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Four of Salt Lake City's "Go To" Real Estate Sales Superstars

By Phil Butler | October 12, 2022

Salt Lake City, Utah, was ranked the top housing market in the United States after the coronavirus pandemic. Home prices in the region skyrocketed as historically low interest rates, and low unemployment took hold. Fast forward to today, and a recession has spurred interest rates upward, job growth is stagnant, and home prices are already coming down. 

A region where houses were essentially selling themselves may soon be a challenging and ultra-competitive market. One indicator the booming market may be sagging came when August 2022 sales dropped 23.7% from the previous year. So, it seems like a look at some of the region’s most talented and successful agents may be overdue. Here are four of Salt Lake City’s best. 

A lot of people follow Joel Carson on Facebook. And even though his team is not posting as much as they should be, the guy who says he’s Salt Lake City’s top agent sure does seem to be. He’s not at the top of the Google search page, even though he has 70+ perfect reviews. But he is a Zillow Premier ad buyer with almost 300 perfect votes. Newsweek said he’s tops too, and 16,000 plus Facebook pals tell me the guy knows his way around marketing. Okay, his website sucks. 

The SEO is barely acceptable at 67/100. But his Instagram engagement more than makes up for this. And nearly 2,000 Youtube subscribers get the benefit of his expertise. Or, I should say, they once did. It seems like Joel left off creating videos a couple of years ago. Those houses are jumping into buyers' hands off of his listings. I’ll bet. 

Joshua Stern
Screen capture from Joshua Stern's informative Youtube channel

Suppose you Google “top agents in Salt Lake City,” Joshua Stern’s agency pops up immediately, not because of an ad. The Stern Team has 750 excellent reviews and an online presence that eclipses the competition in the region. The Stern Team is also perfect on Zillow, with 177 reviews. Ordinarily, these reputation-indicative numbers would catapult any regional real estate player into superhero status. 

As impressive as these reviews are, this prolific agent’s other efforts lag a bit. Stern’s website is pitiful for its SEO (61/100) and aesthetics (ugh). And even though the team has 5,100+ positive reviews on Facebook, the channel is underused. Ditto on Instagram, where posting is cold and corporate and is less frequent than it should be. One hundred forty-two subscribers to the team’s Youtube channel can attest to Joshua Stern’s expertise and good video presence. Unfortunately, this channel is also underutilized. Maybe houses selling themselves had something to do with this? 

Michael Perry of The Perry Group via Facebook

By many accounts, the Salt Lake City region’s top-rated agency is The Perry Group. Zillow and Google reviews reveal a massive branding footprint with over 2,000 near-perfect rankings. Co-founded by Jack Perry and his son Michael, the real estate firm covers the gambit of traditional and digital PR, marketing, and advertising expertise, as well as any we’ve seen. They ticked all the conventional media boxes, the Zillow ads, almost everything. And then we looked deeper. 

Their website is not perfect, but an SEO score of 78/100 is respectable. The group has a well-run Instagram profile too, but on the downside, it looks like they shuttered their Facebook for some reason. A dead link on the website tells us something went wrong. I did, however, find an excellent profile where Michael Perry is sporadically engaged. Then the real problem for them hits like a sledgehammer. On an obscure Twitter account, the group claims they use “unparalleled technology.” Ouch. Never, ever make a claim that is not pointedly evident. 

Even some very successful real estate professionals are just not that prolific online - I had to use this image of Magnotta

It doesn’t seem like Berkshire Hathaway agent Matthew Magnotta overthinks about home buyers on Facebook. Despite perfect aesthetics and excellent posts, his team isn’t prolific there. This is strange, given that Newsweek says he sold $74,520,333.33 in only 48 deals to get to the magazine’s No.2 spot behind Joel Carlson. The stunning website developed by Luxury Preference has not been utilized properly. The SEO score of 72/100 is a shame. The site is that nice. I guess his directorship of Argent, Deer Valley's Newest Ski in/out luxury condominiums is a kind of “set it and let it” money maker. 

The dead link to Instagram is a giveaway, as well. To be honest, Matthew made it to this list solely because Salt Lake City digital real estate marketers are just that thin. I found the Newsweek listing extremely useful and informative once I tracked down all the top sellers in the region. Like many US agents, most of the professionals in this region say they leverage heaven and earth for their clients, but the facts say otherwise. As for Magnotta, who can blame him for leaning on a sure thing and gold mining a niche? If you want a stunning Deer Valley condo, he’s probably the guy to see.

The Takeaway

After weeks and weeks of pounding out every conceivable method for comparing US real estate agents, it’s abundantly clear there is no objective method. Salt Lake City is a perfect example of how Google, Zillow, and other rating platforms leave much to be desired. As a buyer or seller, you simply cannot certify who is best to serve your needs. As you can see from my searches, the digital web itself is the scaling matrix. Google 5-star reviews by the ton can lead you to a winner, but so much is left unsaid when using ratings alone. It took me several hours to put this list together. And I found a sad reality an editor of mine mouthed not too long ago. “Phil, real estate people are simply not all that exceptional on the whole,” he sighed in frustration. That said, when we find a superstar, the experience is just that much more uplifting. 

We are still hunting for Superman and Wonder Woman. Let us know if you see either of them.    

Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.
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