The HomeExchange community is growing, and we're delighted! More members means more opportunities to exchange and meet new people. And what better way to welcome new members than to remind ourselves of the fundamental principles and values of HomeExchange, and more specifically, what distinguishes the platform from other sites like those offering rental services.

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So let's start with the basics, with a quick reminder about exchange requests, the essential starting point for a successful home exchange!

The difference between home exchange and short-term rentals

The diffenrece between home exchange and short term rentals

When you visit a rental website, you pay for accommodation and services. On HomeExchange, on the other hand, you pay nothing to other members: you are welcomed by your host for free, in exchange for your own home on reciprocal exchanges, or for GuestPoints, in the case of a non-reciprocal exchange.

Because no money is involved between host and guest, the exchange is instead based on communication, trust, and respect.

When you're asking someone to share their home with you on HomeExchange (Fun fact: 80% of the homes on HomeExchange are primary homes), you're basically saying, "Hey, can I stay in your place, take care of your things, maybe look after your cat or plants?" To accept this, your host needs to trust you a bit. You wouldn't open your door to total strangers, right?

How to build trust

Home swapping is based on trust and respect

Introduce yourself

To establish trust, when you contact members for an exchange request, it’s important to give detailed information. Always include the basics:

  • A bit about yourself
  • Who will be accompanying you (partner, baby, your cat Sprinkles...)
  • And about the purpose of your stay (a romantic weekend to relax, a week's vacation with friends to discover that place we've always dreamed of visiting, a business trip...)

Personalize your request

Make sure to show your potential host that you've read their listing and profile before writing to them, you can do this by telling them what you like about their house or region, whether you like cats because you've seen that the person has one, and so on.

Make sure your profile is current and complete

Include plenty of photos, a solid description, and fill out as many details as you can. Think of your home profile as your business card—it should represent you well. And don't forget to reply to messages promptly to keep your response rate high, aiming for 100%.

Accepting rejection

When you send an exchange request, remember the human side of the relationship you're about to establish: on HomeExchange, we don't exchange money, we exchange trust.

Members have the right to say no for any reason, including if they don't feel comfortable with your message or profile. It's their home and it's their decision at the end of the day.

So, when crafting your exchange proposal, keep in mind that you're asking people to trust you with something very precious—their home, filled with their belongings and memories. That awareness can improve your chances of finding a great exchange.

To sum up, for a perfect exchange proposal

All our tips for a perfect exchange request
  • Read the listings before reaching out, making sure to read carefully. Don't ask for an exchange in July if they've said their home is not available in the summer, and avoid contacting someone with cats if you're allergic. Pay attention to the details!
  • Introduce yourself and the people who will be accompanying you.
  • Personalize your message to show that you've read the profile carefully.
  • Check that your own listing is complete (photo, description, profile, etc.) and that your response rate is 100%.
  • Remember that you're talking to the people about their home, not a booking service and that they need to feel they can trust you.

Finally, be yourself throughout your exchanges, and everything will go smoothly!

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