Since the 1950s, home swapping and exchanging has been a trend that really started to pick up steam in the 1970s. Essentially, home swapping is the temporary switching of homes from one person or family to another. A successful home swap can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of years. Some home owners have gone as far as falling in love with a newly swapped location and making it a permanent switch.
Even if you are not expected to move permanently from one place to another via home swap, but are still very interested in giving a try (or two), here are some tips on how to make your first (or second or third) home swapping experience a memorable one:
Do Your Homework
As of late, home swapping has been implemented for everything from cost-effective vacation accommodations to serving as a preview system for potential home buyers, so your best bet is to start by researching exactly what you’d like your home to be used for. Scour online bulletin boards, Facebook groups and websites that help to facilitate the service (airbnb.com) to get a better sense of what you want out of the service.
Keep Up With Appearances
At the end of the day, candidates that are chosen for home swaps are usually those with high-value homes matching their counterparts. As appealing as the idea of a weekend in your one-bedroom igloo in the middle of the Arctic Circle sounds, it’s highly unlikely that there will be very may takers let alone services willing to shoulder the liability. Also, with a great deal of these services, the more valuable the amenities you’re willing to bring to the table, the more likely you are to get first pick for trendier locations in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia.
Before embarking on a house-=swapping adventure, it’s imperative that your home is in tip-top shape to receive its tenants. Any squeaky doors, leaky pipes or loose floorboards need to be addressed before leaving your key under the door. The last thing you need is to stare down the barrel of a non-compliance issue for neglecting to fix the light in the refrigerator.
Know the Rules
Speaking of liabilities, hashing out a contract of expectations between parties is the best way to communicate your needs while away as well as the temporary tenants’. Many services, like Homelink and HomeExchange.com, will help you create a contract template that you can then discuss with the other party when it comes time to make the swap.
Shed Your Inhibitions
Ultimately, home swapping is an experience that allows both parties to break out of their shells and discover new facets of the human experience. Try not to get too caught up on all the expectations you’d seek if you were still in your own home. Explore your new, temporary neighborhood, meet new people, eat new foods and sample everything your surrounding environment has to offer. That is the whole point, right? Exactly.