The Ultimate Guide To House Swapping
Every once in a while, you need to get out of the house. The urge to travel can hit at any time, but chances are you’ll be yearning to get yourself away for a while before you ever set foot on a plane or bus. Most of this site tends to appeal to people without too many things tying them down. Most don’t have pets or a home but that shouldn’t mean those that do miss out. But what do you do when you’ve set yourself up with a lovely new place in a great area but you want to head off for 2 or 3 weeks? What if you’ve got a pet to throw into the problem too? Some people are happy enough to lock the place up, tell the neighbours and then head off but others prefer a safer way of going about all this. Part of guaranteeing the safety of your property while you’re away from it could involve finding a trustworthy and responsible house sitter. The best part of this is if you do a swap, you’ll get yourself a place to stay in the country you’re heading to so it keeps your costs down as well. Perfect!
Why Do People Engage In The Practice Of House Swapping?
As mentioned above there’s a few reasons people might want to get involved but the most common and obvious reason is that it is the best possible guarantee that someone will take care of your own property. The reciprocal nature of the arrangement all but guarantees that there won’t be any bizarre shenanigans occurring at your home while someone else is sitting in it. You’re watching over their place so you’d expect they’d look after yours too. Chances are you’re both doing it because of the same concerns.
There are also plenty of financial reasons to choose a house swapping arrangement. If you travel several times a year, you know how quickly all the expenses related to flights and subsequent accommodations can pile up. Staying at someone else’s house while they watch over yours is an excellent way to save a great deal of money on such expenses. Some aren’t too concerned about the safety aspect but use it as a great way to leverage their property and see more of the world cheaper.
House Swapping Is An Excellent Way To Get To Know A Community
Staying for a temporary period at someone else’s property is also an excellent way to get to know that community. Some people even use it as a way to get to know a place before they end up moving. You can stay at a property for free and really get to know the community and activities of the area. If it turns out to be not quite your style, you’re free to pick up and move at the end of your stay. If you really hit it off with the location you’re staying in, you’re that much better prepared to make the move there for good.
What Are The Different Types Of House Swapping Arrangements?
There are several different types of home exchange arrangements that you can too. Most work out the best time for the two parties to swap the houses and that makes it fairly easy and seamless. There are others that use it in a more personal AirBnB type way where you can arrange to come and stay whenever it suits you both and the other person may still be there. There’s lots of variations to those arrangements and they can be amazing to meet new people but there are other services like Couchsurfing that can work just as well for situations like that.
Is It Be Easy To Arrange A Home Exchange?
This whole scenario can be tricky to organise at times but there are sites that make the process much easier. Be realistic though, there will be some negotiations and compromises that will have to happen on both sides so it fits in with everyone’s plans. Be a little flexible and you’ll be fine.
You’ll need to be realistic about who you swap with, and which locations you’re most likely to get a bite on. Some people have no problem with temporarily taking over the upkeep of the home they’re staying in, while others baulk at performing housework and cleaning tasks while on their vacation. If you live in a property that has high a need of high maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape, you may have trouble finding someone who is willing to take on such a task. It never hurts to hire a cleaner for that period just to sweeten the deal though.
Always Let The Other Party Know How Long You Intend To Stay
It’s important to specify up front how long you expect to stay at someone’s home, as well as how long you can comfortably allow them to stay at yours. Many people who enjoy this type of arrangement are what is known in the industry as “slow travellers”, i.e., people who prefer to stay in one location for anywhere from a week to a month before moving on. Be up front and honest about how long you want to spend there and what you’re doing too. This will eliminate the possibility for mishaps and misunderstandings when it’s time to swap out properties again. Communicate well and things tend to work out just fine.
Before You Set Up A Home Exchange, Ask For References
If you are considering the possibility of setting up a home swap arrangement with someone you have never met or previously interacted with, it’s an excellent idea to get references first. Most home exchanges are conducted through a website and most of these will have references and testimonials from past partners of the person you are considering swapping your home with. On some websites, these testimonials will be attached to the profile of the person you are looking up so that you can quickly get an accurate view of their history and reputation on that site. Follow up on those references too, don’t just read them and be satisfied. Make sure you get in touch with whoever wrote them and make sure the person is top notch.
