A frustrating problem for house swappers is the failure of potential exchange partners to respond to e-mails or messages suggesting an exchange. They can’t be bothered to just say no.
Even worse from my point of view is this scenario. Folks with a lovely apartment in Paris send us a note telling us how much they like our house and that they would love to exchange with us. Since they didn’t say anything about your house and didn’t greet you by name you can be sure they have sent this note to many families. You quickly respond in a positive way. You never hear back from them again, presumably because they heard from another family with a house they liked more than yours. We have received this treatment from six families in the last month, and excusez-moi, five of these are in France. There are cultural differences when it comes to communication expectations.
Speaking of differences, for the first time ever we encountered a family that refuses to give us their e-mail address in order to negotiate a possible exchange. All negotiations have been through the in-house message system of the exchange agency, or Facebook. Although I prefer e-mail, it is interesting to be Facebook Friends with potential exchange partners—it allows you to get to know them in a different way.
My final story of miscommunication involves a weekend exchange with folks from San Francisco. We had agreed in principal six months ahead of the proposed swap. They never responded to that e-mail. Last week they sent an e-mail, one week before the trade to confirm it was still on. We said it wasn’t, because they hadn’t responded to our last e-mail. They discovered they had drafted a response but forgot to hit the send button.
In life and in home exchange frequent and clear communication is essential.