Valuable Tips on How To Get A Trade or Exchange


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You have decided that home exchange is something for you.  Enjoying a new destination and relaxing in a home while on vacation sounds like a great way to spend a vacation.  The first step in getting a home exchange is really fun, it is much like visiting a travel agent and looking at all the brochures, reading the travel section in your favourite newspaper or magazine.  Once you choose a home exchange network online (see previous blog) you will be able to search for a home from many different options.  

Many people first think of location.  This is fine, but we might challenge you and first search by vacation activity (what we call Vacation Selections).  If you enjoy rambling / hiking / walking why not first look at homes near excellent locations to enjoy the great outdoors?  Similarly, you might enjoy sailing or golf?  Beaches or maybe fishing could be your passion.  With home exchange the options are great; maybe start your search for homes that give you access to the activities you enjoy most while on holiday.  Of course you can also search by the essential items like location, number of bedrooms, how many the home sleeps, and many other amenities.  Once you found homes that you would like to visit, you will then have to contact the owner of the property to determine if they are interested in an exchange (not many, but some exchange networks will assist you with a personal service in this process). 

What will other home owners be interested in?  This is important, you need to both promote your home as well as proactively communicate to prospective traders.  

The following are helpful hints in getting an exchange.

  • International Vacation Home Exchange (IVHE)Pictures are worth a thousand words.  Upload to the home swap website good quality pictures of your property.  Think about what you would like to see when you visit a location.  Living room / lounge, dining area, kitchen, bathroom / toilet and bedrooms are obviously great to start.  Also feature any unique offerings you might have like a back yard / garden with outdoor furniture, a hot tub, a pool table or maybe the view from the deck.   Investing in a quality camera, maybe with a wide angle lens, or having a few professional photographs taken will ensure that your home is presented in the best possible way and gain interest in your property listing.  For some advice from a professional photographer, read this blog.
  • Promote all the activities that are available around your area.  You might have searched by activity, so would equally important for you list attractions and activities near your home.  Depending on where you are, a useful information source could me Trip Advisor and search for all the activities and things to do in your city or region.  Giving your potential guests information on all the benefits of visiting your location is a great way to entice them to trade with you.  Some home exchange websites assist you by having a map of your location where you can add or highlight the local attractions on this map.
  • International Vacation Home Exchange (IVHE)When communicating with your potential exchange members, clearly detail dates and times, type of accommodation, activities, location and how many people can visit.  Keep your language simple and direct; remember that your exchange party may not have the same first language as you.  Honesty is extremely important as the whole exchange world is based on trust.  If you are interested, let them know.  If you are not interested, let them know too.  A timely and honest answer is what we believe you would like, do the same for others. 
  • Be flexible and realistic in both your expectations and timing.  The more you open your mind to possibilities of locations the more options you will have.  Take advantage of the opportunity of using home exchange to explore somewhere new and different.  Of course the more flexible your time, again the more likely you will quickly find an excellent trade opportunity.  Last minute opportunities are frequently presenting themselves, some exchange communities feature them.  If your time is flexible, you can benefit by swapping sooner rather than later.  Of course if you are trading non-simultaneously, you have added flexibility of not having to swap at the same time, which is great.  Be realistic in your trade expectations.  Unless you are part of a Credits system (described earlier), you might not find a property that has the same space or amenities as your home, if it meets your needs then maybe you should still swap.   
  • International Vacation Home Exchange (IVHE)Confirm your trade agreement in writing.  Including the dates of visits along with the names and contact details of both parties is a good start.  If there are any extras (example: use of a car and or boat) or exclusions (example: basement of the house will be locked and out of bounds) they should be clearly stated in the agreement.  Some house swap networks provide exchange agreements to their members to use.  If you would like to receive a FREE sample HOME EXCHANGE AGREEMENT, simply email us and we’ll send you one for your personal use. 

We want you to be successful promoting your home and in finding the right home to visit.  Using the above tips and hints will help you to successfully plan and agree an exchange perfect for you.   The most important of all is to start traveling and have fun!  Enjoy!

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Other Members' Thoughts - 11 Comment(s)

  • Kenbob
    almost 5 years ago
    Thanks for the valueable tips. They are really helpful. I have been thinking about home exchange for a long time but never get round to actually doing it. Have to give it a go.
  • Adventurer
    almost 5 years ago
    Tanks for the good tips. I need the encouragement. The tips help.
  • discerning-traveller
    almost 5 years ago
    I, like another member, have unofficially been swapping with people I know.
    At the moment, I'd love to swap a week's accommodation in Madeira for the same in Guernsey! Any ideas?
    I've read the reviews. Unfortunately we need to go at May half term and this puts the price up.Have a very nice house by the sea in Devon but not been brave enough to swap it yet.It's the thought of putting sentimental things away and clearing space!
  • Vicky11
    almost 5 years ago
    Some really good and valuable tips for home exchange. I hope to give it a try.
  • inishowen
    almost 5 years ago
    I've been swapping my house unofficially for years. I have a friend that went to live in Sussex. I live in Northern Ireland. When she wants to come and visit her family we either do a house swap, or she comes and stays here while we are on holiday somewhere else. I put her on my car insurance today which only cost me £1.06 for a week! She's coming next week and will be looking after our cat while we are away.
  • Eleanor-Reid
    almost 5 years ago
    I always wonder about people looking through my belongings and opening my mail. Perhaps I am paranoid . In my young days we did bed and breakfast from our home in Inverness as so many others did. Some nights in summer there was not a bed to be had in the town. We left clothes in the wardrobes and shared a bathroom and never had any bother. We met some interesting people too so perhaps we should give home swopping a go.
  • Bren-Hall
    almost 5 years ago
    Many thanks for all the tips on home exchange, you make it sound so easy I think I will give it a try this year!
    about 5 years ago
    Hello Sables, Different home exchange networks have various models, always best to read the terms and conditions. is currently offering a free Direct or Silver membership for Silver Travel Advisor readers, simply use the code STANOV on their join page. For Direct exchanges there are no other charges. For credit exchanges there is simply a 9% Trade Coordination fee. [email protected]

    Hello Sandra Wow, you are an expert, we would love to hear about some of your experiences. We currently have a contest running where you can win 2 carry-on travel luggage bags, more information is in the Silver Travel Advisor January newsletter.
  • sables
    about 5 years ago
    hi I was wondering do you have to pay any hidden chargers when joining one of these exchange groups
  • sandra_42
    about 5 years ago
    I've completed about 20 exchanges in the last six years and all the people have been delightful.
  • daydreamer
    about 5 years ago
    You have revived my interest in home swapping. I did register on one scheme in 1986. We got a lot of enquiries but only completed one - every successful swap. We stayed in a gorgeous little cottage in Lincolnshire. The owners were so worried about it being nice enough that they repainted the all the walls just before we arrived! I then felt guilty about our house not living up to their standards however they were very happy with the exchange. If you could guarantee such nice people to swap with I would certainly do it again.