When browsing Home Base Holidays listings you will see that the descriptions members include vary greatly in length and amount of information. Some may be too brief, not providing much beyond the basic details of the location of the home, whilst others are almost too detailed (many members won’t read beyond the first 100 or so words when considering if an offer may be of interest). With the latter, much of the finer details could be left until later, during the arrangements for a swap, the time when swap partners do appreciate this additional information. Listings with only minimal information, however, will often be overlooked (especially if no photos are added either) as this almost looks like the member can’t be bothered and so is not likely to be willing to spend time and effort on exchange arrangements; this may be unfair but first impressions do count! Of course, it’s fine to keep the description short when you first join but do review it as soon as possible – you can edit or add to your listing any time you want.
So, what information is most helpful to members reading about your offer? Perhaps the best way to approach this is to think about all those things that are important to you when deciding if a home will suit your needs and then looking at your own home and area with this in mind.
The title and a first short paragraph in a home exchange description are good places to set the scene, giving an overall picture of the home and location. Here are a few examples from current exchange offers:
Barn Cottage - A 200 year old stone barn, located in a picture postcard village
Come and stay in my lovely 18th century converted barn, "Barn Cottage", situated in a beautiful village in the English Shires. (see home swap offer in Elton, Cambridgeshire, England)
Elegant, spacious third-floor Edwardian (1909) apartment in fashionable Barnes, SW London. (There is no lift.) Beautiful views of the Thames river and of communal gardens and treetops with two balconies for sun at all times of day (view from bedroom in photo). Quiet street yet only a few minutes' walk from a number of riverside pubs and walks, restaurants and shops and to lively Hammersmith, a transport centre to all London. (see home swap offer in London)
Best views on the Hood Canal!
Our 2100 sq ft, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath waterfront home is both spacious and comfortable, complete with a fully stocked kitchen and contemporary furnishings. Located a mile from the historic town of Port Gamble, and a short drive or bus ride to downtown Poulsbo, our westward-facing home is the perfect place to relax and enjoy all that the Hood Canal has to offer. Since it sits on a private acre, it is also the perfect place to read, write, and even play. (see home swap offer in Hood Canal North Kitsap, Washington, USA)
- A town house on a pretty street in Capistrano village Nerja. It is completely modern inside, with an open plan downstairs with a fitted kitchen, lounge and dining area. Upstairs are two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the main bedroom is ensuite, with a double bed, the second bedroom has two large single beds. The lounge has an inset gas fire and there is air conditioning/heating to the lounge and both bedrooms. Garden shown in photo (see home swap offer in Nerja, Malaga, Spain)
- The apartment has three bedrooms (master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, and two more double rooms), two more bathrooms (3 altogether), spacious living room, kitchen, four terraces and laundry. It is located on the first floor (no lift). Building of only three families, in a very quiet street/cul-de-sac. Breath-taking beach a 5-minute walk by the charming little stream. ( see home swap offer in Canyamel, Majorca, Spain)
- Our house consists of our flat on two levels and a separate flat on the second floor, where a friend lives. Our flat has three bedrooms (two with comfortable sofa beds), a toilet and bathroom on the first floor and a kitchen, a large living room and a toilet on the ground floor. You will find a lot of books in German and English, a 3D-TV and a DVD player (and of course DVDs) in our living room and many books about Düsseldorf and the region in the study. Our garden is small but sunny and beautiful in summer. In the cellar there are two good bicycles. (see home swap offer in Düsseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)
- Just a five minute walk brings you to the grand union canal or you can also enjoy people watching on our quaint English high street while drinking a coffee or a glass of wine from one of the many cafes and restaurants that are all within walking distance of our front door. (see home swap offer in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, England)
- Only 35 minutes by car from Gatwick airport and 45 minutes from Heathrow. Regular bus service from our village to various destinations. Further bus routes from Dorking to more locations. A pleasant country walk from our home into Dorking is a comfortable 45 minutes, and only 8 minutes by car. Many scenic country walks straight from our home without the need of transportation. The village has a public house (pub) along with a restaurant. There is also a wine bar and an Indian restaurant. Shops include a good bakery, post office and newsagent. All three outlets have a mini market catering for everyday provisions. Dorking has four supermarkets from budget to premium. (see home swap offer in Dorking, Surrey, England).
- Our apartment is nestled in the heart of a friendly, non-touristic Spanish town with bakery, food shops and pharmacy all in the same street. Most of the town's facilities are within walking distance.Sitting in a valley, Loja is surrounded by pine forests and green spaces yet has all the services of a modern town. As well as being an ideal base to explore the four major cities of Granada, Córdoba, Málaga and Seville, the town itself is an enjoyable place to spend time with plenty of cafés, bars and restaurants as well as numerous cultural events throughout the year. (see home swap offer in Loja, Andalucia, Spain).
What do you think is the most important information to include in a home exchange offer?