Housing Swaps Online - Tips to Avoid Trouble
Do you need a place to stay for an upcoming trip? Instead of booking an expensive hotel room, you may want to try a house swap. Basically, you and another homeowner agree to trade living arrangements for a predetermined time. This can be as short as one weekend or as long as an entire summer. You can find these types of arrangements on Craigslist.org and other classified websites. You can find them with a Property Finder search. But, how can you avoid complications?
Read all house swap postings carefully. Although there is a section for house swaps on Craigslist, you will find less than a house. Some posters are also offering to swap apartments or condos too. This is okay, but always ask about roommates. If an individual is offering to swap one bedroom in an apartment are there other roommates? Will they be there too? It is your decision if you want to make these types of arrangements, but consider your privacy before making your decision.
Ask to see pictures. Everything, including houses for house swaps, usually sounds better on paper. For that reason, ask to see pictures of the apartment, condo, or house, you will be swapping. Ensure you are getting a good deal or at least a fair one. You don't want to unknowingly trade a weekend at your upscale apartment for a "dump," you otherwise would never be caught in. Also, be sure to return the favor. Have pictures of your condo, apartment, or home to send to the other party too. Make sure everyone knows what they are going to get when trying to workout house swaps.
Remove all valuables from your home and ask the other party to do the same. It is recommended that you leave entertainment items, such as gaming consoles or HD TVs in the home. This may have been an attraction for entertainment. With that said, don't leave any important documents or cash lying around. Honestly, you are making an agreement to swap houses with a stranger you met online. Although most house swaps go off without a hitch, you never know. Are you really willing to take a chance by leaving your social security card in an unlocked filing cabinet? You shouldn't be.
Save all communication made. Of course, you want to talk to all potential home swappers on the phone, but also make sure that some of your contact is documented, like in email conversations. This helps if your plan hits a snag. It is best to opt for same time swaps, meaning you trade living quarters the same weekend or the same summer. If your turn comes at a later date, the homeowner may change their mind. There isn't much that you can do, but at least you have email confirmation that an agreement was made. You may be able to file a small claims lawsuit asking for payment of rent, since you were unable to get your free stay too.
In short, the best way to have a successful house swap that you arranged through Craigslist.org is to use your best judgment. Never agree to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
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