Credit crunched? Try a home exchange
comment Comment Written by on September 23, 2008 – 12:00 am


In times of hefty morgage payments, rising fuel bills and general financial doom, the Daily Telegraph has offered a solution: make your home your passport. Home exchanges are nothing new, but, as the credit crunch takes hold, the idea of living abroad rent-free has never been more appealing.

Last month, the Observer also renewed interested in such schemes with an entertaining account of a London-NYC home swap.

Juliet Kinsman writes:

Our introduction to the immediate neighbours was a hello over the fence – followed by the offer of a paddling pool loan. To parents of an infant in the sweltering city heat, this ranks with a private hotel infinity pool. Imagine our delight when they reappeared brandishing guests passes to MoMA, a mountain of toys and fresh-from-the-oven New York Times recipe cookies. We hadn’t been there 48 hours and they’d already made our holiday.

It was a lovely piece and a huge success in terms of online page views. Well, who wouldn’t be tempted to click on headline reading ‘New York for a month without spending a dime’? (Even if this did seem to overlook living expenses and flights.)

The Daily Mail’s money section has also been enthusing about home-swapping this week, while the Guardian launched its own home-exchange service, powered by Home Base Holidays, in January.

In general, as listing sites get more sophisticated, it’s becoming even easier to arrange a house exchange. Although that doesn’t mean swappers aren’t thinking ahead: according to the Travel the Home Exchange Way blog, exchange plans are already underway for the London 2012 Olympics. Time to get on your marks? Here are the Telegraph‘s home-exchange tips:

  • Register with an agency, which will cost from £40 to £250, to display your home details on a professional website and give you access to details about other homes
  • Describe your home thoroughly with plenty of digital pictures, and remember that American and Australasian visitors love history
  • To start making a swap, either wait for another client to contact you or identify a place and home you like, and email the owners
  • Most agencies have checklists of details to discuss with your exchangee – cars, pets, wear-and-tear and breakages, insurance, and what’s out of bounds
  • Some agencies have pro forma contracts which can be exchanged between the two sets of home owners
  • Further advice on house exchanges on the Which website.

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