Top 5 house/home swapping web sites: plan your vacation now

February 22, 2008

Plan a vacation with one of these top 5 house swapping web sites Vacations should be an opportunity to relax and let worries melt away, but paying for travel and lodging can create its own kind of stress. These house swapping sites can save you money by connecting you with a network of people willing to trade their house for yours.

The sky is the limit when it comes to the types of agreements available. Some people are looking to permanently swap houses, some are looking for a year or longer commitment, and others just want to trade for a week.

For each of the sites reviewed here I’ll take a look at the countries included, an overview of the types of agreements available, cost for membership, and an overall impression of the quantity of listings available (on sites that provide free listings searches). The sites below are in no particular order.

HomeLink International

- Footprint: consists of 27 different countries including Australia, US, China, Spain, Egypt, and Costa Rica

- Typical agreements: vary widely (a week to over a year)

- Cost: membership is $110 per year

- Listing summary: lots of listings with varying flexibility. For example looking in California there are 17 options including some for Berkeley, San Diego and San Francisco.

HomeLink International screen shot 

SabbaticalHomes.com

- Footprint: 276 countries listed from Argentina to Zimbabwe

- Typical agreements: swaps and rentals available here with a wide variety of time slots. Site targets education professionals though no restrictions are apparent on the average user. Search results are easy to browse and filter by criteria like rentals only, Internet availability and pet-friendliness.

- Cost: donations requested

- Listing summary: larger database of listings

SabbaticalHomes.com screen shot

Home Base Holidays

- Footprint: 126 countries listed from Africa to Wales

- Typical agreements: brief description for each listing left me wanting to know more about the house prior to indicating any potential interest.

- Cost: £29 per year or £39 for two

- Listing summary: decent number of listings though not nearly as comprehensive as SabbaticalHomes.com

Home Base Holidays screen shot

Intervac

- Footprint: 75 countries listed from Australia to Venezuela

- Typical agreements: it’s obvious Intervac has been in the business for a while (the site claims since 1953). Its site demonstrates a professional polish along with marketing tactics like popular destinations, featured listings and a money back guarantee if you can’t find a house to swap with. Agreements vary widely and it will likely be easy to find a match for your needs.

- Cost: $65 per year in the US, $95 per year for international membership.

- Listing summary: very large database, probably larger than SabbaticalHomes.com. Listings include detailed information, usually images and a map.

Intervac screen shot

HomeExchange.com

- Footprint: 122 countries listed from Australia to Yugoslavia

- Typical agreements: HomeExchange.com also has a polished presence with some marketing tactics like top 10 destinations, “special price” membership and various articles from the media. Listings contain lots of text that can be difficult to digest without any images mixed in. The initial search results page just displays a series of text links. Detailed descriptions contain good information but few visuals.

- Cost: $99.95 per year

- Listing summary: large database, but troubled by an awkward search interface

HomeExchange.com screen shot

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16 Responses to “Top 5 house/home swapping web sites: plan your vacation now”

  1. HomeExchanger:

    Glad to see this article promoting home exchange, but the author needs to do a bit more research. I have no commercial interest in any home exchange club, BTW.

    Just because an exchange clubs’s website offers a list of 276 countries doesn’t mean they have exchange homes listed in those countries. This “footprint” concept is bizarre. What you should look for is how many active listings the club has.

    The top 5 swap sites in terms of homes on offers are NOT those listed above. They are HomeExchange.com, Intervac, HomeLink, 1stHomeExchange and HomeForExchange.

    No home exchange club offers houses for people to trade permanently as suggested in this article. People are mostly looking for a long weekend to several weeks of vacation exchange.

    See my blog for more tips. Again, it is totally non-commercial. HomeExchanger.blogspot.com

  2. andy:

    hi try this new website far better than those you list as they have social homeswapping ie councill charitys they have renters uk overseas homeowners they have forums all free to agents and small charge to homeowners and tenants and i agree with the last mail these swapping sites have lots of countries but nothing in them try http://www.property-swap-shop.com i did its cool free home swap videos via u tube free photos

    the main concept for this new site is to swap peranently and they keep daily stats

  3. House Exchange:

    There are also some great Free home exchange clubs out there. We like http://www.EasyHomeExchange.com The comunity is great and we have already made one home exchange in Florida. We are now planning our second home exchange.

