Most people have heard of Airbnb and VRBO. These are arguably the two most popular vacation rental websites. They connect homeowners with travelers, using an easy-to-use interface, and allowing each party to have some benefits over traditional hotels. For the homeowners, it’s a simple way to make some extra money when you aren’t using your home. For the travelers, you get the use of a fully furnished home, often with better amenities than a hotel, for a cheaper price.
Well…the new trend in vacationing is known as a “home trade” or “home exchange” or “home swap”. This is a system where people can exchange holiday homes with one another, without needing to exchange any money.
Chances are if you’re a homeowner, you’re already paying a mortgage on your home, so when you go on vacation, you’d be paying your mortgage PLUS whatever lodging fees you incurred at your destination. But with a home trade, you get free accommodations while travelling. The savings can be enormous. There’s also the added bonus of not having to collect taxes while renting out your home (like Airbnb and VRBO users typically have to), so you don’t need to worry about government intervention.
Also, when doing a home exchange, you don’t have to do the exchange simultaneously. This means that Homeowner A may stay at Homeowner B’s house for a week in May, but Homeowner B may want to stay at Homeowner A’s house for a week in December. No problem! You just need to coordinate your schedule with the other homeowner to work this out.
A friend of mine recently traded his NYC condo for a 9000 sq ft villa in Thailand that came with its own staff…and even a waterslide! How could this be a fair trade? Well…New York City is one of those super desirable locations, so he was able to trade his condo that would rent on Airbnb for hundreds of dollars a night, for a villa that’s worth thousands of dollars a night. And it cost him absolutely nothing. There’s no other way to pull something this awesome off, other than a house exchange.
What if I rent?
Not a problem. As long as it’s ok with your landlord you can still participate in home trades.
This newly launched site allows people from all over the world to swap their homes. There’s other sites that offer a similar service, but HomeTrade.com’s main differentiator is that they make it easy to search for homes based on your lifestyle, rather than just cities you want to go to. So, for example, if you’re into kiteboarding, you can find homes in areas that offer that.
Safety is always a primary concern when doing a home swap. One way to reduce any chance of risk is to check out the reviews on the home trade website for the other homeowner. You should also talk to them on the phone and some research on them using social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. It’s very, very rare for people to have issues using the home trade model. This is likely because many people treat other homes even better than their own.
How do I learn more?
Head over to http://hometrade.com and sign up for free.