This week our Top Rated Agents series focuses on the Flint/Saginaw, Michigan area. We’re using a combination of ratings from Expertise.com and factors like social media marketing, SEO, and media coverage of real estate professionals to shine the spotlight on tried and true professionals across the nation. Here’s a short list of buyer agents with great track records despite some key shortcomings.
The agents below are listed with our top pick first based on a combination of overall ratings and a comparative analysis of their colleagues. This region of the U.S. is slightly behind the curve where progressive marketing and digital wherewithal are concerned, and this is proven to affect performance. Recent industry research suggests that 97% of all homebuyers used the internet in their home search in 2020. So, I won’t go deeper into how overall ratings of agents should include marketing prowess.
John Sedlarik is the owner/team leader at Sedlarik Group Realty, which serves Flint and the region. He too covers the gambit of buyer/seller/investor geared services for two decades. All his reviews from Google, ratemyagent, Zillow, and the rest are as close to perfect as you can get. He’s A+ in both categories on Expertise, as well. Sedlarik is an effective digital marketer, but like so many, he does not seem to put much stock in maintaining a cutting edge website.
His firm’s Facebook and Instagram campaigns are not what you would call “stunning” - but the broker does understand the necessity for branding. If he would interlink these entities, digital proponents like me, and many potential customers would take note. A final word of advice for Sedlarik’s social media team - lose the Porsches and #realtysharks hashtag.
Shawn Rowden is a RE/MAX Edge affiliated agent with excellent ratings on all the important digital channels. This Michigan professional would top our list here if it were not for a few mediocre reviews (Zillow and Facebook) and a sort-of half hearted effort with digital marketing. Rowden’s website is better than any of the others’ in this list, but where Facebook, Instagram, and other channels are concerned, there’s a lot of room for improvement. To Rowden’s credit, he is relatively new to the business compared to most of the other top agents in this region.
In a Google search, the agent does not even rate high for his own name, which is one indicator of either zero web presence, or time in the business. His bio says he’s been licensed since 2012, and a broker since 2016, which verifies my contention here. I make note of this because of something that has become apparent, something I’ll conclude this roundup with.
Edward Constable offers his expertise to home buyers and sellers in the Flint and Mid-Michigan region. According to his bio at Expertise, he’s been featured on the Discovery Channel, ESPN, HGTV, and NBC. Like other top agents in the region, Constable has stellar reviews on Google, and elsewhere, and he’s making a valiant effort at digital marketing via Facebook and Instagram. If his website were not one of the worst I’ve seen in the last decade, he’d rate higher on our list here too.
Here’s the link, but don’t go there, it’s really ugly (Sorry Ed). You’re better served to visit the broker’s Instagram here, to perhaps join his almost 3,000 followers. The Fenton, Michigan agent also maintains a personable and effective Facebook and YouTube presence. Interestingly (sadly) Constable has not publicized or linked to his videos the way he should. He’s really credible and an effective communicator via video.
Adam Abt is a NextHome Inspire agent who handles the gambit of property transitions from single or multi-family homes, to condominiums, and townhouses, and etc. Abt has been in the business for over three decades, and has established a granite solid reputation in the region. He’s not a social media superstar like similarly successful agents, but he does rate A+ for both professionalism and reputation with Expertise. We also checked other online rating services (Google, ratemyagent, etc.) and found very high reviews (4.9-5.0) for the Flint broker.
I can only speculate how effective and successful this expert agent might be if he invested more into digital marketing prowess. I suspect, like so many we’ve interviewed in the past, that Abt made an effort in the early days when these tools were first introduced, and was disappointed with results.
Scot Brothers works with The Brand Real Estate to offer the complete range of services in the Mid-Michigan area. At Expertise he’s rated A+ for both professionalism and reputation, and likewise has perfect reviews across Google, ratemyagent, Zillow, and elsewhere. On Facebook, Scott has over 60,000 following the Brand Real Estate profile, and the group posts effectively. Despite this winning number, Brothers loses a lot of points because he seems to have “set it, and let it” where his website and other digital assets are concerned.
This is a common thing for real estate professionals who have been successful in brick and mortar sales realms. This very successful professional has a total of 46 connections on LinkedIn. I think Julius Caesar has more. I checked over at Homelight to find out how he’s gained top-seller status without marketing and perhaps it's his focus on the short sale? Anyhow, Brothers gets my last spot because of the lost potential. Oh, and Scot, make sure there is at least a usable photograph of you on the internet somewhere. Being invisible, well, it means you're invisible.
Most of these professional agent/broker roundups do not have a section for elaborating on particular real estate professionals or the markets they serve. However, in the case of this part of Michigan something telling comes up. To be blunt, it’s almost as if the Flint/Saginaw region has been caught in some kind of a time warp marketing wise. I know this part of the country has suffered economically compared to many other reasons, but for professionals in this business, to be caught walking behind pigeons when sales are crucial is significant. Let me quote from the National Association of Realtors here:
“An online presence is a vital component of a real estate professional's marketing strategy. Because today's consumers want accurate information quickly and conveniently, real estate professionals must harness the features and capabilities of online marketing to meet these ever-increasing needs.”
So, here’s the thing. Not one of the top real estate professionals in this region who are listed on Expertise.com, or via Google, for that matter, is doing what’s necessary to beat their competition. This 101 from the Digital Marketing Institute is a decent primer, but nobody in Flint, Michigan is paying any attention. It’s catch, as catch can, in my opinion. One agent has a decent Facebook engagement, or perhaps an email marketing aspect, but those facets link to a crappy website, insignificant Instagram, or in a worse case, a crummy Zillow review. I am sorry to report this, but I do hope these professionals take the criticism in the spirit which it’s intended.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Vince Lombardi