Why you should consider swapping your home

Ned Browne

You've no doubt heard of home swapping by now (thank you, The Holiday) but is it a reliable option for a holiday and will your home be safe?

For many, the rise of websites such as Airbnb has made taking more frequent breaks a possibility. But, home swapping is an even cheaper option.

There are lots of websites that enable property owners from all over the world to get in touch with each other. Google “holiday home swaps” to find a comprehensive list. In the meantime, start with either lovehomeswap.com and homeexchange.com. These are both established players in the market and they allow you to view properties without creating an account.

 

Signing up

If you do decide to take the plunge, signing up takes about five minutes. The process of listing your property is pretty straightforward too. In some ways it’s no different to selling a home—a detailed description and lots of great photos will definitely generate more interest.

Including house rules is a must. These should be comprehensive without being overwhelming. Then comes the fun part: searching for possible places to stay. You will be amazed at the selection on offer. From beach-front properties in Thailand to Manhattan apartments.

The websites allow users to rate the properties they stay in. Think about what you could do to make your visitors’ stay memorable. A bottle of prosecco goes a long way. As does your place being spotlessly clean. Great peer reviews will help you get better swaps in the future.

 

How will we agree dates?

Lovehomeswap has a very neat workaround. As you would expect they offer a classic swap, whereby two parties swap their properties at the same time. These properties tend to be of similar value too. However, they also offer “point swap”, which makes it easy for you to arrange trips, as there’s no need to match dates and locations with other Lovehomeswap users. 

You earn points when another someone stays in your home, and you can then use these points to travel when it suits you. For example, you could list your home at 100 points a night and then stay in a more expensive property, say one costing 300 points a night, when you’ve accrued enough points.

 

Communication is key

Once you have found a home you love, you will need to contact the owner. Expect to exchange a number of emails before anything is confirmed. All emails are via the website, which adds a layer of security.

 

Insurance implications

Make sure you contact your home insurer before you arrange any swaps. You may have to take out some extra cover, although some insurers will not require this. And, while industry experts state that theft or damage within the world of home swaps is rare, you should lock up your valuables.

beach house

 

Win/win

Homeswapping is definitely a mutually beneficial arrangement—both parties can holiday for less. Moreover, it’s good to know someone will be taking care of your home while you’re away. And think of the money you’ll save too. House swapping is, surely, the cheapest way to see the world.


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