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The ultimate checklist to prepare your home for a home swap

The ultimate checklist to prepare your home for a home swap

Ellena Morgan
By Ellena Morgan - 20 minute read

So your home swap is agreed and your guests are due to arrive soon. Hur­ray! Now all that’s left to do is to pre­pare your place so that your home swap­pers enjoy a real­ly great stay.

Remem­ber, this list is meant to be help­ful rather than intim­i­dat­ing. Whether you com­plete all of these tasks or just a few, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber that your home is not a hotel, and that’s why your guests will love it! Fur­ther­more, some of these point­ers won’t apply to every­one and will depend on your home and whether you’re doing a Clas­sic or Points Swap. So pick and choose what you find useful.

Please feel free to per­son­alise your own list, and if you think we’ve left any­thing out, then get in touch, or share your #home­swap­pingtips on social media with us.

TOP TIP: Before agree­ing a swap, it’s always a good idea to dis­cuss your clean­ing expec­ta­tions, as some­one else’s ver­sion of clean may not be yours. It’s also use­ful to con­firm whether you are expect­ing to receive a clean­ing fee or vice ver­sa, as this will need to be fac­tored into the total cost of the home swap.
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The most impor­tant things to do before you set off for your swap

  1. Address­es and con­tact details: exchange both your details and theirs so there’s no con­fu­sion over address­es. you could even set up a What­sapp group for your swap.
  2. Key pick up: con­firm how you’ll be exchang­ing keys, plus the details of any home secu­ri­ty systems.
  3. Con­firm any fur­ther costs: some mem­bers may charge for extras such as clean­ing fees. Ensure this is clear and that both par­ties are in agree­ment before swapping.
  4. Oth­er con­sid­er­a­tions: will guests have to look after any pets? Or will they need to tend to the gar­den or water your house­plants? Out­line any expec­ta­tions dur­ing their stay, and don’t for­get to men­tion spe­cif­ic details such as what day the house­hold waste and recy­cling is collected.
  5. Cre­ate a wel­come pack: from local rec­om­men­da­tions and phone num­bers for take­aways and taxis, through to Net­flix and WiFi login details, make sure you’ve shared the type of info that will make your guests feel at home.
  6. Give your home a clean: make sure the bath­room and kitchen are hygien­ic, change the beds and get out fresh tow­els, hoover or sweep the floors and wipe over any sur­faces. Now wash all of the tow­els and linen that you’ve just stripped off the beds, so that your guests have a spare set of everything.

Want a lit­tle more detail? Excel­lent! Because if you want to go the extra mile, then let’s get into the nit­ty grit­ty in the fol­low­ing section

Out­side your home and the sur­round­ing area

House num­ber: make sure it’s clear to see from the road.

Plants and green­ery: prune any plants and remove any weeds to make the entrance inviting.

Front door: oil the hinges if they’re creaky and make sure there’s a door­mat to avoid mud­dy foot­prints in your home.

Locks and keys: If you’re using a key box, make sure it’s in a safe place and that your guest knows where to locate it. Also make sure you include all the keys nec­es­sary (if you’ve offered to lend them your bikes for their stay, they’ll need your garage keys!)

Gut­ters: clear out any drains that could clog and over­flow dur­ing their stay.

Inside your home

Smoke and CO2 detec­tors: check bat­ter­ies are replaced and have full charge.

Heat­ing and water sys­tem: every­one knows how com­pli­cat­ed these can be, and there’s noth­ing worse than being stuck in a chilly house with no hot water or heat­ing. Leave clear instruc­tions on how to set and change tem­per­a­tures and set timers that fit your guests’ schedule.

Fuse box: again, no one likes the idea of being left with­out pow­er! Make a note of where your fuse/​break­er box is locat­ed and make sure the sur­round­ing area is clear in case your guests need to access it.

Stains and marks: this is a home swap and not a hotel, so by no means is any­one expect­ing you to repaint the house, though feel free to touch up any scuffs around the house if you have the time. If there are any stains or marks that you can’t shift, make sure you’ve let your guest know about them, so that they don’t wor­ry about whether they’ve acci­den­tal­ly caused them.

Fire­place and chim­neys: if you have active fire­places, be sure to clear these (they should be checked annu­al­ly) and make it clear in your wel­come pack or when chat­ting to your guests about whether they are able to use these dur­ing their stay.

TOP TIP: If you’re tak­ing part in a long home swap (over two weeks) dis­cuss how bills will be han­dled and who will be pay­ing them for the swap duration.
2535273 love home swap how to home echange home exchange check list living room

Liv­ing Room

Remote con­trols: make sure these have full bat­ter­ies, and con­sid­er labelling them accord­ing to device to avoid confusion.

Tele­vi­sion and game sta­tions: be sure to leave instruc­tions near­by and also give pass­words to your Net­flix. Also, make sure your guests know where to find games, DVDs etc dur­ing their stay.

WiFi: make sure you pro­vide your inter­net pass­word and leave it in a few key areas around your home, as well as in your wel­come pack.

Hide away valu­ables: if there is any­thing that you would rather your guests did not have access to, now is the time to store them in a safe place. It may also be worth mov­ing sharp or frag­ile objects if kids are com­ing to stay.

