Planning a home exchange holiday? Writing a good description for your home swap offer can really helps your offer stand out. Providing an honest detailed description also helps to avoid any misunderstandings during the holiday. Creating a clear, compelling description gives other home swappers a good sense of your home and location.
Step 1: Look at your home from the visitor's point of view
Imagine you’re talking on the phone with a potential home swap guest who knows only that your home might be right in terms of its general location and size. What questions might the person ask? What features of your home and its location might encourage the person to agree an exchange?
|Tip: If you had only 140 characters in which to convey what’s best about your home, what would you say?
Step 2: Write a compelling headline
If you were looking for a place to stay with your family in London, which of these listing headlines would grab your attention?
“East London home”
“Spacious family home in vibrant East London. Excellent public transport nearby”
The second headline gives you useful information and makes the home seem appealing. It tells you at a glance that the home is family friendly and sounds like a great base from which to explore London. The carefully chosen words such as “spacious” and “family home” convey a sense of what the home is like and implies that the home has everything you might need for your stay.
Step 3: List points to include in your home exchange listing description
Before you start to write your home exchange description, make a list of the features and items of information to include. Include key facts about your home and its location, along with anything that makes it special.
Step 4: Write a quick first draft
Read through your list. Then start writing. Use active language to help people visualise the home and the area. Be specific and truthful. Tell them what you like about living there and why they’ll find it the perfect home from home.
|Tip: Start your home exchange description with a sentence that conveys the most important message about your home.
Step 5: Improve the draft
Now is the time to be critical. Use the guidelines below to make sure that your description makes your home come alive and answers travellers’ most important questions.
Be specific. Try not to be too vague. If you wrote “It’s a fabulous apartment” would the reader know what you mean? A more useful description might be: “Our lovely bright open plan apartment has beautiful picture windows that overlook the ocean.”
Use language that talks to potential guests, such as “You’ll appreciate the warmth of our fieldstone fireplace on chilly evenings.”
Be concise. It’s important to include detailed information about your home and area but remember, you’re not writing a novel. Instead, readers will scan the content quickly to pick out the most interesting and relevant points. Short sentences and short paragraphs communicate clearly and quickly, so make it crisp, clear, and to the point, avoiding the common tendency to ramble or repeat yourself.
Use adjectives with care. Descriptive words such as “cozy” “spacious” “elegant” and “comfortable” can convey a sense of what your home is like. But what a Londoner or a New Yorker might consider a “spacious” apartment can seem little more than a closet to a traveller from Colorado. One person’s idea of “beautiful” or “elegant” might seem gaudy or overdone to someone else. Also, avoid using lots of capitalized words!
Be truthful! Your description creates expectations in the traveller’s mind, so it should always be truthful and accurate in your home exchange listing description. There’s no need to emphasise the negatives but never fudge the truth or omit any important details that may result in a bad home swap experience for your guests. An example of this is, if you own a dog or a cat, make sure that this is clearly included in your description – even if the pets are not in your home during the swap dates, their fur may make it a big no no for anyone with pet allergies.
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