Thursday, December 13, 2012 | Category: GUEST POSTS, Travel Tips
8 Valuable Tips on How to Swap Your Home
Ed. note: I’ve always wanted to do this — have a free vacation while swapping my home with a simpatico family. I just didn’t know where to begin. Home exchange expert Shelley Miller explains it all for you . . .
Right now you’re thinking holidays and snow and family, but soon 2013 will arrive and you’ll begin to think summer and vacation and fun. I’ve got an idea for you to consider. What about trying a home exchange? This is when you and your family agree to swap your home with a family in another city or country, and you live in each other’s home while you’re on vacation. For free.
My family has swapped our home 14 times in 12 years. Our children, Dillon and Michele, were 8 and 12 years old when we joined this wonderful world of home exchange in 2000. Together we’ve enjoyed a home exchange vacation in places like Italy, Mexico and Hong Kong. And yes, in our own country too; where we arranged swaps in Seattle and Cape Cod.
8 tips to make your dream vacation a reality with home exchange
- Select A Home Swap Club — There are more than 70 home exchange companies around the world; approximately 30 are based in the U.S. Four clubs I suggest are: HomeLink International, Home Base Holidays, Home Exchange.com and Love Home Swap. The fee for most home exchange clubs is around $100 per year; this is cheap when you consider the fact that many hotel rooms are over $250 per night.
- Write An Engaging Home Swap Profile Page – After you join a home swap club you’ll need to create a “Profile Page” on their website. Does your town have an interesting claim to fame? Do community leaders boast about its history? Include these fascinating facts on your home’s profile page. If your city has a visitor’s bureau or a chamber of commerce read their brochures, visit their website, find out how they promote your city and then borrow their ideas.
- Fabulous Home Photographs Required – You’ll want to include lots of home photographs on your profile page. High quality photos of your home are the single most important way to attract a top house swap. Open the drapes, clear the clutter off the table and put out a vase of fresh flowers. You know the best features of your home more than anyone, so show it off! I write a blog about home exchange and the #1 article that most people read is this one, 7 Photo Tips To Promote Your Home.
- Select Your Dream Vacation Destination – This one is such fun. Take a walk with your travel partner and DREAM. Where have you always wanted to travel? Your dream vacation could be located across the country or across the world. Now is your chance to vacation there! Also decide on your best travel dates; try to be flexible. If possible choose a window of time, for example “anytime between June or July,” this will make scheduling a house exchange easier.
- Start The Process At Least Six Months In Advance – To schedule a house exchange vacation for July, you should begin the process in January. With that said, I just received an e-mail asking if we’d like to exchange our home with someone in Lyon, France 12 months from now! Finding the right house exchange partner usually takes one – two months.
- Write A Snazzy House Swap E-mail Message – So you’ve completed your profile and uploaded your fabulous photos. Now you get to write the e-mail message to send out with your house exchange request. You want your message to sound friendly yet professional. Write it and save it in your computer so you can cut and paste your way around the world. You might find this article helpful: Catch A Fabulous Home Exchange With A Great E-mail.
- What To Look For In A Home Swap –When researching possible exchange partners the first thing I do is glance at the city and country; then I spend the most of my time reviewing the photos. The home doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be clean. Is the kitchen neat? Does the living room look comfortable? Next I glance at the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. I note the professions of the home swappers too. What is the type of home, is it an apartment or a single-family home? For me, it’s only then that I glance ideal travel times. I suggest you select about a dozen house swap prospects, then cut and paste your snazzy message request. Finally, and this is important, click the submit button.
- Book it! – Once you exchange a few messages with your house swap prospect you’ll develop a feeling about them. Is the tone of the e-mail pleasant? Do they ask appropriate questions about your home and your vacation travel dates? Does it feel right? Then one house swap family will progress from prospect to possibility. There will be a few more e-mails and finally, you’ll just know that you’re ready to swap. That’s when you write, “Let’s do this!”
I hope these tips inspire you to try a home exchange vacation. You will realize that your dream vacation IS a possibility and the world is at your (home swap) doorstep.
Shelley Miller is a Home Exchange Expert who offers home swap tips to people who want to travel the world and stay for free. Miller, her husband and two children lived in Europe from April to August 2000 and exchanged homes with five different families in England, Ireland, Germany, France and Italy.
Connect with Shelley at:
Facebook: Home Exchange Expert
LinkedIn: Shelley Miller