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More on Love Home Swap

by John Mensinger on May 20, 2013

The best way to understand how a home exchange website works is to use it to find a trade. I had this opportunity with Love Home Swap. As mentioned in a previous review, this is a well-supported and financed business. The graphic look is reminiscent of Architectural Digest and House Beautiful. Most of the tools and features you would expect are available and work beautifully.

I did encounter a few negatives, however. We found our dream swap in London and no longer are looking. There is no way to “turn off” your listing. A work around would be to put dates and destinations far into the future but it would be easier to just extinguish the listing.

Another problem is that you are not allowed to provide contact information using their in house messaging system unless you have agreed to an exchange. I find this annoying for many reasons:

  1. I like to know the exact address of the potential house exchange partner to use Google Street View and maps to check out the home, its immediate surroundings, and the neighborhood.
  2. I like to send references, the names and contact information of previous families with whom we have traded homes.
  3. I want to know the full name and address of potential exchange partners so I can research them using the Internet. This builds confidence and trust. You are considering entrusting your home to these folks.
  4. I prefer to use e-mail to negotiate. You can send attachments which is not possible in an in-house messaging system. We always send a Microsoft Word file with detailed information on our home, family, city, and region. (The helpful staff at Love Home Swap will forward files to other members for you.)

If you try to put contact information in their messaging system the software will cross it out and you will get a message explaining you have broken the rules. You can click on a link to complain to their staff, they will quickly and courteously reply that you are not allowed to put contact information in the messaging system.

This is needlessly aggravating because Love Home Swap is integrated with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Skype. I assume you could call potential exchange partners on Skype and exchange contact information. Why must they prohibit this in their in house messaging system?

I had an e-mail discussion with Love Home Swap and they responded:

Once an email address or phone number is swapped we tend to find conversations no longer take place on Love Home Swap. This then prevents us from protecting either party if any issues arise before, during or after the swap. All contact between members needs to be handled on site before a swap or rental is agreed in order to maintain both parties safety and privacy. By taking conversations off site we are also not able to monitor whether a swap was finally agreed, this prevents us from being able to help or effectively match members in the future.

I believe my privacy is protected when lengthy and detailed home exchange discussions are not archived on a website. By using e-mail only I and our potential partner have access to the information.

Other than these two problems I find Love Home Swap a delight to use. This home exchange community has lovely homes in beautiful places. We have received tempting offers. Sixty percent of their members responded to our inquiries promptly and politely. I will have to learn how to use Skype to communicate with potential exchange partners.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Brian Luckhurst May 22, 2013 at 6:36 AM

Love Home Swap have done well since they came on the scene and their website looks the part, but I do find this an interesting article and surprised that they are taking the view that members must communicate via their message system.

At http://www.homeexchange50plus.com we encourage our members to communicate directly after the initial contact and discussions have taking place about a possible swap. ‘Speaking to’ each other via personal emails must be a far easier way to communicate than any in-house messaging system and I do not really see that someone’s safety and privacy is being compromised providing the use of personal emails has been originated by the individuals themselves and not the website.

Regards

Brian Luckhurst

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