Over the summer, I was thrilled to meet Shelley Miller of HomeExchangeExpert.com at TBEX, the annual travel bloggers conference. She introduced me to the concept of home exchanges, where you agree to exchange your home with another family. She’s done this more than a dozen times over the last 12 years, seeing Ireland, Turkey, Germany and Italy in the process.
I had never heard of home exchanges before I met Shelley, so of course I had to ask her to do a Q&A for home exchange newbies, like me. I’ve broken up her Q&A into two posts, so look out for part two tomorrow for more of what you need to plan for a successful home exchange.
Q: What’s the first step when thinking about a home exchange?
A: Discuss the home swap idea with your travel partner. Choose a quiet time after the kids are in bed. Even better, hire a sitter and go for a walk…in a park. He or she will have lots of questions and you’ll want uninterrupted brainstorm time. If your partner likes the sound of free lodging in a spacious home, the next step is easy: dream. Dream about where you want to travel!
Q: What websites have you used for finding a home exchange?
A: There are four home swap agencies I can endorse with confidence; I’ve created a list of these agencies and included essential information about all of them. To receive this list visit my blog, HomeExchangeExpert.com, enter your name and e-mail address in the red and yellow box and the document will magically appear in your inbox
Q: What’s the best way to attract a great home swap?
A: High quality photos of your home are the single most important way to attract a top home swap. Open the drapes, clear the clutter off your coffee table and put out a vase of fresh flowers. Show off your house as if it was up for sale. You know the best features of your home more than anyone, so show it off! For more, check out 7 Photo Tips To Promote Your Home.
Q: What are some red flags to keep in mind when considering a home exchange, like maybe the exchange just isn’t right for you?
A: One word: cleanliness. When looking at photos of a potential home exchange notice if the home appears neat and orderly. We all have different standards of cleanliness, but make sure the home matches your standard. Another consideration is pets. If someone in your family has allergies include that information on your personal home exchange page. By the way, if you and your home exchange partner both have pets you should consider a pet swap. You care for one another’s pets while living in their home!
Do you love the home exchange concept yet? I know I do. Make sure to check back in tomorrow when I’ll post the second part of my Q&A with Shelley Miller. In the meantime, be sure to check out her website, HomeExchangeExpert.com, for more home exchange tips and advice.