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Love Home Swap

by John Mensinger on April 8, 2013

A recent e-mail announced that I was now a member of Love Home Swap, which I had never heard of before. They acquired 1st Home Exchange where I had been listed. Turns out they have over 35,000 members, which makes them one of the largest home swap websites. Their graphics and photos are so glamorous that even modest hovels look attractive. The owners have spent ample time and money to create a beautiful, innovative, and easy to use marketplace for trading your home.

They offer integration with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Skype: my apologies for being too old and behind the times to understand what this means and how it benefits you, the home exchanger.

They have a modern and easy to use message system that protects everybody’s privacy. One innovation is that you can archive inactive discussions.
Another feature is “My Swap Finder” which automatically shows you listings that meet your destination and dates criteria. They are coded with logos to show that they meet your specific dates, destination, and whether or not they have listed your location as a destination. This is helpful because many of their users claim they will consider any destination on any date.

You can “shortlist” homes that are of interest, which is usual. The innovation is you can see which members have “shortlisted” your home. You also can see those members that have viewed your home.

The search engine offers date, geographic location, reverse search, and search by features such as setting of the home, number of bedrooms, etc. You can also look at recent listings and last minute opportunities they call “late availability.”

The only negative is the membership fee. Their basic “silver” membership is $189 a year, which makes them one of the most expensive. You can spend $359 for Gold, or $498 for Platinum membership. With the Gold membership your listing is featured on search results, they offer a key exchange service, an airport lounge pass, and Hedonist travel guides. The Platinum service adds a personal swap consultation, 5 star concierge service, and a dedicated travel team. They offer a 14 day free trial membership.

I have been using Love Home Swap to look for an exchange in England this summer. They have many tempting listings—historic homes, lovely flats in London, houses with gorgeous gardens. The geographic search functions well and the house’s general location is indicated on a map. I have sent 43 inquiries, 17 have looked at our place, 14 have responded politely that it won’t work for them, one might be interested. This suggests they have responsive and considerate members, which is the hallmark of a good home exchange community.

 

 

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