I was delighted to read a review of Home Base Holidays in the article, 'Going On Holiday? Finding a Home Swap' on Apartment Therapy and to know that the author and her friend had been able to find an exchange to London within 10 minutes of joining and adding photos!
Now, to be honest, it usually does take much longer than 10 minutes to find a suitable home swap, and Grace's article touched on the importance of allowing plenty of time for arranging an exchange before the dates wanted. But I wasn't too surprised to read that she and Kelley (whose apartment is on offer and is pictured below) had found such interest in their home swap offer in San Francisco from Londoners as, being based in London, Home Base Holidays has lots of great offers in the city (and San Francisco is a popular destination with British members).
Large, beautiful garden studio apartment in the hip Mission District of San Francisco. This apartment is located on the first floor of a 12 unit building and faces the back garden so there is little to no street noise. Located right on 18th Street between Guerrero and Dolores, this apartment is within feet of some of the finest things in San Francisco (Bi-Rite market and creamery, Delfina, Tartine). Read the full offer and see more photos, HE22816.
Following on from Grace's useful report of her experiences when looking for a home exchange in London, it's important to mention that optimising your chances of finding a suitable swap, especially if looking for a swap in a particular area or city, means either joining a number of home exchange agencies to increase your pool of potential matches or, less expensive than this scatter gun approach, taking the time to do some research first. Tips to keep in mind when researching possibilities:
Checklist to Optimise Your Chances of Finding a Suitable Home Swap
Is the agency a reputable, long established business where members are likely to be well motivated to arrange exchanges (i.e. all have paid a reasonable membership fee and the agency is operating as a serious business)?
Can you see how long listings are in circulation (check for join and expiry dates)? Without this vital information, you may find that many members you approach are no longer looking for exchanges or, worse, many fail to even respond to your offer messages.
Can you easily see the most recent offers (and are there various ways to narrow your search results)?
As well as being up-to-date, how many offers are there in the city or country you want to visit? Home exchange agencies generally have most listings in the country(ies) where they are based.
Browse listings in your own country or city to get an idea of how much competition there is likely to be for the same exchange offers you are interested in. If you are only or primarily interested in domestic exchanges, then choosing a local agency is very likely to be your best option. *Note: the last two tips taken together are much more useful than total numbers of listings claimed.
And, if you want an exchange in the UK, look no further than Home Base Holidays (est. 1985, London)!