You have registered on HomeExchange and started imagining all those places in the world you’d love to visit. You have gotten hooked, little-by-little and, after several inquiries and a few requests, the time you hoped for has finally arrived: you have officially confirmed your exchange! Now that you have that “yes” from your Exchange Partner; What’s next?
Here are a few tips so that, by the time the date of your exchange arrives, you are more than ready.
Once you have confirmed and completed your exchange, it will register in your profile and appear in the “Exchanges” tab. You can also leave a message in your partner’s Guestbook and have them write in yours as well. It is an excellent way for other members of HomeExchange to see the exchanges you made and read comments to get to know you better. More importantly, when you register your exchange, it means that the HomeExchange team can help out if you happen to need it.
While it isn’t a requirement, HomeExchange does recommend using and completing an official Exchange Agreement. We have created a sample agreement for you to use that cover most of the bases. Make a point to dive into all the things that are a top priority for you and that you want to make sure are reflected for both sides of the exchange.
How often you want to connect is up to you. It is by no means necessary that you talk every day, but the confidence between you and your Exchange Partner will only increase as you get to know one another better. Use this time to discuss various specifics of the exchange: how will you collect keys, what’s the best way to get to your homes from the airport, will you meet in person (before or after the exchange), who is a contact person for each destination, the list can go on. You might even share your flight information once they are booked.
Communication makes all the difference in maximizing the HomeExchange experience. Don’t hesitate to go through any questions you might have regarding your Exchange Partner, the house, the destination, the family, or anything else!
If the timing works, make a point to arranged a video session, whether through Skype, Facetime or any other service! Have children that are coming along? Having them participate is a fantastic way for them to be a part of the experience and even ask a few questions you hadn’t thought to ask. You could also use this time for a guided video tour of your home!
We know that sometimes language can be a barrier, so another option is to exchange phone numbers and stay connected through WhatsApp. That way you can confirm last minute details in the days leading up to the exchange, or even let your partner know if there are any delays while traveling. It can also be fun to share some photos or experience of travels!
Every home has a personality of its own and sometimes (often) it helps to have a guide to detail those instructions, quirks, tricks that you know for years of experience. Have a particular way to cool your home in the summer? Does the water take a while to get hot? Detailing these things can make the difference between enjoyment and frustration. We even recommend sending it to your Exchange Partner in advance, so that they have some time to review it and ask questions. Other things to potentially include: how the appliances work (especially if the buttons are in another language), what is the password for the wifi, how does garbage go out. If you have pets, this is a great place to include any information they need to know, including the name and number for your vet. Need a little help? Read this article to get you started.
You know your city. Top places to visit, the best restaurants for different occasions, the nearest (or favorite) grocery stores or park and playgrounds for the tiny humans to play. Once you get to know your Exchange Partner a little more, you can give a personalized list of things that you are sure they will love. As we all know, there is nothing better than having a local tour guide!
Other information to include: plumber, hospitals or emergency numbers as well as taxis and additional practical information that someone may want to have on hand quickly in case of an emergency.
As your exchange date approaches, make a point to double check that your home is “Exchange Ready”. A little cleaning and tidying up can go a long way. Top thing to do: make room in the closets, cupboards, and refrigerator for your Exchange Partner. Even a small amount of space makes a difference. If you want some extra help, we have pulled together this guide to help you stay on top of things.
No matter the distance they are traveling, having a little something prepared to greet your Exchange Partner is an added treat. You might want to have some food ready for their arrival (a traditional meal from your area, perhaps) or maybe a letter or gift for the children visiting. Whatever you choose, the effort goes a long way to making your Exchange Partner feel at home.
In the end, make the most of the experience and enjoy every moment! HomeExchange is built on trust. With proper communication and transparency, you and your Exchange Partner will not only feel welcomed but at home during your exchange. After all, isn’t that what this is all about?
When all is said and done, it all comes down to communication. Are there certain questions or topics you make sure to bring up when preparing for an exchange? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.