Let a Stranger Stay in My Home? Tips for Safe and Happy Home Swapping.

We all know that doing a home exchange is a great idea, but we also know that sharing your home for the first time can be scary. That is true for almost everything we do for the first time in life. The keys to overcome this apprehension are knowledge, preparation and experience. With over 1 million successful, happy home swaps since launching in 1992, we have learned a few tried and true tips to address your concerns.

I Don’t Know These People

Yes, that is true… for now… until you get to know them! Once you begin conversing, it will feel like you’re inviting a friend to stay over to care for your home while you’re on vacation. HomeExchange.com has some built in tools that will help “break the ice:”

  • Detailed Member Profiles — Read the profile page as well as the listing page. It is great to be able to connect a face to a home, and the profile page gives you an initial introduction to the people behind the home.
  • Secure Messaging System — enables you to contact other Members without revealing any of your personal contact details. You stay fully in control of your personal contact information at all times.
  • Verified Information — Verifications of phone numbers, email addresses and social media accounts all add an extra dose of confidence and security. Ask your potential exchange partner to complete their profile verifications (if they haven’t done so already).
  • Look for Experience –– As a first time home exchanger, you may feel more comfortable with an experienced home exchanger. On your search, you can select “Experienced Exchanger” to look for these Members.
  • Reviews — See where and with whom your potential partner has exchanged in the past, by reading their reviews. (More Information on our Exchange Reviews system.)

Once you feel a bit more confident, why not schedule a phone call, a Skype Video Chat, or a Google Hangout? This provides a much better sense of your potential exchange partner and often creates new friendships.


Use the Exchange Agreement

Communicating your expectations and agreeing on them are essential to a successful exchange. It will help avoid misunderstandings. HomeExchange.com has an easy Exchange Agreement built in to the Secure Messaging System to help you with the process.

I’m Worried About My Valuables

Let’s be honest, there are some things that we wouldn’t even trust our own friends with, like a delicate family heirloom or special bottle of wine you have been saving — the kinds of things that would be upsetting if damaged by accident. It is common for home exchangers to lock up or remove a few precious items during a home swap. If you don’t have a safe or secure storage area, pack up the items in a box and leave it with a neighbor or a relative you can trust.

Don’t Forget to Tell Your Neighbors

Inform your neighbors, friends, or family of your home exchange. They can serve as your eyes and ears, as well as be a useful resource for your visiting exchange partners.

All right, but…

Still have doubts? We are here for you.

The HomeExchange.com Global Support Team is here to help you with any questions or doubts. We have a dedicated team of Local Representatives who speak your language, who themselves have been home exchanging for years and who can give you advice that applies to your specific situation. We have decades of experience with worldwide home swaps and are here to share that knowledge with you. Feel free to contact us.

We’ve done it, so can you.

HomeExchange.com is a community of people built on trust and good will. Check out these testimonials from real members and see what others just like you have to say about the process.

Do you have concerns about your first exchange? Are you an experienced Member with advice to share? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

11 Comments on “Let a Stranger Stay in My Home? Tips for Safe and Happy Home Swapping.

  1. After I contacted you the first time, I came up with a question. This question was never answered, although I reminded you. Then I forbid you to send any more emails and newsletter – with no avail. How can one trust an organisation with such bad behaving concerning communication? I cannot. So leave me alone for god`s sake.

  2. I have a beautiful house by the ocean in progreso Yucatan by the Caribbean Sea. It’s a second house so I do non-simultaneous exchange. A nice French family was coming on Christmas and New Year but they just mail us that one of the members have to go into a spinal surgery so they have to cancel the trip. We just decided that we would like to spend New Year in New York with our family (6 people) so I would like to know if anyone from ( Long Island, Manhattan or New Jersey ) would like to do the exchange. How do I do to announce it. Have a lot of work and not time to go one by one sending mails, can you help me? I’ll be very grateful. My house it’s already at your page. Maria Elena Ponce Laviada de Mantecon.

  3. We have done a great many exchanges and have had nothing but wonderful experiences. In addition to your other advice on removing/locking up valuables I would include any documents that include your social security numbers, i.e. tax files, etc. It’s just common sense that those should not be easily available.

  4. I think it is very important that ovens are cleaned before you hand over your house to your exchangers. I had done 5 exchanges and 2 ovens were so filthy I was unable to use them. !!

  5. hmm our first exchange BUT the other family haven’t renewed their membership on here …. what do we do ?? we agreed it BUT have now communicated via email away from this site but the are still strangers do we continue and complete the exchange or cancel as they are not on this site now ???

  6. Pingback: Tipica conversazione con una persona che non fa scambi di casa (per ora). | ScambioCasa Blog

  7. I just finished writing a 20 page guide to using my home. I had no idea there were so many little things that people needed to know until I started the project. It includes things like how to use the dishwasher, laundry washer and dryer, oven, TV, remotes etc. I also included list of grocery stores, malls, urgent care centers, hiking trails, one day trips. Of course, most people don’t consult the book until they can’t figure out how to do something. But, hopefully it is a good resource.

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