You have decided that home exchange is something for you. Enjoying a new destination and relaxing in a home while on vacation sounds like a great way to spend a vacation. The first step in getting a home exchange is really fun, it is much like visiting a travel agent and looking at all the brochures, reading the travel section in your favourite newspaper or magazine. Once you choose a home exchange network online (see previous blog) you will be able to search for a home from many different options.
Many people first think of location. This is fine, but we might challenge you and first search by vacation activity (what we call Vacation Selections). If you enjoy rambling / hiking / walking why not first look at homes near excellent locations to enjoy the great outdoors? Similarly, you might enjoy sailing or golf? Beaches or maybe fishing could be your passion. With home exchange the options are great; maybe start your search for homes that give you access to the activities you enjoy most while on holiday. Of course you can also search by the essential items like location, number of bedrooms, how many the home sleeps, and many other amenities. Once you found homes that you would like to visit, you will then have to contact the owner of the property to determine if they are interested in an exchange (not many, but some exchange networks will assist you with a personal service in this process).
What will other home owners be interested in? This is important, you need to both promote your home as well as proactively communicate to prospective traders.
The following are helpful hints in getting an exchange.
- Pictures are worth a thousand words. Upload to the home swap website good quality pictures of your property. Think about what you would like to see when you visit a location. Living room / lounge, dining area, kitchen, bathroom / toilet and bedrooms are obviously great to start. Also feature any unique offerings you might have like a back yard / garden with outdoor furniture, a hot tub, a pool table or maybe the view from the deck. Investing in a quality camera, maybe with a wide angle lens, or having a few professional photographs taken will ensure that your home is presented in the best possible way and gain interest in your property listing. For some advice from a professional photographer, read this blog.
- Promote all the activities that are available around your area. You might have searched by activity, so would equally important for you list attractions and activities near your home. Depending on where you are, a useful information source could me Trip Advisor and search for all the activities and things to do in your city or region. Giving your potential guests information on all the benefits of visiting your location is a great way to entice them to trade with you. Some home exchange websites assist you by having a map of your location where you can add or highlight the local attractions on this map.
- When communicating with your potential exchange members, clearly detail dates and times, type of accommodation, activities, location and how many people can visit. Keep your language simple and direct; remember that your exchange party may not have the same first language as you. Honesty is extremely important as the whole exchange world is based on trust. If you are interested, let them know. If you are not interested, let them know too. A timely and honest answer is what we believe you would like, do the same for others.
- Be flexible and realistic in both your expectations and timing. The more you open your mind to possibilities of locations the more options you will have. Take advantage of the opportunity of using home exchange to explore somewhere new and different. Of course the more flexible your time, again the more likely you will quickly find an excellent trade opportunity. Last minute opportunities are frequently presenting themselves, some exchange communities feature them. If your time is flexible, you can benefit by swapping sooner rather than later. Of course if you are trading non-simultaneously, you have added flexibility of not having to swap at the same time, which is great. Be realistic in your trade expectations. Unless you are part of a Credits system (described earlier), you might not find a property that has the same space or amenities as your home, if it meets your needs then maybe you should still swap.
- Confirm your trade agreement in writing. Including the dates of visits along with the names and contact details of both parties is a good start. If there are any extras (example: use of a car and or boat) or exclusions (example: basement of the house will be locked and out of bounds) they should be clearly stated in the agreement. Some house swap networks provide exchange agreements to their members to use. If you would like to receive a FREE sample HOME EXCHANGE AGREEMENT, simply email us and we’ll send you one for your personal use.
We want you to be successful promoting your home and in finding the right home to visit. Using the above tips and hints will help you to successfully plan and agree an exchange perfect for you. The most important of all is to start traveling and have fun! Enjoy!
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