Google finds 2 out of 3 house hunters research agents online

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Real estate agents have a better chance of pitching themselves to potential clients in person if they're easy to find online, data from search giant Google shows. Half of prospective homebuyers  get serious about looking for a home 6 to 12 months before buying, and about three-quarters start within a year of the purchase, according to a consumer survey Google conducted in April. Of those prospective homebuyers, 2 in 3 said they research agents "extensively" online before working with them, the search giant said in an article detailing its findings. "It’s no surprise that people devote a lot of time and research to buying a home -- it’s a major life event," Google analysts said. "On top of that, it’s likely to happen around other significant moments. For example, people searching about real estate listings are (five times) more likely to search about planning for retirement and (four times) more likely to search about finding child care." Shopping habits and brand l...