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"Capitalize on Today's Internet"


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Bryan Mistele Photo
4/2/99 Interview with Bryan Mistele

Microsoft's HomeAdvisor
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Biography

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Microsoft's Role for Real Estate

  1. Microsoft is in the software business not in the Real Estate business; HomeAdvisor is an extension of what the company has done with productivity tools before.
  2. HomeAdvisor is a tool to help consumers understand and participate more closely in the Real Estate transaction; the objective is to add value for consumers by enabling them to execute transactions online.
  3. Microsoft is not a Real Estate antagonist; HomeAdvisor attracts consumers and drives them to Realtors and lenders to execute transactions.
  4. HomeAdvisor offers Realtors better educated consumers and ways to get more leads; the site is a resource for Realtors to advertise their properties more broadly across the country.
How Realtors Can Capitalize on the Internet

  1. Residential transactions are essentially off-line; consumers want to see a house before buying, plus the legalities are complicated enough that buyers and sellers need professional assistance.
  2. For Realtors who understand what the listing sites are doing and who embrace email, the Internet is a powerful tool to generate business.
  3. Consumers coming from the web are better educated about the process; they are completing transactions in less time after seeing fewer properties than consumers coming from other sources.
  4. The interaction allowed by the Internet helps consumers calculate what they can afford and to filter listings efficiently.
Tools That Impact Your Bottom Line

  1. HomeAdvisor's HomeFinder allows Realtors to list properties for free to a nationwide audience; HomeAdvisor reaches 50%+ of all the people on the Internet through MSN.
  2. HomeAdvisor's Agent First program allows Realtors to add their contact information to their listings - a great way to capture free referrals.
How HomeAdvisor Differs from Realtor.com

  1. HomeAdvisor is built with the consumer in mind; therefore it includes greater breadth such as neighborhood information, onsite calculators and information about the Real Estate process.
  2. HomeAdvisor does not charge Realtors for putting their name on their own listings; Realtor.com does charge to include the Realtor's name.
  3. HomeAdvisor also allows the consumer to shop for mortgage loans online.
  4. Utilizing HomeAdvisor in addition to other listing resources can be a major point of differentiation in sales presentations; Seattle broker John L. Scott does a good job in using HomeAdvisor for differentiation.
  5. Microsoft has no plans to extend support to the Commercial Real Estate market; the company is consumer software oriented, not business-to-business oriented.
The Clareity Consulting Study

  1. The methodology used to count listings was flawed, so the study dercounted most of the players except the one that funded the study.
  2. HomeAdvisor caps the number of search results to 200 listings in order to reduce download time for consumers; therefore, no one can accurately count total listings by visiting the site.
  3. Mistele was upset that Clareity did not contact HomeAdvisor before conducting the study and was surprised that the results were released.
  4. HomeAdvisor has more than half of all the listings in the country signed up, and a high percentage of them online on the site today.
HomeAdvisor's Use of Push Technology

  1. Both HomeTracker and Rate Tracker push information to the consumer as opposed to relying on the consumer to go to the web site.
  2. HomeTracker will notify the consumer by email with a link to the listing when new listings are posted that meet the consumer's profile criteria; some other listing sites have automatic notification features, but HomeTracker is updated every night.
  3. RateTracker will notify the consumer by email when it is appropriate to refinance his/her house; the consumer sets the benchmark.
Internet Advantages for Realtors and Brokers

  1. Recognize the opportunity to leverage Internet technology to distinguish yourself from your competition and build your business; a surprising number of consumers seek homes in areas where they don't currently live and start looking before they relocate.
  2. The Internet allows the Broker to remain central to the transaction - Brokers generally decide whether listings are posted on the national sites; reporting services keep Brokers informed of business referred to Agents.
  3. HomeAdvisor offers BrokerFirst to any Broker with listings on HomeAdvisor; the program allows the Broker to have a free web page that markets additional services; the web page is linked to listings; a one-page contract can be downloaded from HomeAdvisor.
  4. Referring a client to HomeAdvisor for education and to screen houses can save an Agent hours of time; the client returns much nearer being ready to close a transaction.
  5. Among many other helpful Real Estate-related sites on the web are QuickenMortgage, HomeShark and E-Loan.
Future Plans

  1. To meet its charter - to build a great site for consumers - HomeAdvisor will keep adding features and content; within the next year, HomeAdvisor aims to get 100% of US listings; virtual tours will probably be offered.
  2. The recently added Resource Center allows people to access information about apartment rentals and home improvements; expansion is planned.
  3. HomeAdvisor will be working more closely with lenders to provide more value to them.
  4. Judging from other industries, there should be room on the Internet for several nationwide home listing services.
  5. Ultimately, the Internet will allow consumers to self-select the level of service they want; hopefully, the industry will respond with a broad range of services to appeal to the different segments of customers.
Contact Information for Bryan Mistele:

(v) 425-882-8080
(f) 425-936-9252
(e) bryanmi@microsoft.com
(w)homeadvisor.msn.com


Microsoft HomeAdvisor Home Page
HomeFinder
HomeTracker
RateTracker
Agent First program
BrokerFirst program

Resources and Services:
from HomeAdvisor Home Page, click on "Apartments & Rentals" or "Home Improvement"
John L. Scott Real Estate

Helpful RE-related sites:
mortgage.quicken.com
www.homeshark.com
www.eloan.com