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Experience with houseswaps?

9 replies

jennifersofia · 28/01/2003 21:36

We are thinking of doing a (possibly international) house swap for a holiday this summer and doing it via one of the agencies (like homelink). It seems a bit of money to stump up, does anyone have any experience of this, and which agencies are best? Anything else we should think about / watch out for? We have a 2yr old and a 4 mth old.

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soyabean · 28/01/2003 22:00

Jennifersofia
Havent done this ourselves as we dont seem to even be able to get the money together for 5 fares anywhere, but friends have been with (I think) Homelink for a couple of years and have had fantasic holidays in Spain, US and the UK. They live in London and reckon London houses are always in demand. I would feel we'd have to sort out an awful lot of glitches in our house first but then again their house is lovely but scruffyish and they have stayed in pristine places with pools, use of car etc and the swappers have seemed just as happy with the arrangement as them. When I first thought about it I spent some time on the websites planning holidays for the next 10 years to visit long lost friends anbd relations in interesting places, without actually having to stay with them. Alas just a dream at the moment.

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WideWebWitch · 28/01/2003 22:18

jennifersofia, haven't done it but have considered it in the past. Most sites seem to want money but one doesn't - it's called domustodomus I think, will see if I can find a link for you. I've had lots of emails (with good looking houses etc) from potential swappers from them anyway, no other dealings.

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WideWebWitch · 28/01/2003 22:21

They're here

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sed · 29/01/2003 17:27

We've done about four of five swaps, including Westport, Connecticut, which was fantastic, also Toronto, Provence and Yorkshire. All brilliant and we have not had any bad experiences. The children love all the new toys to play with (we only exchange with families with children), all the equipment etc is there, we always leave lists of our favourite places to visit, eat, shop, try and fix up for one of our regular babysitters to be available etc etc. We also swap cars except in Canada, where their insurance prohibited it (so we lent them our car and split the cost of Canadian car hire between us).

And they always leave the house cleaner and tidier than when we left it!!

If you take a look at Homelink, which we use, you can see most of the site even if you aren't a member - obviously the contact details themselves are only avaiable once you have joined. I think the website address has already been given.

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sed · 29/01/2003 17:31

Whoops - I meant four or five, not four of five!. And the site is www.homelink.org.uk

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Rhiannon · 29/01/2003 17:56

We too are members of Homelink and I must admit I spend hours trawling through the website looking at all the different homes.

We have been in talks for a couple of weeks now with a familiy in Virginia, getting a bit stressed about it now as they initially asked us to swap, now they want to know about "your area" well seeing as we live 15 miles north of London surely they must know what's here for God's sake.

I have just sent an "are you wanting to swap or not" type email. We answered one of their emails on Saturday and have heard nothing since.

It can be quite stressful finding a swap, perhaps we are not pro-active enough.

The good bits are that more often than not you get a free car and obviously free accommodation but you have to leave your house clean for the new arrivals and change the beds and when you leave the swap house it has to be left as you found it. Last year we swapped in Cornwall and spent 5 hours just cleaning before we left.

Most swaps are done over the internet and a photograph always helps. After you've become a member you can edit your listing as often as you like.

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Rhiannon · 29/01/2003 17:58

sed, what part of the country are you in? Do you get tons of offers for swaps? Do you send lots of emails?

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ks · 29/01/2003 18:38

This reply has been deleted

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jennifersofia · 02/02/2003 21:50

Thanks everyone.
Ks - if someone wanted to claim squatters rights to my home they could have it! (After all, I would have theirs which would probably be nicer!)

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