Home exchanges are a great way for you to visit other countries without spending a ton of money. The home swap process is fairly straightforward: you list your home on a peer-to-peer home exchange platform like HomeAway, and exchange your property with another lister in another area. The switch is designed to be an even exchange: you stay at another home while another platform user stays in yours.
Home exchanges offer limitless opportunities. No matter where you’d like to go in the world, you can find a good home exchange for you. For instance, if you lived in a quiet cabin in Vermont, perhaps you’d want to spend two weeks on vacation learning about art in Paris. What’s especially unique about this setup is that it allows you to fully immerse yourself in another culture and live like a local, rather than stay in a hotel.
If you’d like to travel like a local and be cost-effective, here are five tips for a successful home exchange:
Write a Detailed Listing
Think of your home listing as an advertisement. You’re trying to sell the idea that your home is the perfect choice for a home exchange. Furthermore, your listing should be as clear and precise as possible. Be sure to describe your home, its features, the location, and its amenities. It helps to break up your paragraph into bite-sized pieces of information to improve readability. For some inspiration, take a look at some of the Super Host listings on Airbnb, as well as other listings on your home exchange platform of choice.
When it comes to house exchanges, it’s important that you take time with every request. Just because you’d like to visit Barcelona doesn’t mean you should accept any request that comes your way. Building an early relationship with the person you’d like to exchange homes with is crucial. After all, you don’t want just anyone in your home.
Similarly, you want to take your time when it comes to sending your own requests. Every request that you send out should be as personalized as possible. Indicate not only what you’re looking for, but what you can offer as well. Always keep in mind that home exchanges are even exchanges, and shouldn’t be framed as one-sided. With that being said, refrain from sending boilerplate and copy and paste requests.
Establish Ground Rules
Your home is your property, and should be treated with respect. Early on, it’s important to establish some ground rules. For example, if you live in a quiet building, you might enforce a no-noise policy to be put into effect during certain hours. If you’ll be gone for a while, instruct your guests on what they should do with mail or deliveries. And of course, you should leave instructions on how to handle things inside the home. For example, you should list out how to work the dishwasher, where the trash and recycle go, how to use the dryer and washer, etc.
Get Your Home Ready
Naturally, you’d want your home to be as guest-ready as possible. This means giving your house a deep cleaning, making it more comfortable for people who aren’t familiar with the space, and going the extra mile to ensure they have a great stay. First and foremost, you should ensure that everything in your house is in working order. This means checking everything from plumbing to lightbulbs.
“When it comes to listing your home for rent or swapping, the last thing you want is an emergency plumbing situation,” says the Fix It Right Plumbing Clayton team. “When it comes to providing the best experience possible, it’s better to err on the side of caution.”
You should also clear away some space in your dressers and closet to allow your guests to unpack, even if they’re only staying for a week or so. With that in mind, it’s also important to stow away your valuables. Get a lock on a closet and keep your pulled clothes and important items (documents, jewelry, photographs, etc). If you’re still not quite comfortable with that, opt for a small storage locker for when you’re away.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Finding the right fit isn’t always a walk in the park. Sometimes, it can take take a few months before you ever find the right home exchange situation. But you shouldn’t get discouraged. Don’t compromise your wish list for a home simply because you aren’t getting some of your ideal matches. Think of it like applying for a job: instead of taking the first job you’d get, or giving up because you weren’t landing a job, wouldn’t be a reasonable, logical thing to do. The right home swap will come along if you remain patient, and commit to providing a great experience and receiving the same in return.