Three area real estate agencies have merged with Pittsburgh-based Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

Effective Wednesday, Kuzneski & Lockard Inc. of Indiana and Latrobe, Chestnut Ridge Realty of Indiana and Blairsville, and Susan Moore Real Estate in Latrobe all will be known as Howard Hanna Kuzneski & Lockard Inc., with offices in Indiana and Latrobe.

“Kuzneski & Lockard is the largest independent real estate company in Indiana County,” Howard Hanna Senior Vice President for Franchising Tom Schoeller said. “This will triple our market share.”

The newly combined operation has 31 practicing brokers and real estate agents, as well as an administrative staff of six, in Indiana County and eastern Westmoreland County.

“We are very excited to become part of the Howard Hanna family of companies,” said Doug Lockard, K&L broker of record. “Joining talents with Peggy Kinter, Sue Moore and their experienced staff of real estate agents expands our reach immediately, and reinforces our ongoing commitment and dedication to serving our client’s real estate needs.”

Lockard said the deal closed on April 30 and all the notices and license transfers were accepted as of Monday by the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Real Estate Commission.

“Once the dust settles,” Lockard said, “we expect to hire additional agents in both offices (and) we expect to be hiring additional administrative staff.”

Schoeller said the negotiations “date back to an initial conversation two years ago,” though talks picked up in the last six months before an agreement was reached.

The merger brings the local operations under the umbrella of a Pittsburgh-based, family-owned firm founded 62 years ago by Howard and Anne Freyvogel Hanna. Susan Moore Real Estate already was a Howard Hanna affiliate.

“I oversee all the franchise companies,” said Schoeller, who predicted “great things for buyers and sellers alike” in Indiana County and the region along the Laurel Highlands in Westmoreland County.

That firm in turn has become the third-largest real estate company in the country, with homes to offer in Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia as well as Pennsylvania.

It also is the largest privately owned broker in the nation, as well as the largest home seller in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and the Carolinas.

Earlier this year Howard Hanna completed a partnership with the Allen Tate Companies in Charlotte, N.C., which had been the nation’s 14th-largest real estate company. The combined company has 312 offices and more than 11,000 associates and staff.

Howard Hanna Kuzneski & Lockard will operate out of 101 Heritage Run Road in White Township, and at 2822 Ligonier St. in Latrobe.