Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The house swap shop of sites

Well I’ve taken the bait to do a house exchange and now all that’s left is the mountain of tasks to set this objective in motion. One of the greatest challenges facing potential houseswappers is choosing where to advertise their homes. Luckily for me this decision has already been taken care off via my fairy PR mother. For the next 12-months our little house in the country will be available for holiday house swaps through intervac. Now before I launch into a sales pitch on our home, let’s take some time to discuss the range of houseswapping sites on that big wide web.

A quick Google lists an array of website offering this service. The big names in the business are;

Homelink – Established in 1953, this site is the oldest international home exchange organisation in the world. Currently run by a British couple in Winchester, it’s a very informative website with heaps of information. Although our home may not fit into its target bracket of show houses, it’s a fantastic resource for anyone who may be thinking about a houseswap.
Guardianhomexchange – If you’re house is more of a home rather than a showcase of the latest products and designs than this site could be for you. Not great on general houseswapping information so it’s probably best to do your homework elsewhere before you sign-up.
Luxehomesswap – In their own words ‘Luxe Home Swap offers a different spin on the well-established home exchange for vacations concept, focusing on a more stylish experience - with many homes you won't find listed anywhere else.’ This is one for Chinley Chuckles to dream about.
Intervac – This international outlet has been going for more than 50 years and has representatives in most countries to review all listings. As this is the site we’ve chosen to go with, you’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the future.
In addition to the big boys there are specialist holiday house exchange websites catering for families with children, people living on narrow boats and even teachers.
Canaljunction – If you’re looking for a novel houseswap then this site may be worth checking out. Homeowners can exchange their houses for a holiday on a narrow boat and vice versa.
Matchinghouses – Houseswappers that need to consider disabled access or have limited mobility can exchange with people with similar accessibility needs. The site has a range of properties in the UK and further afield.
NCT House Swap – Recommend by Prima Baby and Essentials this site caters just for families, and has been active since 1976. Chinley Chuckles has previously used this site and although the swap didn’t go to plan we couldn’t fault the website or its administrators.
Swap My City Pad – A relative newbie to the market place, this site is dedicated to city dwellers. If you’re an urbanite and would like to discover new cities around the globe then you’re probably best suited here.
Homes Around The World – For gay and lesbian houseswappers this resource lists homes and flats around the world for couples, singles and families. The site has now extended its network to include gay-friendly houseswappers.

Of course there are loads more holiday house exchange websites out there. This list is just a selection. If you’d like to add a site just include the details on the comments section or email me, and I’ll endeavour to include them.

Alternatively you could do as we have and just ask friends and family if they’d like to exchange homes. We’ve had a lovely houseswap in France, and we’re just started organising another one for later this year with some friends in Shrewsbury.

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