Home Base Holidays members can indicate in their home exchange listings if they have had at least one previous exchange ('experienced exchanger') and whether they have references ('references available from past exchanges'). This information is very useful, especially to first time home swappers who may feel more comfortable swapping homes with experienced exchangers who can guide them through the process of arranging an exchange, and also sharing references or putting them in touch directly with previous exchange partners if wanted.
First time exchangers can offer references too even though these won't be from previous exchanges. Obviously some references carry more weight than others (a friend or relative is unlikely to give a bad review!). A character reference from an employer or from an organisation you belong to will be useful although not likely to verify the accuracy of your description of your home and area.
Even if a home owner, you may have rented a home, perhaps during a period when living in another country or when on a holiday. If so, the owner or rental agency could be approached to offer references for exchange partners if needed. As an example, here is a quote from the listing of a recent Home Base Holidays member in Asheville, North Carolina:
"We are a transatlantic couple (Steve American/Margaret English) currently living in the USA, but eager to spend an extended period in or around London this summer in order to spend more time with family in England. Although this will be our first experience with house swapping, we did rent houses when we lived in England between 2002-2006 and, in all modesty, believe we took extraordinarily good care of them. The owners and/or estate agents with whom we dealt have confirmed they can verify that we were indeed 'house caretakers par excellence'. We are both retired professionals and non-smokers."
See the couple's attractive home exchange offer (home in photo) in Asheville.