pennsylvania and Ohio. It's the fourth-largest home seller in the U.S.

By comparison, Morgan-Collins has two offices, 50 employees and sold more than 1,200 homes last year.

Morgan-Collins agents will also be able to utilize services Howard Hanna offers to its employees, such as the income advantage which offers agents a reliable monthly income regardless of closing dates.

"That's something I was not able to do as a sole proprietor," Collins said.

- Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.