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Searching for Rhode Island's Top Property Pros

This week we continue our quest to showcase some of America’s top real estate professionals. The focus today is on the Providence, Rhode Island market. We’ve also isolated yet another tool to help us compare and showcase great industry professionals. So, perhaps we’ll learn a bit more about how to discover the best of the best in this session. 

Providence, Rhode Island's Woonasquatucket -Sharon Hahn Darlin River

PropertySpark comes into frame as something of an attempt at differentiating agents and brokers in social media. We’re trying platforms like HomeLight, Google, Zillow, and others in order to give consumers a more complete picture, so this one should be interesting. Though cross-references just got a lot harder. Interestingly, what we found this week says a lot about best digital practices for rating industry pros. I’ll explain in the summary. 

 

The first Rhode Island agent who popped up on PropertySpark, Google, and the other platforms is Reena Gleason, a Warwick, RI agent in the top 5 on RateMyAgent, and rated very highly on Google and other platforms. According to PropertySpark she’s the 16th most effective area real estate professional on social media. I can’t agree here, since Gleason’s Instagram post frequency and quality is just not as rock-star solid as some of the others. I’d also rate her Facebook fluency as “good” rather than extraordinary. 

 The Re/max Advantage Group has a website, but it’s not currently SEO friendly enough to even have a MOZ rating. Her 4.9 Google rating with 30 reviews is respectable. She’s in position #5 on RateMyAgent with perfect reviews from 46 reviewers. Gleason also took home a 2022 award. The agent/consultant is also perfect on Zillow.

Our next Rhode Island agent, Rachael Dotson, would actually top this list (except). So the reader knows, I had to ditch the previous methodology, which I will explain in a moment, to find this top-selling Residential Properties Ltd. professional. Filtering 5-star-only Google reviews (72) proved to be ultimately effective in several categories. Her SEO is not bad either, since her website has a domain authority of 44. And now for the bad news. 

Dead social media links and abandoned Facebook profiles don’t indicate an all-encompassing passion for real estate marketing. Dotson shared a photo of a chicken in a coop on her Instagram 5 days ago, and her personal Facebook seems to have been given up on in 2021. Here business Instagram presence is slightly better (link to this one Rachael). Residential Properties does have over 4,000 followers, but their presence is not world-shaking either. This just goes to show, as we’ve seen before, that an agent can sell one heck of a lot of houses without bothering with all the sales channels. But, the question remains…..?

Karl Martone’s company website is an SEO and design mess (DA 16? New site?). That said, the Smithfield agent does have perfect Google reviews, and knows how to run Google ads! The Martone Group social engagement is pretty good, as well. In the business since 1985, Martone’s overall brand is heavy when compared to these newer agents. 

What sells me on this real estate professional are the 160 Zillow 5-star reviews to add to the 5-star rating from Google, and the longstanding reputation only a little bit of research can uncover. Another indicator is the fact Martone has been on Twitter since 2009, just two years after the platform launched. While the agent’s reach is not anything to brag about, what this means is he is sticking with it even if the ROI is not always there from the Twittersphere.

The marketing funnel is all about channels and engaging customers where they prefer you reach them. Bottom line is, that Martone is efforting digital optimization. 500+ connections and an active LinkedIn engagement also speak volumes about this veteran industry pro. Finally, this PR Newswire release about one of Martone Group’s superstars cinches it. Karl is the agent I’d call to buy or sell a home in this region. The man is spending the time, money, and resources to get the job done for his clients. The fact that Martone is seldom photographed alone, also tells me something.

The Lila Delman agency rounds out our list. Here, the saying Domain authority 50 for a local real estate agent’s website! It’s unheard of. Unfortunately, some dead links and a few other slipups indicate this great site was a victim of some shift in focus. If you watch the Lila Delman Compass Youtube intro to learn how her mother started this family business, you get the feeling this is a smart lady with just the right combination of expertise and authentic caring, created something lasting and important. With the untimely passing of Melanie Delman, the family-run agency is now operated by Pamela Delman-Hodnet (at left) and John Hodnet.   

Delman might even beat out Martone if not for these tiny discrepancies/incongruities. On Zillow she’s perfect (59 reviews), the agency’s Facebook presence has nearly flawless postings (4.3 rating), and there’s over 15,000 Instagram followers. Unfortunately, some recent Google reviews hammered Delman’s  Narragansett, Rhode Island Google location presence (3.3-stars). The Providence Google business profile is stellar. I am not sure what happened. Anyway, if I were in the market for a high-end beach property, Delman would be my choice. Besides, she and my Mom shared the same name 🙂

Takeaway Points

After isolating Reena Gleason using PropertySpark with RateMyAgent, and cross referencing Google and Zillow reviews, I was forced to drop the social and the agent rating platform because of impossible inconsistencies. The fact that the social tool rated some agents very high, even though those agents stopped posting over a year ago, is but one discrepancy. See #1 Rhode Island Mike Forte Real Estate on PropertySpark). I checked others in this region, as well, with similar poor results. That said, I also decided to dump RateMyAgent for similar reasons. At the end of the day correlating limited reviews that do not match other criteria, is just not the way to go for analysts or real estate clients. 

On a special note, Jeff St. Germain of Keller Williams should get a special mention here because he was tops on RateMyAgent, and he is consistently rated highly on Google, at Zillow, etc. With that acquiescence let me turn to HomeLight and other prominent platforms that serve as lead generators. My bottom line here is, property buyers or sellers should not have to opt into these platforms to glean results. I, for one, am just not going to sign up anymore just to see a rating that to some extent, is arbitrary. As I am seeing with these other services, digging for the top industry professional in anything is largely subjective. 

So far I am thinking a system of Google/Zillow ratings/numbers is going to be the best basis for creating a deeper database of top real estate operators. A 5-star review by itself, has very little meaning when compared to a matrix of data covering brand, reputation, success ratios, things like time on the market, social and traditional media prowess, SEO, innovation, etc. Ultimately, there has to be a better way of scrutinizing professionals you do not know so that your experience/relationships stand a better chance of success. We will keep working on this. 

Photo credit: Feature image courtesy Sharon Hahn Darlin

Al Twitty

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