Microsoft Joins Forces With Freddie Mac, Chase Manhattan, GMAC-RFC, Norwest Mortgage and Bank of America To Form New Company

REDMOND, Wash., March 16, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the formation of HomeAdvisor Technologies Inc., a new company that will revolutionize the way homes are bought and sold, shaving weeks off of the mortgage-closing process and saving consumers more than $2,000 over the life of a loan by providing lower rates and reduced closing costs. The new company will be announced today in front of more than 100 of the nation’s leading real estate brokers by Steve Ballmer, president and CEO of Microsoft, as well as executives from Freddie Mac;; GMAC-Residential Funding Corp. (GMAC-RFC); Norwest Mortgage Inc., a Wells Fargo company; and Bank of America. This is the latest step in fulfilling the MSN TM vision of the Everyday Web, which includes building strategic partnerships to deliver the strongest services, information and marketplaces for all MSN customers.

HomeAdvisor Technologies is the result of more than a year of development on an open software platform that will automate real estate and mortgage transactions for consumers and industry professionals. Partners in HomeAdvisor Technologies are committed to the widespread adoption of the platform and will distribute to their partners, representing the majority of the nation’s real estate and mortgage professionals.

The HomeAdvisor Technologies loan platform, which will debut on HomeAdvisor TM .com in the coming weeks, automates many of the steps required to approve and finance a mortgage, including credit checks, appraisals and underwriting decisions. As a result, this new process can save the average home buyer more than $2,000 over the course of a loan, enable them to instantly lock a real loan rate online, and cut the closing process from more than a month to just 10 days. The platform will also eliminate many of the closing costs associated with mortgages today.

HomeAdvisor Technologies also announced today the acquisition of Tuttle Decision Systems Inc., a mortgage technology company that enables the loan platform to provide risk-based, lockable loan rates from multiple lenders more cost-effectively than those available anywhere else.

“HomeAdvisor Technologies makes buying a home easier and more affordable, thanks to groundbreaking new technology and some incredible partners,”
Ballmer said.
“HomeAdvisor Technologies is dedicated to helping everyone — consumers as well as real estate and mortgage professionals — save countless hours and thousands of dollars with new products developed as a result of this partnership with Freddie Mac,, GMAC-RFC, Norwest Mortgage and Bank of America.”

HomeAdvisor Technologies will consist of three divisions, each with distinct goals for improving the way homes are bought, financed, maintained and sold. Together, these three groups will form the nation’s leading consumer and business-to-business real estate and mortgage e-commerce company:

  • The Transaction Platform Division will combine Microsoft® technology with electronic loan decision and processing tools (credit, underwriting and property valuation) from its partners to streamline and automate all aspects of the mortgage and real estate transaction, saving consumers money while virtually eliminating paperwork and red tape. This platform will be developed and maintained by HomeAdvisor Technologies and distributed by partners to banks, lenders and real estate professionals, allowing real estate and mortgage professionals to pass along significant savings in time and cost to their own customers.

  • The Productivity Tools Division will provide real estate professionals with the tools essential for expanding their businesses profitably and better serving their customers while enabling industry professionals to fully utilize customized versions of the products developed by the Transaction Platform Division. Last month, HomeAdvisor Technologies announced Realty Desktop, its first productivity tool. Realty Desktop is a complete suite of tools designed specifically for the nation’s leading real estate companies.

  • The Division is expanding the scope of to address every home-related decision that consumers make in their lifetime. The new site will help consumers with every aspect of buying, financing, moving into, maintaining, improving and selling their home. will also be the first site to offer the company’s new loan platform and plans to provide many other rich new content offerings in the coming weeks. The new site will be promoted through aggressive consumer marketing campaigns.

“A mortgage may be the largest transaction a person ever makes, and people want to purchase one with the same ease and simplicity they currently enjoy with other goods and services,”
said Jonathan Gaw, research manager of consumer e-commerce at IDC.
“Overcoming that barrier by marrying expertise in technology and mortgages to deliver up-front and binding mortgage quotes in real time significantly boosts the development of the online real estate and mortgage category.”

