Redmond, Wash., July 13, 1998 — From Wall Street to Main Street, people agree there has never been a better time to buy a home. With Americans buying homes at a record rate, prospective homebuyers are in hot pursuit of the information they need to make smart purchasing decisions. The new Microsoft HomeAdvisor online real-estate service gives consumers control of the home-buying process – from finding the right house to qualifying for a loan — by providing the most comprehensive, integrated home-buying site on the Internet.
HomeAdvisor, available free on the Internet at (http://www.homeadvisor.com/) (connect-time charges may apply), walks home seekers step-by-step through the arduous home-buying process. The five main areas of HomeAdvisor – Getting Started, Neighborhoods, Homes, Financing, and Offer and Closing – are designed around the tasks and information that consumers told Microsoft they needed most:
Getting Started provides a road map to the overall process, from determining the best time to buy and how much home seekers can afford to finding an agent and reviewing step-by-step checklists.
Neighborhoods helps users find their ideal community by integrating information on schools, crime and demographics in one easy-to-use neighborhood finder.
Homes provides nationwide home listings, which include pictures that are updated daily from leading multiple-listing services and real-estate brokerages across the country. Users can easily search for homes based on criteria such as price or number of bedrooms, or by comparing two homes side by side.
Financing offers users the ability to qualify for a mortgage loan free of charge in about 15 minutes. In addition, there are negotiation tips and tools to help homeowners determine if it’s a good time to refinance, and users have direct access to lenders so that they can apply for a loan online.
Offer and Closing provides information and tips on how to make the right offer on a house, an explanation of closing forms and inspection expectations, and comprehensive lists of local closing service providers in all 50 states. In addition, the innovative Defect Detector feature provides a database of more than 400 potential inspection issues, which includes pictures, descriptions and tips.
To help save time, consumers can personalize HomeAdvisor based on their individual needs and preferences. This means buyers can ask HomeAdvisor to be on the lookout for their favorite house. The Home Tracker feature in HomeAdvisor sends e-mails to buyers when a home that meets their needs becomes available, and alerts them to new information about any homes they’ve been considering. Rate Tracker, an innovative financing tool, sends e-mail notifications when interest rates change or if a loan product that meets buyers’ requirements becomes available.
HomeAdvisor was developed in conjunction with Realtors and other leaders from the real-estate and mortgage-lending industries. The result is a comprehensive online home-buying service for consumers that also creates new business opportunities for real-estate agents and other industry professionals.