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Home Exchange Cost


How Much Does a Home Exchange Cost?

 
low costMonthly Exchange Club Membership: $4-$16average costOne-Year Exchange Club Membership: $35-$120

A home exchange or house swap is an agreement between two parties to trade homes for a defined period of time, offering both parties the ability to save money traveling. A variation on home exchange is a hospitality exchange, in which vacationing guests stay at the owner's home while the owner is present, and the roles are swapped at a later time. Home exchange clubs exist to help vacationers find available housing via a secure, online directory.

Typical costs:

  • Because home exchange is a bartering agreement, the only cost involved is the membership fee to join a home exchange club.
  • Monthly membership to a home exchange club typically costs $4-$16 per month. HomeExchange[1] , the company featured in the 2006 film The Holiday, bills $10 per month for annual memberships or $16 per month for three-month memberships.
  • One-year membership to a home exchange club typically costs $35-$120. For example, HomeLink International[2] offers a one-year membership for $119, or a two-year membership for $190.
  • Though lifetime membership fees are comparable to the price range for annual membership costs, the companies offering these options are vastly different in membership and what they have to offer. In addition, many of the popular home exchange clubs do not offer a lifetime membership, and therefore prices are not available.
Related articles: Timeshare

What should be included:
  • Participants should provide a clean house with bedding, a restroom and other facilities listed in the ad (kitchen, cable TV, or phone, for example). If either house is not offered as advertised, the swap participant may leave negative feedback regarding the exchange. If the participants agree, a home exchange can also include swapping cars, recreational vehicles or boats. Decide if the home owner or guest will cover the costs accrued during the travel period (mortgage, rent or utilities) in a pre-swap contract.
  • Before signing up for a home exchange club, visitors should be able to browse a directory of current homes available for swapping. Visitors typically are not allowed to communicate with other members until they join the club.
  • Home exchange clubs should provide access to thousands of members' homes available for trade, to increase the likelihood of making vacation matches. HomeExchange and HomeLink International both offer a guarantee[3] that users will find a match in their first year; if not, the second year is free.
  • Members in a home exchange club should be able to browse other members' homes and contact them directly, as well as list their own property for free. Directories should always be up-front about additional fees.
Additional costs:
  • Though the first listing is included with membership, HomeLink International[4] sells additional home listings for $25 each.
  • Aside from basic membership or listing fees, home exchange clubs typically do not charge additional fees.
Shopping for a home exchange:
  • Most home exchange clubs provide international listings. Browse the current listings before signing up with a club.
  • Singles Home Exchange[5] advises that personal communication before the swap should be extensive enough to offer both parties security and confidence. This may include trading copies of passports and insurance information and removing valuables from the home before the vacation.
  • Seattle Woman Magazine[6] suggests locking valuables in the home or garage, or storing with a friend, and disabling long-distance calls and Pay-Per-View to avoid abuse. Take photos of each room in the house before swapping to prove the condition of the house should anything go wrong. (This is also a good idea when arriving at the swapped house, to prove the condition of the house when upon arrival.)
  • It is recommended that home exchange participants check with their insurance companies in advance to let them know their plans for the house swap. If the plan is to swap vehicles, mention this as well. The insurance company will decide if additional insurance is needed to cover the vacation period.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.homeexchange.com/price.php
  2.  www.homelink.org/usa/?page=gettingstarted
  3.  www.homelink.org/usa/?page=ten_principles
  4.  www.homelink.org/usa/?page=gettingstarted
  5.  www.singleshomeexchange.com/faq.html#howsafe
  6.  www.seattlewomanmagazine.com/articles/sept09-5.htm
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