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So you’ve found a home you like the look of, but how do you go about messaging your fellow members? In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what to say to secure your dream swap… 

How to write a swap request

If you’re the one approaching a member about their home, it’s vital that your swap request is well written, so there are a few things to remember:

Firstly, as much as our site is about homes, it’s also about people. So it’s important to remember that we’re all friends here, and even though the person you’re messaging is technically a stranger – you have a few things in common already.


The Tone

So our first tip is to be warm, friendly, and personal. Even if you’re sending out multiple swap requests, it’s important you take the time to take a genuine interest in the people you’re swapping with. So what should you do?


Use their name - It’s simple but it’s effective.

Compliment their home - tell them what you love about their home and why you would like to go there. Remember a compliment or two goes a long way.

Sell your swap - If you’re looking to swap your home for theirs, let them know all about your place and what its got to offer. Set yourself apart and tell them why your home is special.

Reference their profile -If you show to a member you’ve took the time to read their profile and got to know them, it will go a long way. So for example if they’re into hiking and you live in a good area for it – let them know!

Sell yourself -This is the beginning of a trust establishing exercise, so be open. Let them know a little about you and who you’ll be travelling with. If you have things in common let them know.

Radiate responsibility - Remember you want to stay in this person’s home, so they want to know that you are responsible. Mentioning details about your occupation, children/pets, or previous swap experiences will go far. Another great yet very simple way to build trust is by getting verified by Love Home Swap to prove that you are a ‘real’ person.



What to include

Now you know what tone to take, you need to know what to include in your swap request.

Dates – This is crucial. Say when your available dates are and ask how flexible they are. This can be a bit of a negotiation process, and if your dates are fixed then be explicit. Openness and honesty are important.

Who will be travelling – Be sure to mention who will be in your travel party, and be specific. If you’re travelling with children mention ages as some homes will be more appropriate for youngsters than others.

Type of Travel – if you’re looking for a classic swap, non-simultaneous swap or points – let your host know. If you’re flexible with the type of swap you’re looking for it may help.


Carrying on the Conversation

At the end of your swap request, it’s important to show you’re serious about swapping by asking 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.

Similarly, it’s a good idea to add a ‘I’d love to discuss further’ or something similar so that it show’s you are cooperative and somewhat flexible in making the swap work for both sides. As you’re unable to exchange phone numbers or emails on site until after you’ve agreed your trip for security reasons, it’s important you carry on the conversation…


Pre-Swap Conversations – What you need to talk about

If your host is interested in accommodating you after you’ve sent your request, it’s important that you discuss the finer details. To help you get everything covered, here’s a list of what you should possibly talk about before travelling…


  • - Have they swapped before? How did it go? What is their relationship like with their previous owners?
  • -Who will they be travelling with (if a classic swap)?
  • - Is there anything you need to mention that can be a deal breaker? For example, looking after pts, any disabilities or allergies in either party? Are you swapping vehicles or recreational equipment?
  • - Cleaning – do you want to agree to professionally cleaning your homes pre-swap? What will you do about towels and linen etc. at the end of your stay?
  • - What’s included? Will you be using cars? Is the food in the cupboard off-limits?
  • - How will you swap keys? Are you leaving them somewhere or leaving with a neighbour etc.?
  • - Could there be a chance of meeting pre-swap? Even if its in the airport on the way, some of our members do actually meet before they swap.
  • - What if you need any help – who do you contact? Will there be friends or family around to help out?
  • - The rules – no smoking? Wine cellar off limits? What do your guests need to know before they arrive at your home and vice versa.

How to say no, nicely

Sometimes you may get requests that don’t fit exactly what you’re looking for. But remember, it’s still important to respond, even if you’re not looking to take up the offer. So, in order to say no nicely, we have the following tips…

- Honesty is key – if you’re not interested, then it’s best to be honest and say. Plus remember that we prioritise members with a good reply rate – so even saying no will increase your chances of attracting the right swap.
- Keep it short – you don’t have to go into massive detail about why you have decided to decline.
- Be sensitive – maybe someone has approached you with a home that is possibly too small for your family. Rather than risking offending someone, be more sensitive. Saying someone’s home may not accommodate your large family rather than being ‘too small’ is the same sentiment, but less likely to hurt someone’s feelings. However, if you can give constructive criticism, for example lack of clear photos, not enough property info etc. then tell them – you can really help others improve their listings.
- Leave it on a positive note – it doesn’t hurt to be kind, so end your message on a positive note. For example, ‘best wishes’, ‘good luck with your search’, ‘please do keep in touch’ etc.
- Don’t burn a bridge – just because a swap doesn’t suit your needs right now, it may do in the future. If you think you may be able to swap in the future, let them know.

What next?

So once you’ve found out the details of your proposed swap and happy with it, it’s time to agree your swap. To find out how – go to our next ‘How to Home Swap’ guide here… 

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