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Home Exchange

coralbrookcoralbrook 8117 replies28 threads Senior Member
I just spent all day taking professional photos of my home in San Diego. I want to put my house up for future Home Exchange. I’m looking to exchange France, Italy or Hawai’i, So far I’m going to sign up for Homeexcange.com. Does anyone have any experience with home exchanges? Are there other websites I should consider?

My main problem is I’m very picky. I hate clutter and it has to be really clean. I’m probably setting myself up for disappointment. Most of the photos on these sites are dark cluttered places.
24 replies
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Replies to: Home Exchange

  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 9630 replies84 threads Senior Member
    Interesting idea! I bet your house and location would be quite desirable. Do you have to do direct-exchange, or just be in a "pool" of houses for a timeframe.
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 8117 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Most of the websites have two ways to exchange. The traditional way is simultaneous, where each party swaps at the same time. It seems difficult to work that out perfectly. Also, some owners allow use of the car which is hard for me because I have a big beat up truck which is hard to park or a very fancy car that I really do not want anyone driving.

    They are now doing a point system also. You can have people stay at your house while you are gone somewhere else and you get points to bank for use for a future stay. That works for people who put a vacation home in the pool. But I have a place I can stay nearby for a couple of weeks if I want to do that.

    Biggest issue is trying to get all valuable personal stuff out of the house and make room in the closets! I might as well just list on Airbnb or something after all that work!! But the Home Exchange is much more secure.

    Cost for joining the Home Exchange website is $150
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  • HImomHImom 36113 replies397 threads Senior Member
    My H would never want anyone in our home and I’m not too keen on the idea either. There are just so many strange people out there—tons of nice ones but some not so nice. I guess our home is our castle and I’d hate anyone pawing through our stuff and possibly hacking our electronics.

    I’ve heard some folks who have been happy with it.
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  • travelnuttravelnut 2067 replies15 threads Senior Member
    It seems best if one anticipates their home being exchanged or rented in advance of setting it up. The time and effort required in order to be comfortable with renters/exchangers in our house would likely outstrip any gains. It would have been furnished, decorated and arranged very differently to accommodate others. The prospect is even more daunting now. I am attracted to the idea; it is a fairly abstract one currently.
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  • dragonmomdragonmom 6216 replies156 threads Senior Member
    I would have to move out “family treasures” and all valuables, and then where would you store them?
    On the other end of the spectrum, one of my kids is about to vacate a rental where the owners left just about everything during their sabbatical year.
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  • HImomHImom 36113 replies397 threads Senior Member
    I’d also be curious and concerned about potential liability issues. Will my insurance policy apply while someone else is occupying my home for an extended time? What if they conduct illegal activities there? Serve alcohol to minors? Someone gets drinks at the home and gets into an accident? Someone slips and falls or drowns on the premises (especially with a pool on premises)? The person exchanging rents out the home or room(s) as Airbnb or similar?

    Anyway, I’m a worrywart and would need to know the other person or family WELL.
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  • compmomcompmom 12057 replies82 threads Senior Member
    I am living in seasonal rentals. The owners don't seem to feel it is a big deal to have me in their house. If I break a dish, I replace it with exactly the same dish, etc.. I think it is just a matter of careful screening.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5944 replies272 threads Senior Member
    We put our casita up for rent at the beginning of the year. By the time we had serious offers, COVID hit, so we haven't rented it yet. I'm surprised by the number of calls we've had during this time, though, and by a few people's reaction when I say we aren't renting during the pandemic. I had to update the listing to stop the calls.

    We would love to do a house exchange, but it would be during the AZ summer, so I can't imagine there'd be any takers. If DH does another multi-month stint in Dublin, we would lock all clothing, valuables, files, and computer/electronics in the casita and consider either a renter or exchange. I don't know anyone who has done an exchange, though, so I'm interested in the conversation here.
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  • Bromfield2Bromfield2 4023 replies38 threads Senior Member
    We did an informal exchange with friends of friends for 5 days (Th-Mon). We let them stay in our vacation home and we stayed in their home in a suburb of Philadelphia. It worked out really well because they lived close to my D's LAC. We were having trouble finding hotel rooms for my inlaws who wanted to go to D's graduation and the house was perfect for everyone. I was telling a friend about looking for a place for all of us on Air B&B and he was the one who suggested an exchange with his friends. He made the introductions via conference call/email. We spoke on the phone several times to work out details. They had never been to the area where we have our vacation home and had a great time when they were there. It was a win-win.
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  • happy1happy1 24406 replies2457 threads Super Moderator
    I personally would not do it (too may personal items in my home I'd be nervous about but also wouldn't want to spend time clearing out) but you may want to watch the movie "The Holiday" which is a fun rom-com centered around a home exchange.
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  • momo2x2018momo2x2018 1240 replies87 threads Senior Member
    I've never done a home exchange but some friends of ours do home exchanges several times a year, they love it, and the exchange cars as well!
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  • momoffourmomoffour 172 replies4 threads Junior Member
    A cousin in law who lives in a 2 bed, 1 bath house in Ft Lauderdale has been exchanging for several years now. I don’t know the company, but she accumulates points and uses them in Europe. Sometimes she stays with friends while someone is in her home and she doesn’t want to travel at that time. Never had any problems.
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 8117 replies28 threads Senior Member
    I personally feel that Home Exchange is far more secure than AirBnb or short term rental, even if I just vacate out to my family's Palm Springs cabin and let someone stay in my home for Points (which I can then use to go somewhere I want). I am going through the verification process now and you have to be completely verified through a Facetime type call with the company, passports, proof of ownership and lots of photos of the house and then they confirm through Google Maps or something.

    Plus, you have to pay a membership fee of $150/year to be listed on the website. Doubt anyone that is trying to scam is going to bother with that.

    I would insist on a lot of communication and a Facetime type call with potential exchanges. I'm still trying to decide if I should offer my car because it is a large truck that would be hard to drive for international people who are used to very small cars.
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 8117 replies28 threads Senior Member
    I'm struggling with just 'how much' stuff I would need to clear out. It's not like an Airbnb, they expect stuff to be in the house. But obviously I need to clear out space in the clothes closets and I need to find a way to lock the file drawers with personal financial stuff. But everything I pull out can go up into the garage and I will keep the garage locked up.

    But I do think I am going to have to buy some of stuff to make it nicer (don't really have matching coffee cups or plates!) and add some more beach toys to my house.
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  • illneversayneverillneversaynever 39 replies0 threads Junior Member
    We were members for a year and had two groups (one retired couple looking to visit kids/grandkids and one small family from NYC) stay in our place. It worked well, but we also didn't have a ton of valuable items about which we were concerned. Happy to talk more if you'd like to PM me.
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  • gratefulmamagratefulmama 412 replies12 threads Member
    @coralbrook - We made space in our closets but didn’t clear the closets out completely, just made room so they could hang stuff. We also cleared a few drawers as well. Anything we didn’t want them to use or have access to, like files, we stored in our garage. We did not exchange cars. They rented their own and we used public transportation in France.

    I don’t think you need to go all out and buy a bunch of new stuff. It’s not a big deal to have matching coffee cups. If you live near the beach, having beach towels and chairs would be nice, which is probably something you have already. One thing we did buy was a little hostess gift (a bottle of wine if I remember correctly).

    We also left detailed instructions on appliances, emergency contact numbers etc.... My sister lives 20mins away and I asked her to be ‘on call’ if anything were to happen. (Thankfully she was never needed.) In addition, we hid an extra key and told my sister where it was in the event they happened to lock themselves out.

    On their side, they had organized a binder for us with maps, restaurant menus and museums/attractions in the area, which was really nice and something we hadn’t thought of.

    I think once you are in contact with a potential exchange, you will have a better sense of what they might need from you.

    Hope that helps!
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  • gosmomgosmom 2056 replies58 threads Senior Member
    @coralbrook I would not allow driving any of my vehicles. Ask your insurance person.
    It's just not worth the risk/hassle. Anyone flying in can just as easily rent a car.
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