Published in Tips & Advice - August 28, 2012
By Shelley Miller Home Exchange Expert How to travel the world & stay for free. www.HomeExchangeExpert.com You've done it! You've taken the first step and joined Love Home Swap. Good for you! Now I bet you're thinking, "Now what?" Well, some...
By Shelley Miller
Home Exchange Expert
How to travel the world & stay for free.
You've done it! You've taken the first step and joined Love Home Swap. Good for you! Now I bet you're thinking, "Now what?"
Well, some people say home swap is like online dating, but I've always thought of it like fishing. You need to put out bait to catch the good ones. What should you use as bait? Your home of course!
My family has swapped our home 13 times in 12 years. Our children, Dillon and Michele, were 8 and 12 years old when we joined this wonderful world of home swap. Together we've vacationed in places like Italy, Mexico and Hong Kong. Now 21, Michele recently said, "Mom, how come everyone doesn't home swap?" My question exactly!
If you're ready to get started, here are my 9 tips on arranging your dream home swap:
1. Fabulous Home Photographs Required - High quality photos of your home are the single most important way to attract a top home swap. Open the drapes, clear the clutter off the table and put out a vase of fresh flowers. You know the best features of your home more than anyone, so show it off! I write a blog about home swap and the #1 article that most people read is this one, 7 Photo Tips To Promote Your Home.
2. Write An Engaging Home Swap Profile Page - Does your town have an interesting claim to fame? Do community leaders boast about its history? Include these fascinating facts on your home's profile page. If your city has a visitor's bureau or a chamber of commerce read their brochures, visit their website, find out how they promote your city and then borrow their ideas. Be sure to add your favorite restaurants, grocery stores and boutiques. These seemingly small details really bring your neighborhood to life.
Upload fabulous home photos and write an engaging home swap profile page.
Then start connecting with your favorite home swap prospects.
3. Select Your Travel Destination - This one is such fun. Take a walk with your travel partner and DREAM. Where have you always wanted to travel? Your dream destination could be located across the country or across the world. Now is your chance to vacation there! Also decide on your best travel dates; try to be flexible. If possible choose a window of time, for example "anytime between March or April," this will make scheduling a home swap easier. Complete your online profile of where and when you want to travel. I almost always check the "Anytime" and "Anywhere" boxes; this will open up your swap possibilities.
4. Start The Process At Least Six Months In Advance - To schedule a home swap vacation in July, you should begin the process in January. With that said, I just received an e-mail asking if we'd like to exchange our home with someone in Lyon, France 12 months from now! From the time you start, finding the right home swap partner could take as little as two weeks, however the average time invested is one - two months.
5. Write A Snazzy Home Swap Message Request - So you've completed your profile and uploaded your fabulous photos. Now you get to write the message to send out with your request. You want your message to sound friendly yet professional. Write it and save it in your computer so you can cut and paste your way around the world. You might find this article helpful: Catch A Fabulous Home Exchange With A Great E-mail.
6. What To Look For In A Home Swap -When researching possible exchange partners the first thing I do is glance at the city and country; then I spend the most of my time reviewing the photos. (Remember my #1 tip?) The master bedroom must look tidy or else I'm not interested. The home does not need to be perfect, but it does need to be clean. Our homes reveal a lot about us. Is the kitchen neat? Does the living room look comfortable? Is there a photo of the garden? Next I glance at the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. I note the professions of the home swappers too. What is the type of home, is it an apartment or a single-family home? For me, it's only then that I glance ideal travel times. I suggest you select about a dozen home exchange prospects, then cut and paste your snazzy message request. Finally, and this is important, click the submit button. J
7. Respond To All Home Swap Requests - If you've followed the previous tips you should get responses within a couple weeks. It's so exciting to hear from people around the world who are considering a swap! Everyone appreciates a speedy response. If you can't commit right away, at least let them know you plan to speak with your travel partner about the possibility of a swap. Or you can always simply say, "Not at this time." If you are interested in an exchange then write them back and…
9. Book it! - Once you exchange a few messages with your home swap prospect you'll develop a feeling about them. Is the tone of the e-mail pleasant? Do they ask appropriate questions about your home and your travel dates? Does it feel right? Then one home swap family will progress from prospect to real possibility. There will be a few more e-mails and finally, you'll just know that you're ready to swap. That's when you write, "Let's do this!"
I hope these tips inspire you to reach out and connect with other home swappers. You are starting an exciting time of your life. The adventures you are about to take will be better than you can imagine. The world is at your (home swap) doorstep.
Shelley Miller is a Home Exchange Expert who offers home swap tips to people who want to travel the world and stay for free. Miller, her husband and two children lived in Europe from April to August 2000 and exchanged homes with five different families in England, Ireland, Germany, France and Italy.
Connect with Shelley at:
Facebook: Home Exchange Expert
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