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In part six of our 'How to home swap' series, we'll show you how to send the perfect swap request message, based on some of our most successful home swappers.

Swapping might be a subjective art, but there are some simple things you can do you message that dream swap to increase your chances of both a reply and (hopefully) a swap.

We took a look into what our most successful swappers have in common and this is what we found - here's how to send an excellent swap request.

We're all friends here

While technically the swapper you're messaging is a stranger - we can confidently say that treating them as such won't get you far.

Love Home Swap is a club, so even if you don't know each other, yet, you already have something in common. Open your email with something friendly or warm - and we really encourage you to take the time to use their name, even if you are messaging multiple swappers. It's all about being personal.

Make an offer they can't refuse

It's also worth starting off your message getting straight to the point of what you have to offer them. In marketing they're called call to action - where you incite some kind of action from the reader. So something along the lines of 'Have a fairytale in New York' or 'Visit beautiful New Zealand'.

This means your swapper knows straight-off-the-bat what's being offered - which also shows you're a considerate swapper.

Keep it sweet, but not too short

Many home swappers are busy people, so you guys don't want to have to read through pages of text. Equally however, the name of the game here is establishing a level of rapport and, ultimately, trust - which requires more than a couple of lines.

We recommend around 200 words for a swap request.

People swap with people

If we have one tip for writing a good swap request message, it's 'make it personal'. Show some thought and consideration, whether you're sending one request for this particular trip or one hundred. Here's a couple of ways how:

  • - Use their name. Simple but effective.
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  • - Compliment their home. Tell them why you've hand-picked their home for your holiday.
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  • - Sell your swap. Let them know all about your place and what it has to offer them. Set yourself apart and tell them what makes your home special.
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  • - Reference their profile. If there's anything in their profile they ask for that you can offer - whether it's a spacious family home, something that relates to their hobbies or even just your location - let them know about it.
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  • - Sell yourself. This is the beginning of a trust establishing exercise, so start off being open. Let them know a little about who you are and maybe why you're swapping or your reasons for travelling to where they are.
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  • - Radiate responsibility. Remember, this person will be leaving their home in your hands, so they want to hear you're responsible. Mentioning details like your occupation(s) and any children or pets you have can help here. Noting any previous swap experience (if you have it) is also a great addition.
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  • A for accuracy

    Grammar and language are always important - so you need to consider this strongly when you write your message.

    If you're writing to someone whose first language isn't English, for example, consider using simple, universal language.

    It's also important to ensure your grammar and spelling is correct, to avoid ambiguity and confusion. If you do speak other languages, it's worth adding these in too. You may have a common language you didn't expect, which might make them more inclined to reply.

    Get flexible

    Most swappers have a clear idea of dates they want to swap - which is fine, but your chances of swap success will be infinitely higher if you can be even a little bit flexible.

    If you have any flexibility at all, try to convey this in your message. Whether that's something like 'We're hoping to swap to New York for one week anytime between June - August 2016' or a less fluid 'We'd ideally like to swap to New York for the week starting July 11th, but may be able to move these slightly if you can't make these work'.

    If you can suggest a couple of different dates - if you're fairly fixed - even better.

    Finish with flair

    In your close off, show you're serious. Ask the member if they'd be kind enough to decline if they're not interested, so you can remove them from your potential swap list and encourage further discussion.

    While you're unable to exchange phone number or emails, for your security, until the swap is agreed on-site, just adding a simple 'would be great to hear your thoughts' or 'I'd love to discuss further' shows you're cooperative and invested in making the swap work for both sides.

    As we're all friends here, leave your regards at the door where your work emails are and try something a little more personal like 'warm wishes' or 'look forward to hearing from you'.

    Complete with a sign off - ideally of both your first name and last name, to build a feeling a legitimacy.

    Timing is everything

    People aren't always checking their messages - so be mindful of this. Try to leave yourself as much time as possible to arrange your swap and also be lenient with how long you expect a reply within. Some people will message back in a matter of hours, others possibly a couple of weeks.

    Equally, when it comes to follow-up, only do this if you honestly really want to stay there. After a certain period it's likely that user has just ignored your message. While this isn't something we encourage (and we'd like to point these people in the direct of this 'How to home swap' post) - unfortunately it does happen. Multiple messages will only irritate them. It can be disappointing, but there's always another swap out there for you!

    If content is king, context is queen

    Everyone wants to stay in a mansion, and while we wouldn't discourage you from trying, if that mansion is owned by a family of 8 - the chances they'll even be able to swap for your London studio is slim to say the least.

    To write a personal message you'll have to read their profile, so you can use this time to really screen for swappers who are likely to be able to, and want to, swap with you.

    For more tips on finding swappers that fit your specific criteria, check out part five of this series on finding the perfect swap.

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