Microsoft Introduces Realty Desktop, The First Completely Web-Based Customer Management Tool For Real Estate Brokers

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 23, 2000 — Today at the Real Estate Connect Conference, Microsoft Corp. unveiled the Realty Desktop, the first completely Web-based customer management and transaction service designed to help real estate brokers create customers for life through the flexibility and power of the Web. Realty Desktop empowers real estate brokers to deliver a high standard of customer service from the point of first contact, enabling them to respond quickly to customer needs and inquiries and, as a result, increase close rates, maximize profits and grow their business. Two of the nation’s leading brokers, Howard Perry and Walston Realtors of North Carolina and Wardley GMAC Real Estate of Salt Lake City – with combined sales of nearly $3 billion a year – have signed on as Realty Desktop pilot partners and will implement the service throughout their multiple offices.

Created by Microsoft, the world leader in software development, Realty Desktop delivers a single, integrated solution for generating new leads and keeping customers after the home sale has closed. In addition, Realty Desktop helps agents automate the many labor-intensive tasks associated with real estate transactions while providing tools that facilitate additional home-ownership services.

“There are numerous, fragmented processes throughout the real estate transaction that need to be more tightly integrated,”
said Bryan Mistele, general manager for the MSN TM HomeAdvisor TM online real estate service.
“With Realty Desktop, the entire transaction is connected – from the arrival of a lead to the sale of post-transaction services such as painting, landscaping and installation of security systems. Realty Desktop will produce a higher degree of customer loyalty, decrease customer acquisition costs, and increase profitability for the agent and broker.”

Realty Desktop is an easy-to-implement online customer management tool that allows brokers to better manage customer relationships without having to hire additional staff, or acquire more office space or expensive software. An Internet connection and a PC is all that is needed for brokers to be up and running. In addition, Realty Desktop can be completely branded by each company and includes fully customizable features that work seamlessly with brokers’ existing software.

“Realty Desktop will allow my agents to spend less time in the office struggling with paperwork and more time with their customers,”
said Don Walston, president of Howard Perry and Walston Realtors.
“There’s only one thing that can result: more transactions, more customers and more homes sold.”

“MSN delivers hundreds of highly qualified leads each month, and Realty Desktop will help us turn even more of those leads into paying customers,”
said Lynn Wardley, owner and president of Wardley GMAC Real Estate.
“It will keep our agents on top of their game and my business far ahead of the competition.”

Realty Desktop: Innovative Tools to Help Brokers Build Customers for Life

Built upon the Microsoft® ClearLead TM lead management platform, Realty Desktop offers integrated tools that help brokers easily manage the events and details associated with customer and business needs. The Task and Transaction Manager enables agents and brokers to manage the following:

  • Home purchase and sales transactions. Brokers can stay on top of important details ranging from securing a mortgage and ordering a title to scheduling an inspection and securing a warranty. Participants in the transaction can have their own view of tasks, with the ability to update the status of each.

  • Home listings. Realty Desktop automatically triggers
    events when a new listing arrives, such as scheduling an open house, creating flyers and posting a yard sign. Realty Desktop will even assign these to-dos to the appropriate employee, saving the agent valuable selling time.

  • Home ownership services. Brokers can keep track of and capture revenue on leads for any product or service associated with the home, including security systems, landscaping, painting, roofing, interior design, appliances, and eventually preparing for the next home purchase.

Realty Desktop features the Prospect Manager, an invaluable tool that automatically integrates and processes Web-generated leads, ensuring timely responses to customer inquiries and helping eliminate the chance of losing potential customers. The Prospect Manager tracks customer interactions, creates customer histories and instantaneously sends customizable e-mail messages to ensure quick, consistent responses. These automated features help to facilitate interactions between parties and enable brokers to save time and money, increase their sales and customer base, and provide high-quality customer service. By utilizing this innovative Web-based service, agents have more time to spend on developing new business and, their most important task, delighting their customers.

Realty Desktop’s sister product, DealerPoint, which also uses ClearLead technology to manage customer leads, has been available to car dealers nationwide for over a year. In that time, DealerPoint has helped car dealers improve their customer service and increase their close ratios, while providing a platform to help them effectively communicate with thousands of online car buyers.

“Auto dealers using DealerPoint have seen their close ratios soar,”
Mistele said.
“Faster response times by auto dealers have led to close rates doubling from 15 to 30 percent. We’re confident our real estate partners will see similar results.”

Both DealerPoint and Realty Desktop are built on the Microsoft ClearLead platform, a Web-based service designed for businesses that are looking for a simple way to respond to and manage the real-time inquiries of their customers. Regardless of where business is conducted online, ClearLead brings parties together and facilitates communication between them, offering automated features that enhance task management, tracking and lead management.

About Microsoft ClearLead

ClearLead is a Web-based Internet lead management platform that helps businesses build lifetime customers through the flexibility, ease of use and power of the Internet. ClearLead ( ) gives any business the ability to deliver world-class customer service through an easy-to-implement Web solution.

About MSN HomeAdvisor and Microsoft

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 home listings, loan information, 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 one of its 100 Best Sites for 2000, 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). Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, MSN, HomeAdvisor and ClearLead are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the 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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