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More people than ever are using the Internet to search for their next home. A joint study from NAR and Google revealed that real estate-related Google searches grew 253 percent over the past four years. The study, The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate, focuses on the connection between consumer Internet use and online home searches and shopping patterns.

The analysis shows buyers tend to rely on search engines and general websites in the beginning of the process, use maps in the middle, and mobile applications toward the end of their search. First-time buyers typically searched terms like “FHA loan,” “FHA,” “home grants,” “home loan,” and “home buyer assistance.”

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Where to go for help… The 2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showed multiple listing service websites and Realtor.com were the top websites used in home searches. Talk to buyers about their search process. Where do they begin? How has their Realtor® helped guide them through the process?