Re-arrange and tidy: a gen­er­al clean and tidy-up will be enough to keep your guests happy.

Add home com­forts: Think about what your guests will be get­ting up to dur­ing their stay. Dust off the board games and grab some cosy blan­kets to make their evenings that much more special.


Mat­tress­es: fresh­en them up by giv­ing them a flip and a quick hoover.

Sheets: clean sheets on the bed is an obvi­ous essen­tial, but be sure to also pro­vide spares and addi­tion­al linen. You could even buy new sheets that will be exclu­sive­ly for home swappers.

Pil­lows: many peo­ple have aller­gies to feath­er pil­lows, so make sure you ask whether they’ll need syn­thet­ic or anti-aller­gy pillows.

Clos­et space and draw­ers: it’s real­ly impor­tant to clear some space for your guests for their stay. The amount of space you clear depends on the length of the swap and also the require­ments of each home swap­per, how­ev­er two draw­ers per room is a good mark­er to go by. If you’re strug­gling to cre­ate some hang­ing space, a good, afford­able option is to buy a clothes rail for your guests.

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Clear drains: no plumber required here – sim­ply make sure the plug hole is not clogged and any hair has been removed.

Coun­ter­tops and cab­i­net space: this is a great chance to clear away any clut­ter, and be sure to stock up on the basics like toi­let paper, tooth­paste and body­wash. It may also be a nice touch to pro­vide some spare tooth­brush­es and a nice soap set.

Tow­els and linen: make sure your show­er cur­tains are fresh­ly washed (no one likes a mildew smell) and that there are the cor­rect num­ber of tow­els for each guest. As with the sheets, it may be worth buy­ing a sep­a­rate set of guest’ tow­els, so they are free of wear and all match.

2535271 love home swap how to home echange home exchange check list kitchen


Water sup­ply: depend­ing on where you live, your tap water may not be drink­able. Make this clear in your wel­come pack and if your water isn’t safe, be sure to pro­vide some bot­tled water to wel­come your guests. If you are able to drink your tap water, do let your guests know! Not only will they save on buy­ing water, it also means less plas­tic and waste.

Cup­boards and coun­ter­tops: your guests arranged a home swap over a rental for a rea­son – they will most like­ly be want­i­ng to cook and use the kitchen reg­u­lar­ly. So clear some room for their gro­ceries and a place where they can pre­pare their meals, and be sure to leave your cup­boards tidy and haz­ard free.

Cof­fee mak­ers and elec­tric ket­tles: even if you don’t drink cof­fee or tea, it’s always a nice idea to have an elec­tric ket­tle avail­able as they’re fair­ly inex­pen­sive. Check whether your ket­tle needs descal­ing, and if you have a cof­feemak­er, be sure to top up on your cap­sules or fresh coffee.

Oth­er appli­ances: if you have an oven and a microwave (or any oth­er appli­ances that they may find use­ful) be sure to leave instruc­tions, and put away any you don’t want your guests hav­ing access to.

Refrig­er­a­tor: depend­ing on how long the swap is for and the expec­ta­tions of your guests (which should be dis­cussed before the swap) be sure to clear some space in both your fridge and freezer.

Gro­ceries: it’s always a nice touch to leave some fresh items for your guest (as well as a note let­ting them know to help them­selves!) Essen­tials are cof­fee, tea, milk, water, bread and but­ter. Addi­tion­al items could be a nice bot­tle of wine or some local treats to enjoy upon their arrival. Be sure to check if there are any spe­cif­ic dietary require­ments before they arrive.

Stock up on clean­ing supplies:

  • Dust­pan and brush
  • Paper tow­els
  • Dish­tow­els
  • Vac­u­um cleaner
  • Wash­ing up liq­uid and/​or dish­wash­er tablets
  • Sponge and scourer
  • Hand soaps

Safe­ty and security

Fire extin­guish­ers: if you don’t have a fire extin­guish­er, it might be a good idea to buy one for your guests’ arrival to make them (and you!) feel safer dur­ing their stay. Also, note where the fire exits are if you are in an apart­ment block.

First aid kit: chances are your guests won’t know where to look for items like ban­dages, and you don’t want them rum­mag­ing through your stuff in the unfor­tu­nate event of a minor acci­dent. Pre-made first aid kits are avail­able for pur­chase, but you can build your own to save on mon­ey. Essen­tials include: ban­dages, plasters/​band aids, wound cleans­ing wipes, scis­sors, tweez­ers, safe­ty pins, pain relief.

Water and gas main lines: inspect your gas line for any leaks and ensure all con­nec­tions are tight. If your home will be emp­ty for some time before your guests arrive, turn off the water and gas enter­ing your house, and leave detailed instruc­tions (prefer­ably with pho­tographs) on how to turn them back on again. Bet­ter yet, ask a neigh­bour to help if possible.

Flashlights/​torch­es: make sure they have full bat­ter­ies and are in an easy-to-find location.

Down­load our free home swap checklist

Found this guide use­ful? You can now down­load our home swap check­list to print off and use for your next home swap. Sim­ply click the expand icon below or click here.