After offering their personalized advice and tips to those in the French-speaking Facebook group, our ambassadors Joanna and Florent have put together all their tips for a successful HomeExchange profile to share with the HomeExchange community.
Take photos of your home like a pro
Take beautiful photos when the weather is nice. Open your shutters (but avoid backlighting), and make sure to pick up anything that is lying around (nobody wants to see laundry drying in the living room or dirty dishes in the sink).
That being said, it is best to show your house just as it will be when your exchange guests come. We don't want any false advertising: if you are used to leaving a blanket on the sofa or products in the shower, you can leave them in the pictures!
Photos that are too retouched, or that appear too professional can also put off some exchangers. It puts pressure on people, so our advice is to avoid this! We also avoid collage photos. Even on the computer, you don’t see much, so on the app, it’s even worse. In addition, the number of photos is unlimited, so make sure guests get the full picture of your home!
Choose your first photo carefully
The first photo of your home must be the most beautiful of all, the one that will make home exchangers want to click on your ad. This may be a beautiful photo of your garden, your terrace in the sun, the view from your apartment on the 8th floor, the stone facade, the large bright living room... Select the one you find the prettiest! If you’re not sure, test it out and switch out your first photo from time to time. We prefer a real photo of your home rather than a photo of the Eiffel Tower or Lake Geneva, even if they are beautiful.
Technical tip: This photo must be in landscape format, otherwise it will be cut off in the thumbnails. We actually prefer this format for all your photos because they look much better on the app.
Organize your photos so they tell a story about your house and your region
We really want to see and know everything about your home, about you, and about your region, so we recommend arranging the photos so that people can follow along. The ideal and easy way to order photos for a guest would be:
First the interior Namely the living rooms: living room, dining room, kitchen, the bedrooms, the bathrooms, bonus rooms (game room, laundry room, mezzanine, office, etc.).
Then, we show the exterior Swimming pool, terrace, garden, games for children.
Then the family and the animals Yes, we exchange our homes, but we exchange them with real families, and we want to get to know them.
Finally, add some pretty photos of your region and things you love in the area. For these photos, you can add a small caption and indicate the name of the place and the distance from your home with photo software.
For two-story houses, it can be helpful to separate the photos by floor and add a photo of the stairs when you are going to change floors. This will make you feel like you are visiting the house and will make you more aware of its configuration.
Tip: It is possible to change the first photo, depending on the exchanges you are looking for. For example, if you live in Annecy, you can add a photo of your swimming pool with a view of the lake for your summer exchanges, and a photo of the house covered in snow for your winter exchanges.
2. Your Home Listing From A to Z
If there’s any information you want to highlight, this is the spot! For example, if you are looking to go on vacation during a specific period or to a given country, or if you have already organized all your exchanges for the summer, you can indicate that here to be sure to highlight this information.
The description is composed of 3 paragraphs:
Paragraph 1 is about your house. Here you can mention when the house was built, when you renovated it, that your husband built it with his bare hands, that it is your vacation home since last year, that it is located in a quiet cul-de-sac, or on a boulevard passing through the center of Paris, that the building looks out on a peaceful neighborhood. Anything you want as long as it’s about the house!
Next, we want a fairly detailed description of the number of rooms, their size and configuration, the equipment, and what floor it’s on. Specify if your living room is a through lounge, if your dining room can easily accommodate a large family (maybe leave a high chair for use), if you have a well-equipped kitchen, the size of the beds (a scalable crib suitable for your 4-year-old daughter may not be entirely practical for a 12-year-old child, and a mezzanine bed will not necessarily be suitable for a baby), if you have a lot of green plants to water, when guests can use the swimming pool, if you have a vegetable garden which guests could take advantage of in exchange for a little watering from time to time, etc.
Do not assume that the photos are enough, show us your house and tell us what you like about it.
Paragraph 2 talks about your neighborhood and region.
We want to know how far the nearest shops and services are (bakery, restaurant, supermarket, doctor, etc.) if we can get there by foot or via public transportation, and what there is to do in the neighborhood (hiking trails, children's playgrounds, bars across from the building, concert halls, etc.), what means of public transportation are available, etc.
And we also want to know what there is to do in the area, a couple hours away by car (specify the distance please). For cities, tell us what you really like in this city. For example, I know Bordeaux well, but you may not, so I will specify that "Bordeaux is 40 minutes by train or one hour by car. You can take a nice stroll on the quays, admire the reflecting pool, visit the historic center and its small cobbled streets or go and visit the new and incredible Wine City."
Paragraph 3 is the final word, where you can add a little sentence to make the other exchangers want to come to you, or a summary of your exchange philosophy. For example, "We are beginner exchangers, but we are looking forward to welcoming you to share our love of our beautiful house and to help you discover this region which is dear to us,” or any other information you think would be appropriate.
Personally, I put a little note about receiving guests with reduced mobility and our home’s access. Others will specify that they have four hens and a donkey which will have to be taken care of during the exchange, others that their parents live next door and will be available during the exchange to answer any of the guests’ questions, and others will write that they have adopted an eco-friendly lifestyle and that they would be happy to share their tips with you. Be creative!
Tip: Edit the text of your listing and include the most important parts! It’s great to have a nice exhaustive description, but if it’s too long, no one is going to want to read it!
4. Your Personal Profile
To start off, even if it seems obvious, introduce yourself.
Give your first names (even yours, yes, even if you have already put it in the profile name, and even if your home is listed as "Mireille's house"), your ages, and talk about yourself: what you do for a living, what you’re passionate about, what sports your children play, what your dream is. We will be exchanging homes, I remind you, so we want to get to know you!
Also, talk about your pets, their names and their habits (if Woof the dog needs a ration of kibble morning, noon, and night, we would like to know), specify if they travel with you, if they stay at home, or if they go stay at Granny’s during your exchanges.
If you don't have one (and even if you have one for that matter), add a little note to say whether animals are welcome in your home and if you want to take care of your hosts’ pets when you stay at their home.
Finally, you can also tell us about your previous exchanges, tell us about the places you have already been and specify what you liked!
The profile picture
Choose a nice profile picture, ideally a photo of your family!
5. Everything Else
Update your calendar
Make sure your calendar is up to date and that you have at least a few open dates, especially if you checked the option "I don't want to be contacted during my unavailable periods." It is essential for you to be visible in the search results, and of course to receive exchange requests!
Add your favorite destinations
If you are open to all destinations, it’s better to fill them out than to leave them blank. This will allow members who use reverse search to find you! And let’s be honest— you do have a dream destination in mind, don’t you?
Reply to all messages
Watch your response rate: if your rate is below 80% you will not appear in the default search results, and a passionate exchanger will judge you if he sees that you are not responding to everyone. If you live in central London, you may be in high demand, but at that point, even if it’s not the nicest, use an automatic reply to answer. It's good to respond to everyone: if your ad is so great that you get lots of positive responses, it’s not a reason to become snobby, so take five minutes to answer everyone, even those you won’t be exchanging with this time!
Think about translations
The HomeExchange site is international! HomeExchange uses a super automatic translator so that all the exchangers in the world can see and understand your ad. For this reason, you should avoid abbreviations and expressions that are really specific to your region, otherwise the translation will not work.I'm on it!