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One question that often is asked by many new home swappers is how to exchange keys with their home swap guests. In this guide we’ll outline the best ways to give your guest their keys.

1. Leave with neighbours, family or friends

This is the easiest for a swap host and by far the cheapest of all key options (after you factor in the free ‘thank you’ bottle of wine for their efforts!).

Leaving keys with a family member, friend or neighbour works well, however you must ensure that they arrive at the agreed meeting place on time and are contactable by phone or email for you and your guest.

However, leaving keys with someone does have its downsides. Sometimes (and especially with international home swaps) your guests may be arriving in the early hours of the morning, which may make handing over keys difficult and inconvenient for your neighbour or friend. Also, your neighbour may not always be in so can be an unreliable source.

Relying on a family member, friend or neighbour works well if you home swap once or twice a year, however any more than that you may want to look at other options. Which leads to…


2. Invest in an outdoor code lock box 

Key boxes allow your guests to access the keys with no one there to hand over to. This is a great option if you plan to take part in a large amount of home swaps, live in a rural area or are planning a Points swap or non-simultaneous swap.

Lock boxes a very affordable way to handover keys, with a one-ff payment starting from as little as £20. These work by keeping your keys in a secure box with a pin code for your guests to be able to retrieve the keys upon their arrival. When departing, all your guests have to do is put the keys back and safety secure for the next person.

Although affordable, key boxes can be a potential risk for break ins. For this reason, ensure that guests always securely close the box after leaving and invest in a system that automatically resets the code after your home swap guest’s stay.


3. Use a key exchange service  

With the rise of home sharing, there has been a growth in services helping accommodate hosts and their guests. The right provider for you will depend on the country you are based in and where you live within that country.

Key Nest is a great option and is currently available in every major city in the UK, as well as USA and seven other countries across Europe. You can pay per swap (around $7) or you can pay annually which works out as roughly $19 a month.

Another great key holding service is Key Café, who have over 800 pick up locations in 40+ countries, including Asia. The service is all controlled through an app which also includes real-time ID verification so you can see exactly who is accessing your home and when.


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