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10 tips for a successful home swap
Home Swapping Tips

10 tips for a successful home swap

Ellena Morgan
By Ellena Morgan - 16 minute read

Fan­cy trav­el­ling to the best hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions for a snip of the price? Pas­sion­ate about low-cost trav­el with­out com­pro­mis­ing on your stan­dards? Then it’s time to exchange your home! This unique way of vaca­tion­ing will save you a huge amount of mon­ey on hotels and hol­i­day rentals, and enable you to tick even more loca­tions off your trav­el buck­et list. Hap­pi­ly, we’re a mul­ti-award-win­ning site, and we’re well equipped to help you make the most of this incred­i­ble way of trav­el­ling – so we’ve com­piled our top 10 tips to ensure you have the best home swap experience.

1. Cre­ate a detailed home listing

First things first, you need to cre­ate a tru­ly crack­ing home list­ing — some­thing that will show off your home to its absolute best, and catch the atten­tion of oth­er home swap­pers. It’s real­ly tempt­ing to dive straight into brows­ing the homes on the site as your first port of call, but try to resist doing this, as what’s the point in find­ing your dream home swap if you’re not in a posi­tion to offer up your own place?!

Your list­ing is the first impres­sion that oth­er mem­bers will have of you, so it’s cru­cial that it’s a true reflec­tion of who you are and what your home is like. Make sure you read our guide to cre­at­ing the per­fect list­ing, but in short, this is what it covers: 

  • Loca­tion: where is your home, what’s near­by, and what is there to do local­ly and fur­ther afield?
  • Descrip­tion: describe what makes your home and your area so spe­cial. Don’t be shy! 
  • Facil­i­ties: what appli­ances do you have, will home swap­pers be able to bor­row your car, and is your home child-friend­ly and open to well-behaved pets? It’s time to share the nit­ty gritty.
  • Pho­tos: include a great range of pho­tos. This should include snaps of the bed­rooms, your kitchen and din­ing space, any views from your home, plus the out­side of your home, and near­by sights. If you want a lit­tle more guid­ance on how to take the best pho­tos of your home, then click here.

2. Read list­ings care­ful­ly before enquiring

To avoid caus­ing dis­ap­point­ment for anoth­er mem­ber by show­ing an inter­est in their home and then back­ing out if it’s not exact­ly what you want­ed, make sure you read their list­ing prop­er­ly. Check their avail­abil­i­ty cal­en­dar, neigh­bour­hood details and loca­tion care­ful­ly — if they haven’t includ­ed this in their list­ing, then feel free to reach out and make a ten­ta­tive request, but be clear that you need to know this infor­ma­tion before you ful­ly com­mit to them. 

3. Write the per­fect home swap request

Often mem­bers in high­ly desir­able areas (like major cities or those who live near icon­ic beach­es) receive a lot of home swap requests, so it’s impor­tant to make your swap request stand out in a good way. 

First­ly, when send­ing a mes­sage to anoth­er mem­ber, it’s vital to make a good impres­sion. Dou­ble check that the mem­ber’s home is avail­able dur­ing the times you are look­ing to trav­el, and then con­sid­er what you are look­ing for. When you are writ­ing your swap request, men­tion this info as it shows that you’re a thought­ful per­son who isn’t going to waste their time. 

Sec­ond­ly, keep your mes­sage per­son­able, yet con­cise. For more tips, you can read our guide to send­ing a great home swap request — or to see a great exam­ple of how to write a request for both a Clas­sic Swap and a Points Swap, then read Marie’s top tips on how to secure more swaps. She’s a huge­ly suc­cess­ful home swap­per who has been a pas­sion­ate mem­ber of Love Home Swap for sev­er­al years, so her insight is fantastic! 

Tips for a successful home swap traveller

Keep an open mind for amaz­ing home swap experiences.

4. Keep an open mind

Don’t be dis­cour­aged if you are strug­gling to find an exchange in the exact loca­tion you are look­ing for. Instead, look fur­ther afield to near­by towns and cities that may have more prop­er­ties. If you’re not set on exact dates, being flex­i­ble on when you exchange can also help you secure a real­ly amaz­ing home swap.

Also, when you are receiv­ing swap enquiries from oth­er mem­bers who would like to stay in your home, do con­sid­er loca­tions that you wouldn’t have nec­es­sar­i­ly put on your buck­et list. Some of our mem­bers’ best home swap expe­ri­ences have been from unplanned hol­i­days to des­ti­na­tions they had not con­sid­ered before! To let oth­er mem­bers know that you’re open to all sorts of trav­el oppor­tu­ni­ties, you can update your Dream Des­ti­na­tions list to include Open to trav­el­ling any­where’. This will help you secure more swap requests from like­mind­ed travel-lovers. 

