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  1. I am very intrigued with the home swap concept -- you stay at our home while we stay in yours. However, should I be concerned about having a stranger in my home?
  2. Many of the listings look terrific, however, do you have any suggestions for finding a compatible exchange partner?
  3. Can I swap my apartment?
  4. Can I swap either my primary or secondary home?
  5. How luxurious does a place need to be for it to be swappable?
  6. We live in a very normal home in a medium size city, definitely not a big tourist attraction. Why would anyone want to exchange with us?
  7. What about the safety of my personal possessions?
  8. How long can I exchange for?
  9. What about pets?
  10. Do people swap cars also?
  11. We prefer not having children stay in our home, can we stipulate this?
  12. Will my homeowners insurance policy cover me for damage that may be caused to my home during an exchange?

 


Answers

  1. I am very intrigued with the home swap concept – you stay at our home while we stay in yours. However, should I be concerned about having a stranger in my home?
    A.  Remember that this is a reciprocal arrangement: your potential swap partner has the same legitimate concerns about you. The best way to address all of the issues is thorough  and clear communication before the exchange.  Carefully read the details of the home listing. You don't want be surprised that a cat lives in the home if you have pet allergies! Discuss expectations and housekeeping styles right up front! If you don't see enough photos on the listing ask for more, most people will graciously provide more. If for some reason your requests are not responded to, this could be a red flag. Digsville provides a member-generated rating system. U-Rate allows members to rate any home in the database that they have swapped with. Here you'll read publically-visable objective feedback from members who have swapped with this person and have stayed in the very home you are considering.  Read the testimonials from other members and we'll bet you'll be adding one of your own very soon.


    FYI - An international, vacation home exchange survey, polling over 1,000 home exchangers from the United States and forty other countries, returned a finding of not one case of theft. Even incidents such as a party consuming bottles of wine and not replacing the same, were few and far between. And there are ways to alleviate this type of occurrence as well as minimize your fears. A locked cupboard for special items and listing "hands off" items in a House Rules note is one thought. You might be more comfortable having a friend drop by once or twice to check on things. Rather than making this an offensive intrusion for your exchange partner, you could turn it into a welcome gesture, having the friend make sure all is going well.

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  2. Many of the listings look terrific, however, do you have any suggestions for finding a compatible exchange partner?
    A.
    The more reference points you have about another person when initiating a swap the more successful the outcome will be.  Based on years of member feedback the Digsville home listing now provides a member profile to describe his or her hobbies, interests, affinity groups, languages spoken and even delves into quirky housekeeping questions. A response such as "Don't even think about eating off my floor" will keep Oscar and Felix from ever crossing paths. That said, we have found the most interesting swaps were with families very different than our own. Exposure to cultural and lifestyle differenences is a great learning tool, isn't that what travel is about? Be sure to read 10 Tips for a Successful Exchange.

  3. Can I swap my apartment?
    A.  You sure can. Swapping your home for a short period of time is no different than having guests visit while you're away. Always check your lease for subletting rules especially in larger cities, there may be restrictions on the length of time you are away from home. 
  4. Can I swap either my primary or secondary home?
    A.  Yes. Each listing will indicate whether a home is primary or secondary. A primary home will very often have more amenities and luxuries, however, a vacation home may be just what you’re looking for when you just want to relax! Additionally, the second/vacation homes will be available (empty) more often than a primary giving you more options for exchange or rental. Non-simultaneous swaps are becoming more and more popular among the Digsville membership. This is an opportunity to leverage what may be one of your greatest assets. Gone are the days of your unoccupied vacation retreat, swap that time for impromtu travels worldwide.
  5. How luxurious does a place need to be for it to be swappable?
    A.  This question comes up all the time. Remember, members are usually looking for a place to call home for a few weeks so they can explore unfamiliar territory. If someone is looking for a fantastic villa or penthouse, they'll be sure to check the database for exactly that. That's one of the advantages of our advanced search capabilities. Very often people seek lateral trades, however, your humble apartment in Staten Island may be just right fit for someone wanting proximity to Manhattan and willing to trade their Italian villa for it. Yes, it's about the destination, but equally important are the amenities of the home. Digsville members are a diverse group  -  some traveling with infants and toddlers, aging parents, special needs etc. -  finding comfort in someone's home required a bit of research through the Digsville search engine and asking lots of questions to your potential swap partner.

