As the summer fast approaches, HomeExchange.com have decided that this is the perfect time to address the issue of the general misconceptions regarding house exchanging and have compiled a list of the top 10. They are well qualified to do this, being the leading home swap community in the world and boasting over 20 years experience helping their members, which now total more than 46,000, to swap their homes and enjoy a holiday in accommodation that is far removed from the tradtional.
1. “Home-swapping is only for affluent homeowners, not for people with small apartments.”
On the contrary: with more than 46,000 Members in over 150 countries, HomeExchange.com offers a uniquely varied selection of houses and apartments that mirrors the diversity of people on our planet. A small apartment in one of the world’s great cities can easily be exchanged for a large country house.
2. “Trading houses with someone you don’t know? You never know what kind of people you’re dealing with.”
HomeExchange.com was created more than 20 years ago, in 1992, by Californian Ed Kushins, who foresaw an opportunity for like-minded people to offer their homes to one another. In many ways, it was social networking before the Web era. The whole point of the HomeExchange.com approach is to create conditions for a fair, balanced exchange based on a relationship of trust and good will.
3. “I just can’t imagine lending my own home to someone else. It’s my private space.”
HomeExchange.com is based on a simple idea: “You stay in my house while I stay in yours.” Remember that the people with whom you’ll be exchanging probably had the same worries at first. When it comes to your personal effects and valuables, we recommend that you keep them in a safe place, like a locked drawer. And while you’re away, the best way to deter burglars (as most insurance companies will point out) is to have someone staying in your home.
4. “Do I have to exchange my house for long periods of time?”
HomeExchange.com isn’t only for long distance trips: you can also arrange an exchange for just a weekend with someone who lives only a few hundred miles away. It is a great way to set up your first home-swap experience.
5. “But I have to swap with the other person at exactly the same time, right?”
Although simultaneous exchanges are the most common, many HomeExchange.com Members like to exchange their homes at different times to accommodate each party’s holiday dates.
6. “If it’s about exchanges between individuals, why does the website charge a fee?”
HomeExchange.com charges an annual Membership fee of £71.40, which allows an unlimited number of exchanges with no additional charges. By providing Members with access to more than 46,000 documented listings around the world, HomeExchange.com acts as a trusted third party, guaranteeing that Members, who post listings, are serious and motivated.
7. “Can you really save money with a home exchange?”
Home swapping is the most frugal of all holiday formats. You pay only for transportation: for the rest, you’ll spend the same as if you were staying at home. It is estimated that HomeExchange.com Members have doubled their purchasing power while on holiday. They don’t have to spend a penny on accommodation (50% saving) and, when swapping vehicles as well, they save up to 70%. Every year, HomeExchange.com Members save $100 million on accommodation.
8. “Do the parties to the exchange sign a contract?”
Thanks to The ABCs of Home Exchange on HomeExchange.com, Members can download sample letters to use in establishing their exchange partnerships, right up to a confirmation agreement. These e-mail exchanges help in firming up the bonds of trust between partners.
9. “Summer is almost here. It must be too late to organise a swap.”
This is a common question at HomeExchange.com. Our 46,000 Members are a microcosm of all travellers: some are super-organised and plan far ahead, while others are more spontaneous. To accommodate everyone, the site features a “last-minute” function for people who make their travel decisions later than others.
10. “I wouldn’t know what to do with my dog (or cat) during the exchange.”
We recommend that, when preparing an exchange, Members specify all details about their home, neighbourhood and city, not forgetting important points about their home life, such as pet, garden and pool care. Among our Members, animal lovers usually end up finding each other, and everything works out great.