Ever wondered about this home exchange idea?
The perfect sunset walk behind our Utah home exchange
Think it sounds weird or wondering if you should give it a try? Here are 7 suggestions which might get you off the starting block.
- Take a look round the sites.
We mainly use www.homeexchange.com as they have thousands of listings, but there are plenty of others as well. You get to have a peek into other peoples’ homes (love doing that, don’t you?!) and find the ones where you think ‘ooh, not only would l give up my own home to stay there, I’d probably throw in the kids as well’
- Think about where you might like to go on your next holiday.
Now use the website filters to see what is available there. Consider how much it would cost to rent somewhere you like. (Practicalities often trump trepidation!)
- What do you and your family want from a holiday?
A place with a garden in the country? Somewhere near the beach? A city break? A pool? (our personal favourite!) Work out your deal breakers. For us it’s ugly furniture, poor natural light, lack of outdoor space and of course slow internet. You’ll have your own quirks! There are so many people doing this now that there are loads of incredible options. You might have to plan early to nab the best ones though, you aren’t the only one who is going to want that 4 bed pool villa nestled in a Spanish cove you know!
- What has your place got to offer?
You need to ‘sell’ exchangers into wanting to come to your home. Consider the benefits e.g. it’s 20 minutes from a 14th century castle and fabulous rose gardens, rather than its a 3 bed semi on a housing estate. Note: Americans tend to be wonderfully polite. When they say your place is charming, they actually mean ‘my god how can you people live somewhere that small?!’
- Be picky.
Only consider ones you REALLY like the look of, don’t settle. Once you have put up your profile, if you have done a good job of it, you’ll get a lot of enquiries. Not all will suit, so a polite ‘thanks, your place looks great but it won’t work for us this time’ email will suffice. Hold out for the ‘wow’ offers, or be proactive and make some approaches yourself.
Note: a bit like Internet dating, don’t be surprised by rejection if you bat too far out of your league. That said, we reckon we’ve got the better end of the deal from 80% of our exchanges so being a little cheeky may not hurt!
- Don’t forget that before any agreement is made you will have plenty of emails,
or calls if you prefer, with your home exchange partner. You’ll get to know each other. You’ll probably be much happier about having someone new in your home once you’ve got to know a bit about them and realise they aren’t freaks. They’ll have the same worries about you too!
- Most people like the idea of a free holiday,
or a spell of location independence, but have a knee jerk reaction about having strangers in their home which kills it dead. Give some thought to what this is about. Might be worth considering, if you are worried about what they might do to your home, what on earth are you planning to do to theirs?!
Our home exchange in Canada
We have done home exchanges in Canada, America (2) and Australia (2) so far, and are in the final stages of negotiating a month in a luxury condo in Mexico just around the time when the UK nights will be closing in and the air growing decidedly chilly. To get the benefits, sometimes it’s worth overcoming your fears!
Chris on the beach outside our Australian home exchange
What are your thoughts about home exchanges? Would you give it a try?
Or do you have some doubts about the whole idea?
Let us know your opinions!
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