We have a VERY different situation from most. We have two properties that are about the same within about 2 miles of each other. Each is a 2 bed/2 bath condo (flat) - one on the ground floor and the other on the 2nd floor. One or the other or both may be used in the exchange. There are 4 vehicles available in the exchange.
The first property, upstairs, next to the pool, overlooks a wooded stream across the parking strip. It is an older home more functional than elegant. It's clean, comfortable and secure. The second, on the ground floor, is a few hundred meters from the pool, has no view, but is more elegant and modern.
The key is that our 86 year old mother likes to travel with us so she makes her condo available with the exchange if needed. Hers is the elegant one with a queen bed in one bedroom and a computer and table in the other bedroom. Bedding is easily provided. She has a giant screen TV, too.
Our place is upstairs, a little older, shows some wear and tear from many grandkids visiting, but it is clean and neat. Each bedroom has a single bed, computer and desk in it along with a private bathroom.
Charlotte is a high school teacher and I'm a retired doctor. All the kids are grown and love to send their kids to grandma's so the minor stains are constantly replaced and the permanent marker pen artwork on the chairs is there to stay. It means you don't have to worry about making it beautiful when you leave. However, we will do our best to make sure yours is when we leave.
We are basically central and close to everything in Southern California. However, that's a relative term. In many parts of the world 50 miles (60 km) is quite a long way. In Los Angeles, that's considered local. Disneyland is 8 miles away, Universal Studios, Hollywood, the beach, big museums are all within 40 miles. Sea World, Magic Mountain, the mountains are all within a 2 hour drive. On a map it looks like we are far from any freeway, but that's misleading. We can get to 4 different freeways going almost anywhere within 10 minutes to prevent being stuck on one due to some problem.
Both locations are fairly quiet, although traffic can be heard with the windows open. The neighborhoods are middle class and cared for. Shopping for groceries, malls, giant stores like WalMart, and restaurants are all within a few minutes drive. It only takes about 4 to 5 minutes to drive from one condo to the other.
Charlotte teaches the severely handicapped at high school, is in the Southern California Mormon Choir, does weekly square dancing and enjoys traveling. I'm a retired doctor, travel extensively, do several businesses on the Internet, do quite a bit of real estate investing in these fantastic times (I love down markets), and even do things as an independent travel agent for family, friends and myself.
We are both single (YES). We are actually brother and sister. When I retired from practice in San Francisco Charlotte was just going through a divorce and wanted me to move in with her to help. It was a good fit and 10 years later we have our separate lives, but enjoy each others company, abilities, and traveling together. We usually travel with our mother, but I travel a couple of times a year on my own throughout the world.
None of us smoke, drink, or party much. To us a party is playing card games and eating goodies. We like neat and clean surroundings, whether elegant or not. We all grew up camping and hiking and learned to enjoy the adventure independent of the creature comforts. We are most interested in seeing new places, learning new things and having new experiences with people in other cultures.