5. Have real­is­tic expectations

You won’t be sur­prised to hear that mem­bers who live in pop­u­lar trav­el or tourist des­ti­na­tions like New York, Paris or cen­tral Lon­don often receive more swap requests than those who live in less­er-known des­ti­na­tions. But just because you live in a loca­tion that’s not necce­sar­i­ly in the guide­books, does­n’t mean you can’t be a suc­cess­ful home swapper! 

The impor­tant thing to remem­ber is that mem­bers trav­el for var­i­ous rea­sons – it could be for a wed­ding, to vis­it fam­i­ly or sim­ply because they want to get away from the crowds. Some of our mem­bers even home swap in areas that they’re con­sid­er­ing buy­ing a home in, so that they can get a feel for what it would be like to live there per­ma­nent­ly. The key to ensur­ing you get more swap requests is to con­sid­er why you love your area so much, and then shout about it in your pro­file! For exam­ple, is your home with­in an hour’s dri­ve from an area of inter­est, a pop­u­lar wed­ding venue, some great restau­rants or a beau­ti­ful area of coun­try­side? Then put it on your pro­file! And if you live in greater L.A. but you can dri­ve to Dis­ney­land in 2 hours — or you’re locat­ed by a main train­line that can whip you to anoth­er part of the coun­try, then don’t for­get to men­tion that too. 

6. Get to know your host better

Once you’ve found the per­fect home swap, it’s impor­tant to pro­vide not only infor­ma­tion about your­self, but to find out a lit­tle more about your host. You both need to feel com­fort­able about the exchange, so before details of your swap are con­firmed on the plat­form (see tip 8), it’s a good idea to set up a video call on Zoom, Face­Time, Skype or any oth­er video con­fer­enc­ing plat­form. This is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk more about what there is to do in the local area, and to chat through any house rules (like whether pets are allowed, whether any rooms are off-lim­its etc), so that you can both feel more con­fi­dent that this is going to be a great partnership! 

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Keep the con­ver­sa­tion going via mes­sages and video conferencing.

7. Agree the pre­cise details before swapping

Arriv­ing at 2am from a 7‑hour flight? You’re bound to be tired, so make sure that your hosts have left a key some­where safe and acces­si­ble for your arrival time. It’s also help­ful to ask for a pho­to of the out­side of their home so that you know which prop­er­ty you’re look­ing for, and to dou­ble-check that you’ve got the right address and emer­gency con­tact details. Infor­ma­tion about what is includ­ed in the home, what to do with dirty linen and tow­els once you leave, and direc­tions to the home should all be sort­ed ahead of time to pre­vent any last-minute swap mishaps.

8. Keep your con­ver­sa­tion on the platform

It’s impor­tant to make sure any deci­sions about your home swap are kept on the plat­form. This way, any poten­tial hic­cups or dif­fi­cul­ties along the way can be dealt with quick­ly and effi­cient­ly by our love­ly Cus­tomer Care team. If you take your con­ver­sa­tion off-site, we might strug­gle to help you straight­en out any mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions — so stick with us, and we’ll help you enjoy an amaz­ing break!

Read more tips on how to stay safe whilst home swap­ping here.

9. Put away any­thing you don’t want your guests to touch

The beau­ty of home swap­ping is that you don’t need to pack away every­thing for your guests. Clear­ing some space in the wardrobe, draw­ers and kitchen cup­boards is more than enough. How­ev­er, any­thing that you’d feel more com­fort­able being out of reach of your guests should be secure­ly put or locked away. You can even store items in a room that is out of bounds’. If there is a room that you will not be mak­ing avail­able to your guests, it’s impor­tant to make this clear in your con­ver­sa­tions or your prop­er­ty list­ing, and don’t put images of the room in your home listing.

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Put a few ground rules in place to ensure you both enjoy a great experience.

10. Estab­lish ground rules pri­or to the home swap

No mat­ter how well you think you’ve pre­pared for your swap, there’s bound to be some glitch­es along the way. To try and min­imise these hic­cups, iron out any spe­cif­ic require­ments. If you’re the host, will you expect your guests to han­dle any­thing like tak­ing out the bins? If it’s a long-term home swap, how will bills be sort­ed? An easy way of ensur­ing you haven’t missed any­thing out is to cre­ate a set of house rules to give to your guest — this should ide­al­ly be sent to them before their stay.

Now get swapping!

Armed with this infor­ma­tion, it’s time to get search­ing and find your per­fect home swap! If you’re not already a mem­ber of Love Home Swap, then sign up now for a free two-week tri­al. Want a lit­tle more info or guid­ance? Then don’t hes­i­tate to get in touch with our knowl­edge­able Cus­tomer Care team. We’d be hap­py to help.