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Stay At Home While You’re Away – Home Exchanges (by G)

February 26th, 2010 1 Comment

Georgina travels all over the world and exchanges her lovely NYC condo for an expansive pad in the destination of her choice.

Read her experience below.  Sound like a great idea if you’re a homeowner, and with Georgina referring you to the service, you know it’s trustworthy.



You’ve heard me mention home exchanges multiple times on my blog.  We first got the idea from our neighbors Jess and Trevor who did a successful home exchange in Rome in 2008.  They used a website called HomeExchange.com™ – the very same one featured in the movie The Holiday.  We had a poke around the website and decided to give it a whirl.

You can send messages to listings that you are interested in and you will also receive messages from other people who have viewed your listing.  Once we find people who are interested in an exchange, we set up a conference call with them to discuss logistics etc.  A number of the places on the website are people’s second homes so you don’t even necessarily have to do a simultaneous exchange.

People often ask us if we are worried about theft or damage.  And the answer is no because firstly, we are also staying in their house with all their stuff and secondly, our doorman would notice if they attempted carrying our 50 inch television out the door.  The conference call also helps us to ascertain whether these people are ‘normal’.  I think maybe in future we might ask for copies of passports just so we know exactly who will be staying in our home.

It sounds great and it is great.  However, let’s be clear.  It only works if:

  • You have a nice apartment/house that other people would actually want to stay in.  If you live in a shoebox studio with wallpaper hanging off the walls I think you would have some trouble convincing someone to exchange with you.
  • You live in a desirable location.  No one wants to go to middle-of-nowhere, New Jersey.  Everyone wants to go to New York City.

There is an annual fee to list your home (around $200 I think) but other than that there are no other charges.  We’ve had two really fantastic exchanges – one in San Francisco and one in Vail.

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  • Nicole I. Frank

    Not sure I agree about “no one wants to exchange with [location X]”. If you have a tidy home you will get at least some offers. It’s also a question about how you market your home. For NJ I’d say “perfect for day trips to both New York City and Philadelphia” because that’s true of most of NJ. People want to visit locations where their families live, even if those towns are off the normal tourist radar. Every state/county/province has a professional staff of marketers promoting travel to that area. Find out what they highlight to travelers to your area and note it in your listing. For more tips visit my non-commercial home exchange blog at HomeExchanger.Blogspot.com