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Home Exchange 101 Lesson 6 – Agreeing to the Rules and Regulations

by John Mensinger on April 6, 2010

Thus far in Home Exchange 101 Lesson 6, we’ve looked at such concepts as organizing your vacation, preparing your home for guests,  and creating a user’s manual for your home.  Today, we’ll delve into negotiating details regarding duties and expectations.  Such issues should be clarified and handled during the preparation period.

Reciprocating Favors

Exchange partners often request favors of one another.  Here are examples of such favors:

  • Perhaps you promised your partners use of your health club.  Be sure to set this up before they arrive and let your guests know the rules for visiting the club.
  • Maybe you agreed to find a baby sitter for their children.  Let them know the person, contact details and the hourly fee.
  • You may want your guests to pick up the mail, water the house plants, or feed the pets.  Provide instructions.  Figure out how these tasks will be completed if they leave your house for a three day excursion.
  • If you are trading cars agree to mileage or usage limits.  Understand insurance coverage and your possible liability while using their vehicle.  Have a copy of their driving license and make sure they are covered by your insurance.

How We Do It

Our policy is that we will use the exchange home, make a reasonable amount of telephone calls, leave about the same level of food and household supplies as when we arrived, and freely use their heating and air conditioning.  Our children will spend inordinate amounts of time on the Internet.  We will eat fresh vegetables and fruit from their garden.  We generally don’t plan on reimbursing them for any of this and in return they can enjoy our home in the same way.  This plan may not work for you, in which case you need to figure out your own preferred system.

For the end of the exchange we know that we won’t have time to wash and dry all the dirty sheets and towels.   We agree that we will leave these dirty items as a welcome home present.  We make up the beds with fresh sheets and put out fresh towels. If you are lucky your partners will have a maid who you can pay to restore the home. You will want to know the fee in advance.

Emergency Measures

You need to arrange for friends, family, or others to be available if there is an emergency.   This could be the toilet tank breaking, water running down the stairs from an improperly sealed shower, or a dead microwave oven.  Yes, our family has experienced all of these minor calamities.

Join us next time as we prepare for your guest’s arrival and welcome.

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John Mensinger is co-founder of and an experienced home exchanger.  His passion is helping others experience the enjoyment (and cost savings!) of home exchange.  John can be reached at jm[at]

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