Monday, May 16, 2011

Home Exchange: My Experience so Far

It’s time to explore the concept of home exchanges again.

I’d been a member of www.homeexchange.com for two years a few years ago. I put out a number of requests over that time, mostly to places in France and Italy. Unfortunately no one was interested in coming to Toronto, Canada at the same time that we were interested in travelling. I did receive a number of requests from people in Florida wanting to exchange in July or August, but that wasn’t where I wanted to be.

Home Exchange.com is one of the largest sites with over 40,000 listings in 144 countries and costs $119.50 for an annual membership or $47.85 for a three month membership. They guarantee that if you do not get an exchange in the first year, your second year is free. Although I didn’t find anything the first time around, I may try this site again.

Other Home exchange sites include www.homeforexchange.com (annual fee $57.00), www.homeforswap.com (annual fee $75.00), www.homelink.org (annual fee $150, established in 1953), www.ihen.com (annual fee $39.95).

I registered on www.exchangeaway.com . It is free to list your house, however there is a cost of 20.34 GBP to be able to contact other exchangers. I posted my house on this site and received a response from Australia. Unfortunately, I need to pay the fee in order to read the request and reply back.

I also registered on www.exchangezones.com . Registration is free and includes not only home exchanges but also rentals, B&B, Homestays, Hostels and real estate for sale.

Through Exchange Zones, I contacted seven different owners in New York City and three owners around Charleston, South Carolina. Within hours I received two replies from NYC; one friendly refusal and another one saying that the dates didn’t work for his family but to keep in touch because something may work out in the future. No other responses came in from the eight other properties.

I haven’t given up on home exchanges, however for this summer I may need to look at alternative accommodation options.

I'll keep you posted.

4 comments:

  1. Kimberly,
    Don't get discouraged regarding not finding someone to swap with.

    Most new exchangers send out only a few inquiries or simply post a listing waiting for the offers to come in. Unfortunately swapping doesn't work that way - it takes time and effort to find someone to exchange with. Unless you have a home in a highly desirable location such as an apartment overlooking Central Park in New York City, you'll need to be pro-active.

    We recommend sending out at least 20, 30 or more inquiries. It's also helpful to focus on those listings that have been recently updated (a good home exchange site will allow you to sort) - as these members are the ones actively looking for a swap.

    You may find the following article of interest:
    66 Practical home Exchange Tips

    It's great that you posted on several sites. It also helps to be flexible regarding the dates, length of stay and especially destination. (For our first swap we wanted to go to France and ended up in Hawaii!). It's also important to start early. You should start looking in January for a summer swap.

    If you haven't given up and you don't mind listing on another site, you're welcome to join our site as well; 1st Home Exchange.

    We have the largest selection of France swaps - over 8000 at the moment. We offer both a free membership and a paid membership. The free (Basic) membership allows you to list but you need to wait for someone (paid member) to contact you. But you don't need to upgrade in order to reply.

    Our paid membership (Premium) allows you to contact all members, post unlimited photos and your listing is shown first in the search results.

    Happy home exchanging.

    Tony

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  2. I also registered on www.exchangezones.com . Registration is free and includes not only home exchanges but also rentals, B&B, Homestays, Hostels and real estate for sale.

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  3. BEWARE exchange away. Buried in their terms and conditions - they automatically renew your subscription WITHOUT YOU authorising it!! I have had to cancel my credit card to stop them getting money from my credit card - this is a scam and is an illegal practice in many countries

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  4. Travelling the world the home exchange way is simply marvelous! There are so many advantages but one must be sure to join a community that is trustworthy. Knok.com is a new generation home exchange site that is absolutely safe and user friendly. Knok also provides a home exchange insurance for every home exchange that takes places within the system.

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