MSN HomeAdvisor Adds Second Mortgage Loans

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 19, 1999 — The MSN TM HomeAdvisor TM online real estate service, the award-winning guide to finding homes and loans on the Web, today announced the addition of second mortgage loans to its database of loan products. Second mortgages, also called home equity loans, allow homeowners to borrow against the portion of their home that they already own. These home equity loans will be offered by leading mortgage lenders on HomeAdvisor and, along with a new streamlined loan application process, provide a fast and easy way for consumers to comfortably finance that major project – whether it’s remodeling the kitchen, adding a deck or even paying for college tuition.

The announcement follows the recent addition of rich new content areas provided by Sears, Roebuck and Co., in the home improvement area of HomeAdvisor, created to help consumers with every aspect of home improvement projects. Through its relationships with Sears and ImproveNet Inc., HomeAdvisor provides complete home ownership information, including a Sears appliance and tools shopping area; access to Sears’ nationwide professional services through online repair service requests; a Home and Garden area featuring Microsoft® Sidewalk® buyer’s guides; and a remodeling information area with designs, products and other resources.

“The addition of home equity loans is a natural extension for HomeAdvisor as the online lending market continues to skyrocket,”
said Ian Morris, group product manager for MSN HomeAdvisor.
“This assortment of tools and editorial content, coupled with home equity loans from the nation’s leading lending institutions, makes MSN HomeAdvisor the definitive source for all home improvement needs.”

Over the past decade, the home equity lending industry has become a substantial segment of the nation’s economy. According to the National Home Equity Mortgage Association, more than 4 million home equity loans were originated in 1997 alone, totaling $268 billion. With the rapid growth of the online lending industry, home equity loans are the next logical step when it comes to online mortgage originations. Forrester Research has predicted home equity loan activity will significantly increase by 2001 as refinancing slows and multilender marketplaces expand their offerings. With the overall market poised to surge to $167.6 billion by 2003, Forrester’s report concludes that lenders cannot afford to delay moving online.

“HomeAdvisor and its participating lenders are right on the mark in bringing home equity loans to the Internet,”
said Jack Staff, chief economist with Zona Research Inc. in Redwood City, Calif.
“HomeAdvisor drives important volumes of traffic, and with billions being spent on remodeling projects each year, Microsoft can provide the deeper content that consumers increasingly want in this particular space. The tools, content and lending institutions on HomeAdvisor may help precipitate a real explosion in online second mortgages.”

HomeAdvisor provides home buyers with a top-quality selection of the most well-known, trusted brands in lending, including Bank One Corp., Citibank Mortgage, Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp., GMAC Mortgage, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., GreenPoint Financial Corp./Headlands Mortgage Co., American Home Mortgage LLC, North American Mortgage Co. and Prism Mortgage Co. These lenders joined HomeSide Lending Inc., Principal Residential Mortgage Inc., American Finance and Investment Inc., and LoanWorks Inc., which signed with HomeAdvisor when the site launched last August. In addition, HomeAdvisor features more than 750,000 home listings from real estate agents in all 50 states.

Design Enhancements

HomeAdvisor, already the leading guide to finding homes and loans on the Web, also recently added a number of other enhancements to the site, including a Shop for Rates feature on the home page that allows consumers to instantly compare loan rates from each of the 13 lenders on HomeAdvisor. Shop for Rates is a quick and easy way to gather loan information based on state of residence, type of loan, loan points and loan amount. In addition, in the Loan Finder consumers will find a streamlined loan selection and application process, making it even easier to find the best loan. Based on extensive usability research and customer feedback, the improved Loan Finder narrows the application process to eight easy steps, each of which includes the expert editorial content that HomeAdvisor is famous for.

Home equity loan applicants will also be eligible for HomeAdvisor’s
“Get a Loan, Get a Free PC”
promotion, in which consumers who close any loan of $125,000 (U.S.) or more will receive a custom-built, Internet-ready desktop personal computer system, with a 300MHz processor, a 56Kbps modem, 32 MB of RAM and a monitor. Homeowners who close loans below $125,000 (U.S.) will receive a Casio PV-200. This promotion applies to all standard home loans closed through HomeAdvisor, including new home loans, refinancing and second mortgages, while supplies last*. Consumers can visit the site for more details about obtaining a loan and the Free PC promotion.

About MSN HomeAdvisor

MSN HomeAdvisor is the Internet’s most complete guide for finding homes and loans, combining Microsoft technology with services and expertise from some of the most trusted

names in the real estate industry. It empowers consumers through every step of the home-buying process and is the first Internet site to fully integrate content and services such as neighborhood, crime and school statistics with homes, loans, editorial content and expert advice. Winner of the Inman Innovator Award as the best residential real estate site, HomeAdvisor is a PC Magazine Top 100 Web site, a Yahoo! Internet Life Best of the Best winner and a Family PC Web Site of the Month. Part of the MSN network of Internet services, HomeAdvisor launched in July 1998 and is free on the World Wide Web at (connect-time charges may apply).

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

* Supplies include 1,000 Concentric Systems PCs and 300 Casio PV-200 Personal Viewers. The offer is open to legal U.S. residents, but it is not available in all 50 United States. The PCs will be provided by Microsoft and not by participating lenders.

Microsoft, MSN, HomeAdvisor and Sidewalk are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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