24 August 2000

HomeAdvisor Technologies, Microsoft’s recently launched online home buying and financing subsidiary, has netted equity investments of over $100 million from two major mortgagors – Chase Manhattan Mortgage and GMAC-Residential Funding Corporation.

Microsoft claims that more investors will confirm their commitments in the near future, although the software giant will remain the majority shareholder.

The Chase/GMAC deals, announced yesterday, should aid HomeAdvisor in the development of its ambitious but still unproven plans to automate much of the home-buying mechanism. It competes not only with established rivals such as – which has intimate links to the National Association of Realtors – but also to back-end software providers and a raft of online lenders.

As ever, analysts are eager to offer their empiric wisdom to the world: "HomeAdvisor has lots of neat ideas," observes an onlooker at Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass, "[but] we're still sort of waiting. The big question about HomeAdvisor really is, can they execute?"

Another Massachusetts-based research firm, Gomez of Lincoln, ranks the five-month-old HomeAdvisor first in its recent ranking of real-estate sites, over the established in second place. Gomez is impressed by some of HomeAdvisor's special features, including one that enables users to compare a property to like-for-like sales in the same area.

News source: Wall Street Journal