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Real estate search: the consumer perspective

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I usually write columns for an audience of real estate professionals and the vendors and service organizations that work with them. But for the next couple of columns I'm going to switch perspectives a bit to the part of the real estate industry that matters the most: the people looking for houses or wanting to sell them: consumers. In my work I consult with a pretty broad spectrum of the real estate industry around issues of reaching and helping consumers, and hopefully this discussion of the consumer's search experience will be beneficial to industry practitioners as well. Starting with search There are a lot of different ways a person can go about finding a new house to live in. One of the first ways to sort of window-shop for a place to live is to hit up a search engine. Data from Google points out searches for real estate in the U.S. relative to the total share of searches in the U.S. has a big spike in January and then starts to fade over the course of the year. So...