Before You Decide To Swap, Make Sure Your House Is In Order
Before you commit yourself to a house swapping arrangement, it’s a good idea to first make sure that your own house is entirely in order. First of all, do some spring cleaning. You want to present your occupant with the best possible impression. If you have valuables and heirlooms that you don’t necessarily want to catch the eye of a house guest, move them to a safe location. If there are any issues with your air conditioning, heating, or sewage systems, get them squared away before you present your home to your exchange partner. And if there are quirks and ‘character’ with your place make sure to tell the person staying there. People put up with quite a lot when they’re prepared and getting a place to stay when they travel.
Now That You’re Ready To House Swap, How Do You Go About It?
The first thing you need to do to set up a home exchange is to join a website that specialises in this sort of activity. There are a number to choose from, such as Digsville, LoveHomeSwap, and many others. Some of these organisations will charge a fee to use their services, while others are basically free. Once you have chosen a site to use, you can then browse through their database to find people and locations that interest you. It’s not overly complicated but will take some time to setup and find your first place. Don’t do this in a hurry!
How To Write Your Initial Offer To A Potential House Swapping Partner
Once you have found someone who you think would be a good fit, it’s time to write them an initial offer and letter of introduction. It’s a good idea to include such information as:
- Information concerning yourself, your interests, whether or not you have a family, etc.
- A detailed description of the home itself, as well as its facilities, special features, etc. It’s a great idea to include a few pics to back up your descriptions.
- A detailed description of the area you live in. This might include nearby features such as beaches, nightlife opportunities, casinos, state parks, sports facilities, etc. Let your potential partner know they won’t be bored to death when they stay in your area!
Be Very Precise Concerning What You Have To Offer A Home Exchange Partner
It’s important to be very precise when it comes to what you are able to offer a home exchange partner. For example, are you willing to let them have free rein of all of your home’s amenities, i.e., the swimming pool, sauna, garage, barbeque, etc.? Are there any areas that you would prefer to remain off limits to your guests? If you leave a car or motorcycle on your property, will you allow your exchange partner free use of it? If you live by a lake or river, are your guests allowed to use your pier facility or your personal boat? These are all issues that need to be agreed upon in advance of a swap. The devil is always in the details so be up front about everything.
Once You Come To An Agreement, Make Sure You Get It In Writing
Once you have come to an agreement with a potential home swapping partner, it’s a good idea to get it in writing. This way, if any misunderstandings arise that may need the assistance of legal action to resolve, you’ll have a verified document to supplement your side of the argument. There are plenty of templates you can start with online but a written agreement should at least cover basic issues like:
- Whether your swapping partner is responsible for basic maintenance issues such as keeping the water and electric bills to an agreed upon minimum, watering house plants, mowing the lawn, etc.
- Whether or not your swapping partner is allowed to have guests of their own stay with them at your property, whether for company or as part of a “subcontracting” arrangement.
- The precise length of time your exchange partner is allowed to stay at your property. Make sure you agree upon a concrete date and time by which both parties must vacate each others’ residences.
When The Swap Is Over, Be Sure To Thank Them
When the swap has come to an end, be sure to stay in touch and thank them. It’s a great time to get some feedback and hear what they thought too. It’s a great idea to leave them a little present, such as a basket of fruit, a box of chocolates, a bottle of good wine, or some other small token of your appreciation. Leave them a positive reference on the site you both use so that others will know that this person is safe and accommodating to deal with. Leaving positive feedback is an effective way to build up a good lifelong relationship with them, as well as to keep the site itself safe and pleasurable to use for others. It really is a crucial part of all of these sites so people can continue to use them and know who is safe and respectful and who shouldn’t be in this game at all! And lastly, have fun. This is all about travelling further, and more often.