Finding the best home-exchange organization for your vacation

February 2, 2015

Home exchanges are a popular travel option both in Canada and abroad. Here's what to consider before choosing a home exchange agency.

Although it's not always free to do so, most people opt to work with a home exchange website or agency for the added benefits of doing so. Of course, not every agency is as good as the other.

Finding the best home-exchange organization for your vacation

Agencies that offer reverse searching

Every housing swap agency out there will offer its customers the ability to search for home exchanges in a chosen city. What if, though, you're more interested in just travelling than in a specific destination? In these cases, the top priority becomes finding someone who's interested in visiting your home city. After all, finding an individual to stay in your home is vital for a housing swap.

Fortunately, many agencies offer reverse search. This allows you to pinpoint individuals who are looking for home exchanges in a specific town. Then it's up to you to decide if their home town is an appropriate choice for you.

Inquire about locations

You'd be hard-pressed to find a home exchange agency that didn't have housing swaps available in the most popular cities around the world. Due to wanting a wide selection, many people opt for agencies that have the greatest number of homes available. In the end, though, this doesn't always work out in their favour.

Imagine two different websites. One has 10,000 homes and the other only has 3,000. The 10,000-home website seems to be the obvious choice. But what if that agency only has four clients in the city you want to vacation in? What if, by comparison, the 3,000 home website has 20 clients in your hoped-for city? The point is to seek out information on location availability, even if this means contacting the website or agency directly, or exploring multiple websites.

Reputable company with reputable clients

Housing swap agencies with numerous years of experience are usually the better choice. This isn't to say that a newer agency won't provide a great experience, but the fact is that your chances are better with an established company. Also, it's beneficial to find an agency that makes reviews of their clients readily available.

Cost of home exchange

As mentioned, these agencies will likely charge money. Some are free, but the more reputable ones do charge a fee. Make sure, though, to not jump for the first agency that looks nice. This is because home exchanges can range from anywhere between $50 and $1,000 a year. Yes, each site will have its own benefits, but many of these benefits simply won't be beneficial to everyone. This just means you should do your homework and find the right agency at the price that's right for you.

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