Microsoft will hold a majority stake in HomeAdvisor Technologies Inc.;, Chase Capital Partners, GMAC-RFC, Norwest Mortgage and Bank of America will also be taking an equity interest in the new venture, and Freddie Mac has provided significant technology contributions and has a financial interest in the new company. The new company will have strong ties back to its industry partners and parent companies in the form of commercial agreements for technology sharing and distribution through online and offline channels. Bryan Mistele, general manager of HomeAdvisor, will continue to lead the new company.

“The mortgage market is undergoing revolutionary changes, driven largely by advances in technology,”
said Leland C. Brendsel, chairman and CEO of Freddie Mac.
“Through HomeAdvisor Technologies, we are responding to these changes by making our suite of innovative tools available to our lending partners and enabling them to deliver a faster, more efficient and lower-cost mortgage process to consumers.”

Freddie Mac is one of the nation’s largest investors in residential mortgages, helping home buyers save billions of dollars on their home loans each year. Chase, GMAC-RFC, Norwest Mortgage and Bank of America represent more than $400 billion dollars in mortgage originations each year, based on relationships with a vast majority of real estate and mortgage professionals.

The acquisition of Tuttle Decision Systems and its Electronic Services Platform enables HomeAdvisor Technologies to link data capture, decisioning and underwriting engines and third-party service providers to mortgage pricing conduits in the secondary loan market. Tuttle’s technology links more than 800 mortgage banks across the country to the nation’s largest mortgage conduits and facilitated the electronic registration of more than $26.5 billion in mortgages last year. Seamless data exchanges and integration of key underwriting engines and loan origination systems enable HomeAdvisor Technologies to save considerable time and money for both consumers and industry professionals.

“This unique venture is a natural extension of Chase’s long-standing relationship with Microsoft and brings together highly trusted companies and industry leaders that share a clear vision for creating new business models for the Internet economy,”
said Denis O’Leary, executive vice president of Chase Manhattan and head of
“The formation of HomeAdvisor Technologies is an example of how Chase Home Finance, the nation’s leading mortgage originator and servicer, is using the Internet to deepen relationships with Chase’s entire home financing customer base — correspondents, brokers, realtors and corporate customers.”

HomeAdvisor Technologies will maintain its strong ties to MSN through a long-term commercial agreement that makes the network’s exclusive channel for home, real estate and mortgage decisions. This relationship provides MSN customers with best-of-breed decision tools and marketplaces for every home-related decision, which gives customers access to the most integrated shopping and e-commerce experience available on the Web today.

“We’ve taken a critical look at several industry players and now know that Microsoft is the mortgage technology company best positioned to deliver real value to its customers,”
said Bruce Paradis, president of GMAC-RFC.
“The combination of its technology leadership with our deep relationships and expertise in the mortgage finance industry make for a formula that will be extremely tough to beat.”

“As the nation’s largest direct lender to consumers, we are very excited to enter into this relationship,”
said Pete Wissinger, president and CEO of Norwest Mortgage Inc.
“HomeAdvisor Technologies extends our ability to improve the value and service we provide the American home buyer. It is a natural fit with our ongoing strategy to serve our customers when, where and how they want to be served.”

About HomeAdvisor Technologies Inc.

HomeAdvisor Technologies, Inc. is dedicated to dramatically improving the way homes are financed, bought, sold and maintained. The new company, already backed by Chase Manhattan Mortgage, Freddie Mac, GMAC-RFC, Microsoft, Norwest Mortgage and Bank of America, consists of three distinct divisions focused on delivering the tools and services necessary to revolutionize the real estate and mortgage transaction while delivering significant time and cost savings to consumers as well as real estate and mortgage professionals. The company’s award-winning consumer Web site,, helps consumers address every home-related decision while providing the lowest loan rates available on the Web. (Details of guarantee will be available online at .)

About Microsoft

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 and HomeAdvisor 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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