Top 10 tips for a successful Home Exchange

Ever considered using your home as a vacation exchange? Also known as a home swap, where you literally swap homes even cars with a stranger.  For many, this can be unnerving relinquishing your home to someone unknown, but the reviews from veteran home exchange travelers has been overwhelmingly positive. “It’s an economical and interesting way to see many parts of the world without incurring hotel fees and you get to experience the location like a local,” says Larry Klimczyk of International Vacation Home Exchange.   
With the rise in Airbnb's popularity, more and more people are becoming comfortable with the idea of opening their homes.  There are endless exchange possibilities from apartments to luxury homes,  located around the world.   Exchange networks charge a small annual fee for your posting.  They also offer vacation rentals for those who do not want to exchange.  While your home location can be a key to the success of your exchange, having a nice or interesting place can be equally attractive to your guest.  To help you decide if a home exchange is a good option for your next vacation, I have pulled together a list of 10 things to consider when selecting a Home Exchange Network.
1.       Before starting your exchange, decide where you want to go and what activities you like to do on vacation, this will help narrow down the possibilities.
2.       Select a network that offers direct exchanges – this is best if you are only house swapping with your primary residence, i.e. you are away, and thus another party can stay at your home.  
3.       If your swapping your vacation or second home, look for a network that offers non-simultaneous exchanges, this gives you more flexibility.
4.       Wide property search criteria, including property location map (general area, for privacy, not exact address) - makes searching for a property easier and allows you the ability to promote your home's location.
5.       Look for a well-established exchange network with a good choice of up-to-date listings in areas/countries you are interested in vacationing.
6.       Security is very important, make sure the exchange network can offer you secure communications between members. 
7.       Added benefit, is a network that can provide vacation coordinators to answer your questions as well as help you find activities for you to enjoy while on holiday or vacation.
8.       Verification of Members (identification) - helps ensure that you are dealing with the person that they say they are.
9.       Verification of Properties (utility bill, etc.) - confirms the relationship of the member to the property.
10.   Guest Book and References of previous exchanges - gives membership reviews amongst peers and shows you candid feedback on the home and other members. 

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