Home swapping became increasingly popular ever since Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jack Black starred in the 2006 romantic-comedy film, The Holiday. Home swapping offers low-cost accommodation, a collaborative consumption movement that began in the 1950s. Today, there are tons of websites facilitating home exchange. If you are interested about joining a home exchange program, here are things to remember.
Be ready to open your doors to strangers.
Not everyone feels right about having strangers into their home, not to mention having them in charge of their private abode. If you are not comfortable about the idea, then home exchange is definitely not for you. On the other hand, be ready to have total strangers occupy your home for a definite period, while you occupy theirs.
It’s a low-cost accommodation, but not entirely free.
To protect members’ privacy and interest, home exchange websites collect membership fees, which range from $3.25 to $12 a month. Some collect fees annually. However, there are a few sites, which are free. It is best to do a bit of research before signing up.
Get ready to screen partners and be screened.
Again, screening is done to protect the interests of members to prevent unnecessary trouble during the home swap. At registration, members need to complete membership forms and disclose personal information. Some sites require members to share their social media profile so others may get to know them better.
Lay down the house rules early on.
It helps to lay down your house rules as you complete your page at a home swap website. Make your expectations clear so future occupants know what and what not to do while staying at your place. For example, let them know if you want them to hire professional housekeeping or can opt DIY.
Relax and enjoy your vacation at another’s home.
Home swapping is a relatively safe and effective way to arrange an accommodation. One site has been operating for more than 60 years without having issues like theft or vandalism. To be sure, keep valuables at a safe place during the swap and install monitoring equipment to ensure security of both the occupant and the property.