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In part seven of our 'How to home swap' series, we're talking trust. Making friends and building a rapport is the start of establishing trust with your fellow swappers, so we're sharing a few easy tips on how to get the ball rolling.

Before you message...

Get the process off to a flying start by making sure swappers get a really good feel for who you are from your listing and profile.

If you didn't catch part one of the series and want to know more about how you can do this, check out the 'About us' 101 post.

Openness & honesty

In our previous 'How to home swap' posts on bio writing, declining swaps and sending swap requests, we've put a real emphasis on openness and honesty - but just in case we hadn't made it clear yet: Openness and honesty are really important in home swapping.

Love Home Swap is a community of like-minded homeowners and travellers, which means respect is an important element of the platform. When you have respect for someone, you aren't afraid to tell them the truth and be clear with them about what you need.

If there are things you need from fellow swappers, be upfront about them early on - whether it's that you would need them to feed fluffy while you're on-swap or you need to ensure a family member's disability or allergy can be accommodated for pre-agreement.

Whatever it is, don't be afraid to speak up.

 

 

Ask the important questions

While most people will organically work through any important questions they have through messages as you agree the swap, it can be helpful to sit down and write out the questions you need answers to before you agree, so you can agree feeling confident that you trust these people.

Questions you might want to consider:

  • - Have they swapped before? If so, how did it go? What is their relationship like with their previous swappers?
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  • - Who will they be travelling with? Can I speak with all these people pre-swap? If not, how do I feel about that?
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  • - Is there anything I need them to agree to that could be a deal-breaker? For example, looking after pets; accommodating any disabilities or allergies your party or also swapping items like vehicles or recreational equipment.
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  • - What about cleaning? Do you want to agree to professionally cleaning your homes pre-swap? What will you do about towels and linen at the end of your stay?
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  • - What's included? Will you also be including cars? Is the food in the cupboard off-limits?
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  • - What's off-limits? Is there anywhere or anything in the house you they won't be comfortable with you using? Do you have anything you'd prefer them not to use?
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  • - How will we swap keys? Will they be left somewhere or will someone bring them to you?
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  • - Could there be a chance of meeting pre-swap? Even if it's in the airport on your way to swap. How important is this to you?
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  • - What if you need help? Will there be friends or family or your swapper to help you out if you need it during the swap?
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Get social

 

Home swapping is a social practice. The internet has not only allowed us at Love Home Swap to provide you with a platform to swap with more people worldwide, it can help you to swap even more effectively - especially if you're active on social media channels like Twitter or Instagram.

 

 

We already mentioned our Facebook and LinkedIn connect services, but many Love Home Swappers also use other social media accounts to show off their homes and neighbourhoods and establish them as the great swapper they are.

 

Keep communicating

Make plans to keep the line of communication going after you've agreed your swap. Make sure you both intend on swapping number and emails before you agree, then make sure to keep in touch regularly in the run up to the swap.

Even if you have nothing to say, it's nice to drop in a quick message saying you're excited about your swap.

If you have any technical troubles at home - it could be worth mentioning them, just so your swapper is aware it's previously been a problem and doesn't panic if it happens again while they're staying with you.

You can also use this time to find out if your swapper needs anything from you - whether that's instructions for your cooker because they're keen bakers, tourist information for points of local interest or directions to the best bar in the area. You can collate these all in a guide for when your guests arrive.

 

 

Get inspired by MTV Cribs

MTV Cribs may be long gone, but it left a great legacy of swap inspiration that you can apply to home swapping and getting to know your new Love Home Swap friends.

Once you've agreed a swap, you'll be able to exchange contact information, including your Skype ID. We highly recommend exchanging the latter (if you don't have skype, why not get it? It's free!). Not only is it instant anxiety relief to see your swappers faces, but you can take video tours of each other's homes.

MTV Cribs style costume changes are optional.

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