  4. Anne:

    I strongly recommend http://www.1sthomeexchange.com. They have over 15,000 members in 130 countries. I think this makes them one of the largest home exchange sites.

    They offer both a free membership – list your home only – great to simply try out the concept. And a paid listing.

  5. Davo:

    I agree with the ‘house exchange’ user above. There are a huge range of free home exchange websites around that offer exactly the same value as the ones that charge. Why pay money if you don’t need to?! :-)

    The one I use is http://YourHomeForMine.com – we are going to swap with a lovely beach house in just a couple of weeks which is so exciting!!! Other free ones are available on a google search

  6. abass:

    Small Business owners are largely forgotten. Thats why I only focus on them. I have experience several members of my family file bankruptcy due to small business failures. I also I suffered through 2 destroyed businesses due to failure however, in my failings I have learned some of the secrets to success. (Who can say they know it all?)
    What I like about small business owners is that they are not afraid to take huge risks and lay it all on the line. But, I agree they do need a lot of help with their marketing. I think having them go the social media and email route is not only the least expensive but its also the most effective. Thanks for the stats!

    onlineuniversalwork

  7. Pete Mckingsky:

    Is the a limit on how long your comments can be? Timed out about 5 times when trying to post a 8 line long comment.

  8. John Hunter:

    I belong to several exchanges because I can’t seem to get the swaps I want from just one.
    I just saw this new one, looks good but few listings yet. thetravellingprince.com – I did join it only because I found this coupon code 4F*FRIENDS which gets you $4.95 a year for life.
    I think you really have to find an exchange which has plenty of listings for the places you want to visit….that’s why i am in so many.

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    I savor, result in I found exactly what I was looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  10. Hospedagem de Sites:

    Hello, Neat post. There is an issue together with your website in web explorer, might check this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a big component of people will omit your magnificent writing due to this problem.

  11. Sherrrrry:

    I have exchanged 22 times on 3 continents in the past 7 years. . . through listings from 4 web sites.

    Homeexchange is the largest with over 40,000 listings and they are the most expensive at around $120 US per year. . . boy are they raking it in! But, they have not invested their profits back into their company. They have a site that is extremely filled with bugs, with a very clunky interface. . . and no tools to speak of. . . just some sample letters. They have live customer service (because they have such a BAD web site), but those folks only politely read from scripts and are no help at all.

    The Free sites all suffer from this same problem. . . no tools, a clunky interface and bugs.

    The BEST site I have found by far is HOMEFOREXCHANGE.COM (about 15,000 subscribers) They charge a reasonable rate for excellent service and tools. Their intuitive interface is a pleasure, their system is about 90% bug free, their features such as language translation work very well. . . and best of all they have great tools such as an interactive exchange agreement and very clever ways of managing your inquiries so that you don’t contact the same prospective exchanger more than once, etc.

  12. Lauren:

    I agree to join on a number of site we do the same and have traveled throughout europe, America and Australia by using our holiday homes in Greece. The best site for home exchanging so far i have found is holidayexchangehomes.com this is probably because we own a holiday home and dont swap the home we live in. They advertise flexible exchanges wherby you dont enter your whole property but deposit a week and you take a week from another property on their site. We signed up because it was free to join and we only had to pay for an exchange which worked out cheaper than any annual membership fees from the other sites, although we are also members of them to. I think if you own a home and you want to swap direct with another owner while they stay in your you stay in there i would choose one of the above site but if you own a holiday home or a 2nd home as i like to call it i would seriously look at http://www.holidayexchangehomes.com the people that work there are really friendly to iv had many laughs on the phone and via email with them.

  13. Travelkidsin50s:

    Lauren above has hit the nail on the head! we 2 are serious home exchangers and have been home exchanging for 15 years as were getting on in life we decided to settle for buying a holiday home to retire in, we bought in Malaga spain and have had itchy feet since wanting to travel to more destinations like we did before so http://www.holidayexchangehomes.com suited us better than any other home exchange company and it didnt cost a membership fee. Best home swap site by far for holiday home owners

  14. Home Trade:

    Lauren – thanks for the post and tips. Really helpful for those of us just starting out in home exchange.

  15. Swap in the Philippines:

    Currently swapping is becoming more and more popular in Southeast Asia.

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