  6. We live in a very normal home in a medium size city, definitely not a big tourist attraction. Why would anyone want to exchange with us?
    A.  It may be more of a challenge to find the swap of your dreams than someone with a Fifth Avenue apartment overlooking Central Park, however, your home listing give you lots of opportunities to let everyone know what’s special about your home and town.  As far as attractions in your area, look within a two-hour driving distance and I bet you'll be surprised at what you find. You might have a university that offers summer classes to teens or seniors. Or you might have a minor league baseball club that practices two months out of the year. Off the beaten track often results in museums or club headquarters for obscure things that hold a keen interest for many people. Find out what's going on, and include a URL link in your listing. Also, many people are not interested in lots of attractions -- they just want the comforts of home when traveling for college visits, family reunions, or to scout retirement or job opportunity locations. Be sure to add lots of details and photos to your listing and edit it often.

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  7. What about the safety of my personal possessions?
    A.  Building relationships with potential exchangers and clear communication is the surest way to a worry-free exchange. By indicating ‘House Rules’ in your listing, you can mention ‘hands-off’ items immediately.  A locked drawer /closet or possibly somewhere off premises would ensure the safety of your very fine valuables. Don't forget we have provided you with U-Rate™ the unique rating/reference form attached to each members' home listing. Hear what others' experiences have been. Digsville is a community of review. A star rating and objective feedback will go a long way in choosing your next home exchange partner. Remember, you are staying in their home at the same time they are staying in yours.

  8. How long can I exchange for?
    A.  That's up to you. Some people would enjoy a weekend skiing, others a week in Disney World, while some prefer to summer in Germany. Once you start vacationing without hotel costs, you might want to arrange your schedule to take more frequent trips.

  9. What about pets?
    A.  Pet lovers make up a growing portion of the "typical" home exchanger demographic profile. Some people take their pets along with them to pet friendly homes, while others welcome the opportunity to leave the cats or dog (gold fish and plants for that matter) in the care of another animal lover. Personally, our dogs looks forward to their 'vacation' time at a local family kennel. You can easily search our database for members who are looking for a similar situation. Of course you can reject any of these arrangements - the choice is always yours.

  10. Do people swap cars also?
    A.  Our experience has been at least 60% of all exchangers make their car available, either for exchange or simply for use. Don’t be surprised to see the use of motorcycles and boats in an offer! A few things to consider before making a commitment is to limit mileage (especially if your car is leased), or you may have age requirements or restrictions for vehicle operation. Always be sure to have written permission from the vehicle owner, especially in foreign countries. Additionally, it’s common to provide a copy of a valid driver’s license.

  11. We prefer not having children stay in our home, can we stipulate this?
    A.  All you have to do is check the box on the home listing application that says "no children." That's the beauty of the searching capabilities of the Digsville database -- you get to customize your listing to really suit your lifestyle. We have many seniors, singles, and empty nesters joining the Network everyday giving you many choices to exchange with people without kids. Don't worry about offending anyone - the parents of young children wouldn't be able to relax in a house that wasn't child proof anyway. They'll be doing their own search for homes with all the amenities that will keep their children content. And everyone will be happier!

  12. Will my homeowners insurance policy cover me for damage that may be caused to my home during an exchange?
    A. Most insurance companies as well as local police authorities look favorably on the home exchange scenario simply because an occupied house is always more secure than an empty one. However, insurance policies differ greatly from state to state in the United States and the rest of the world. The insurance concerns of most "exchangers" are travel/health, home, and car insurance, so we'll attempt to suggest some avenues for you to investigate further with your own insurance agent. Read Tips on Insurance Insurance for more info and resourcees.

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