Steps to Successful Home Exchange
- When listing your property, please include some information about your family, neighborhood, community, etc.
- A picture is worth a thousand words! You have the option of including 17 free pictures, so please take advantage of it.
Contact with Potential Exchange Partners
- Each exchange is different and is based on building trust, and proper planning between exchange partners through emails, phone calls, etc.
- It is a good idea to plan traveling at least 4 to 6 months in advance to give yourself and trading partners enough time to work out all necessary details of the exchange.
- Answer all exchange offers you receive from other members as you expect the same from the people you write to.
- Be personal. Once the interest in exchange is established by both parties, take the opportunity to introduce your family. Let the other party know if you travel with children, and if so, how old they are; what your interests are, your profession; email them more pictures of your house, family, etc...
- Be a good guide to your exchange partners. Describe your neighborhood and the tourist attractions in your area. Be specific. Let them know how far the attractions are, how to get there, etc. If possible, provide them with links to relevant websites.
- Try to exchange with people with similar backgrounds. If you have a family with kids and a cat, you will probably want to exchange with similar... If you are single, you might want to exchange with other singles, etc.
- Be honest. You do not want to disappoint people and you do not want to be disappointed. Do not try to attract your exchange partners by means of exaggeration. Provide the facts, and let them make their own judgements.
Once the exchange commitment has been established, you are ready to prepare for your home exchange:
Home Exchange Check List
- Leave your property clean.
- Make it easy for your exchange partners to fill at home. Describe the interior and exterior of your property, and let them know where all amenities are.
- Prepare ample space in clothing cabinets, drawers, bathrooms, etc. for your guests belongings.
- Notify your home insurance company that you will be away. Let them know that you will have guest for the same period of time you will be away.
- If you decide to exchange cars contact your car insurance broker to work out all the details.
- When exchanging cars, you can establish mutual agreement how many miles/kilometres you are planning to use it for. Let your exchange partners know if your car comes with automatic or standard (shift stick) transmission, what is the year and model, and what condition if is in; if possible, provide appropriate photographs.
- If you exchanged homes before, supply your exchanging partner with your reference letters.
- If it is possible, it would be great if exchange partners could meet at one of the properties. If this is not possible, ask your friends or neighbors to welcome your exchanging partners upon their arrival. Ask them to give your guests home/car keys, show them how TV, VCR, appliances work, where to find fuse box, etc. Point out shopping locations, recreational facilities, and entertainment spots for adults and children, etc.
- Leave extra set of keys with friends or neighbors to be used in case one set is lost.
- Sign up an exchange agreement which helps to avoid misunderstandings about exchange dates, the number of people involved, use of the car, who pays for the utilities, long distance telephone bills, plumbing problems, etc. Specify who covers the cost of repairs in case of damages, etc. You may use example agreements:
Home Exchange Agreement
Car Exchange Agreement
- If travelling by airplane, please arrange for cancellation insurance when you buy a ticket. Prepare an "emergency plan" in case you have to stay at home, and cannot make it available to your exchange partners. Will you pay for their hotel costs, let them live in your friends house, or is there any other emergency option?
- If you have pets and your partner is willing to take care of them while staying at your home it is fine; otherwise arrange for somebody to take care of them.
- Arrange for care of gardens, yards, swimming pool, etc.
- Leave clean towels, linens, toilet papers, enough food for the first meal, and other essentials.
- Leave all appliances in working conditions.
- Make a list of all important contact numbers: neighbors, friends, emergency numbers (hospitals, police, fire department), house/car insurance agents, veterinarian, plumber, electrician, appliance repair, car repair, etc.
- Provide recommendation of local restaurants, theatres, swimming pools, golf courses, and other nearby attractions and places of interest.
- When your vacation is over, leave the house the way you found it and return keys to designated location.
- After you get back home post a review of your experience.