SPOTLIGHT ON: Joseph Rand, HGAR 2020 Realtor of the Year
Thirty-year real estate veteran Joseph Rand knows a lot of things. The Chief Creative Officer of Howard Hanna/Rand Realty knows what it takes to be a success in real estate, how to be a great speaker and industry spokesperson, and also how to write two best-selling real estate books.
However, there’s one huge, important thing that Rand did not know—that he was going to be named the HGAR 2020 “Realtor of the Year” at the association’s October 28 Virtual Members Day. “I have to say I was really surprised,” he admitted. “I had no idea at all and I am extremely honored and personally touched by it.”
Rand had received a text from his brother, Matt, the day before, leading him to believe that former MLS President Renee Zurlo was getting the coveted award. (Zurlo actually did win the HGAR “Realtor of the Year” award in 2018). “So, I’m sitting there in front of my computer, waiting to hear Renee’s name, and as I’m listening to the winner’s description, I heard them mention Inman and RIS Media and I’m thinking, “Hey that sounds like me,” he recalled.
When he finally heard his name, Rand was stunned. “At that point, my wife came into the room, holding the award, as I was fumbling to fix up my disheveled hair and button up my shirt! Those awards usually go to people who are heavily involved with the HGAR Board of Directors or committees, so this was very special for me,” said Rand.
For Rand, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Broker Public Portal with Homesnap, real estate has always been a part of his life. Growing up in a real estate family, he often accompanied his mother, Marsha Rand, to the office or open houses. As a teen, he helped clean the offices and mow lawns at vacant homes. He also worked in the office every summer during his college years and first year of law school. “My dad was a doctor and I did work with him one summer, but it wasn’t as much fun as the real estate office,” he revealed.
However, real estate was not his first career choice. After earning a law degree, Rand served as an attorney for a Wall Street firm, as well as a law professor with Brooklyn Law School and Fordham University. “Law was supposed to be my career path, but I wasn’t really very happy,” he said. After constant coaxing from his brothers. Matt and Greg, he decided to take the plunge into real estate part time in 2001 at their New City office. In another six months, Rand became a full-time real estate professional.
Later, his youngest brother, Dan, joined the business and the whole family began working together. “Yes, sometimes we disagreed, but it did bring us closer together as a family,” Rand added. “We all have our different areas of expertise and it’s really been a great experience.”
The Rand office continued to grow and in 2009, they joined forces with Better Homes and Gardens to become Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. Earlier this year, the firm’s franchise agreement with Better Homes ended, and now Rand is part of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. “I got to know the Hanna family through the Realty Alliance and they are also family-owned and operated,” explained Rand. “I had a wonderful experience with them and our backgrounds are similar. I saw a great opportunity to be part of the largest independent real estate firm in the country.”
Today, the residential brokerage firm the family opened in 1984 now has more than 1,000 real estate sales associates and offices throughout the Bronx, northern New Jersey, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess Rockland and Orange counties. The company also owns and operates Hudson United, offering mortgage, title and insurance services, and a commercial brokerage division, Rand Commercial.
Howard Hanna/Rand Realty plans to keep expanding, looking for areas where a strong real estate presence is lacking or for smaller companies who may be a good fit for their business model.
In the meantime, Rand plans to also continue his role as a speaker and industry spokesperson. “I got to know people from attending conferences and someone saw me speaking and suggested me to the Inman annual conference,” he said. “That went well and I started to pick up more events, interviews and invitations to sit on panels.”
Rand continues to be a sought-after speaker, as well as featured guest on various radio and television shows, sharing his insights about the real estate industry. He is a regular contributor to Inman Media and has been a featured speaker at Real Estate Connect, the RISMedia CEO Conference, the Women’s Council of Realtors Annual Conference, Triple Play and many other industry events. He has also been honored by RISMedia with an industry Newsmaker Award and recognized by Inman News as one of the Top 100 Real Estate Influencers.
And if that’s not enough, Rand has also authored two books: “Disruptors, Discounters, and Doubters” and “How to be a Great Real Estate Agent.” The first book, published in 2018, discusses what’s wrong in the industry and how to fix those things, while the second, from 2019, deals with proper training that can lead an agent to success.
Rand admits he worked on both books for about eight years. His original intent was to pen just one book, but halfway through, he realized he needed to create two different books.
Working feverishly in 2017 to complete the books, Rand took advantage of a missed flight to a Colorado convention to hold up in his Point Pleasant Beach vacation home to do just that. “Everyone thought I’d be away, so no one was expecting me to return home. I told my wife where I was but swore her to secrecy,” he joked. “I didn’t check my e-mail or voice mail for three days and ended up writing about 50 pages and an outline for the remainder of the books. That was the momentum to get me started.”
Looking ahead to 2021, Rand is optimistic about the residential real estate market, but predicts that the mass migration from Manhattan and the rest of New York City will slow down a bit. “I think anyone who was on the fence about moving to the suburbs just decided to move forward with that during the height of the pandemic,” he said. “I think we’ll still continue to see more buyers than sellers in the suburbs, but things may start to stabilize.”
Rand currently serves on HGAR’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, and always stays involved with his local community in Rockland County. When the pandemic first hit our area, Rand participated in a walk that raised thousands of dollars for local hospitals. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Linie and children Jake, 10, Aurelia, 8, and their three dogs.
Even after so many years in the industry, Rand can still remember back to when he first earned his real estate license at the age of 18. “I did a lot of lead generation back then and tried to sell at least one house during the summer,” he said. “That was my beer money for the year!”