Q: My husband and I love the idea of home exchanging but are yet to arrange one. Several years ago we signed up to a free home exchange website and sent out messages to quite a number of members. However, it became clear to us that the most of the offers shown on the website were old inactive listings, even some that looked fake (we saw a home in London with no description and just one photo - a photo of a giraffe!). So, our first attempt at home exchanging was an unsuccessful one but we're now keen to try again. Most of the home exchange websites we have looked at have lots of nice homes but how do we know that they are up to date genuine offers?
- Best wishes, Sue (Scotland)
A: Thank you for getting in touch and great to hear that you are interested in home exchanging. Really sorry though that your first foray into home exchanging was an unsuccessful one. Unfortunately, we see it more often than not where home exchange sites choose not to hide or remove old / inactive listings. This superficially boosts the number of listings shown on the website but we believe it is a bad practice and is misleading to potential members.
As mentioned, we know how frustrating it can be, scrolling through home exchange listings only to find out that most of the listings shown have not been active for months (even years). Therefore, at Home Base Holidays we try to focus on keeping our offers as up-to-date as possible. Our longest membership period is our one-year option, homes are then automatically hidden on the expiry date if the member chooses not to renew their membership. We charge a modest membership fee (our six-month membership is just £29) - even with such modest fees, members that have paid to sign up to a website are far more likely to be actively looking to home exchange than on free websites, such as with your previous experience. The membership fee also adds a reassurance that the listings shown are genuine offers. We do offer a two-week free trial membership so that people can try out our service before committing to a full membership, but again, if not renewed on or before the expiry date, these trial membership are also automatically hidden.
It's worth noting that people arrange successful home exchanges using a variety of different websites and so there is not a one size fits all. Do some research and even sign up to several sites until you find a home exchange service that works for you. When choosing which home exchange site(s) to sign up to, look for sites that clearly display membership expiry dates on all listings so that you know the offers shown are up-to-date active offers.
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