Choosing a Home Exchange Website

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The first step in home exchange is deciding which home exchange website(s) to sign up with.   There are fifty or more websites you can find and consider by doing web searches such as “home exchange” or “home swap”.

The following are some of the factors to consider in deciding which website to sign up with:

  1.  Annual fee or free signup.  We recommend signing up with a site that charges an annual fee for several reasons.  First of all, an annual fee of around a hundred dollars is not expensive in view of the thousands of dollars you can save through home exchange.  Another reason is that listings, being paid, are much more likely to be active exchangers.  And, finally, the number of listings and features provided by the paid sites are much better in general.
  2. Number of listings.  The number of listings is important because that is your universe of potential exchangers and obviously the more listings there are, the better your odds of finding a compatible exchange.  Finally, the number of listings also reflects the number of people who have previously made a decision to join, presumably after having made the kind of evaluation you will do, i.e., you benefit from the combined wisdom of the group.
  3. Location of the listed homes.  This can be an important factor if there is a particular country you are interested in visiting.  Different sites developed in different countries and have large memberships in those countries.
  4. Features of the website.  Website features include such items as search options with reverse searches to find out who wants to come to your area, filters to limit searches to exchangers who either smoke or don’t smoke, have pets, and those who have amenities such as pools, exercise equipment, bicycles or who live in a city center; number of languages supported; types of exchanges available; how listings are presented; and member messaging services.
  5. Support for exchanges.  While all the sites are interested in promoting successful exchanges, they differ in the help they provide.  Some sites provide guidance such as recommended practices, sample inquiry letters and exchange agreements.

Our advice on choosing a home exchange website is to do a Google search on “home exchange” and visit the websites of various organizations you will find in the search.    You can then evaluate them using  the above factors and on how well the design and features of the website suit your needs.

We ourselves are long-time members of two home exchange websites which we can recommend for your short list:  homeexchange.com and homelink.org.