We find that the best advice on how to make the most of HomeSwapper comes from those with experience, so we asked successful swappers what their advice would be for users new to the HomeSwapper site. Here’s what they had to say...
1. Take lots of photos
Barbara and Lisa suggest posting plenty of photographs of both the outside and inside of your home and adding a very full description of your property. Barbara went on to point out that other swappers pay much more attention to these and some have even widened their desired area if they see a property they really like the look of.
Adverts with no photos and only basic information tend to get very little attention from other swappers, so if you’re serious, make sure your advert is looking its best!
2. Show off your best side
Andy’s suggestion would be to put up relevant photos of your home - you might have a lovely plant pot but people will really be interested in your living spaces. Photos can also be rotated so they face the right way up!
3. Keep a look out
Emma thought that when searching for a property, new swappers could try selecting the ‘all properties’ option, rather than ‘matches’ as you may then find a house to build a MultiSwap with.
4. Master MultiSwap
Andy also says to learn exactly how MultiSwaps work - you'll have more chance of finding a home if you do, as you won’t need to necessarily find someone who loves your home as much as you like theirs!
5. Check what swappers are looking for
Wendy’s advice is to take a good look through other swappers’ adverts first so you know if your property matches what they’re looking for.
Offering someone a property that does not match their preferences may only lead to irritation for them and disappointment for you!
6. Get stuck in
Carl had some great advice: to send out as many messages as possible. Build a network of serious swappers, keep a note of all people interested in yours and work every day on getting the swap you want. Really commit time to your search – it’s hard work but it will pay off. Never give up!
Carl also adds: ‘We got the perfect house after 2 swaps. Now live on the south coast. Took 3 years but it all paid off’. Great news Carl!
7. Reply to all messages
A key one from Tracy - don't ignore people when they send you a message!
This is a huge cause of frustration, so even if you’re not interested in another swapper’s home, send them a simple message to say ‘no thanks’.
8. Think carefully about arranging viewings
Tracy also added that you should only arrange a viewing of another swapper’s home if you definitely intend on going.
If you don’t want to view their property, just let them know and you’ll avoid wasting anyone’s time! Equally, if you arranged a viewing with good intentions but find that you can’t make it after all, please let the other swapper know before the day of the viewing!
Another one from Andy… If you’re not able to view the property in person, for example because you live at opposite ends of the country, remember that all homes will be checked by the relevant housing departments before moves are allowed. Anita wanted to make sure that all swappers spend time checking the repair log and housing department report on the house before agreeing to move. Essential advice!
Liz added to this, that there are also other ways to ‘view’ a property – ask if the other swapper has Facetime, or another video call tool, so that they can show you around digitally. Andy went on to suggest that if this isn’t possible then you could also take a video, walking around your own property. You can upload videos to the HomeSwapper site, or even send them to the person keen to view. With technology there’s always a way around things!
9. Don't raise your expectations too high
Expecting your ready-made perfect home will probably lead to disappointment and a much longer wait time for your swap.
Andy wanted new swappers to remember that not everybody has the means to make their house as beautiful as you would like. Don't reject homes because of the decor, you'll make it your own anyway. The property itself is the ‘home’, not the fact that it needs hoovering and a lick of paint.
10. Be patient
The final piece of advice from Gary who, after 18 months of ‘ups and downs’ now has a ‘wonderful home’: ‘Patience is of the utmost. Yes, there are people who are just interested in how your place is decorated, others who just want to be nosey. But there are also the ones who are serious and need to swap - take your time, view a place that you’re interested in, don't rush into anything and don't let other swappers pressure you. Never give up, there is always something just round the corner waiting for you.’
Thank you to all swappers who contributed great advice. For more information on some of the points above, here are some helpful links to support you with HomeSwapper: