House Swap - The Do's and Don'ts

House Swap

With the popularity of sites like airbnb, many people are looking beyond the traditional holiday accommodation options of hotels and apartments. House swapping is a practice that has increased in popularity in recent years, and is a great way to experience a new or favourite location, whilst still being able to enjoy home comforts. There is plenty to consider when taking part in a house swap, so we’ve put together some dos and don’ts and useful tips to help the process run smoothly.

What you need to know:

  • If you have one home, you will need to arrange a simultaneous house swap. If you own a holiday home, this allows greater flexibility as the swap does not need to be simultaneous.
  • Most swapping sites will charge a reasonable fee for a monthly/yearly use of their service. Many sites will allow you to search the site without joining however; but you can’t contact any potential swappers until you join.
  • Once you have chosen a website to work with, a good strategy is to plan as far in advance as possible and be flexible about dates. Many sites will supply user response rates. Those with a high response rate are likely to be easier to communicate and liaise with.
  • The best way to start is to find someone who wants to stay in Ireland. From these candidates, you can start to search through possible destinations for your family.
  • In your listing, describe your family, your home, your neighbourhood, transportation facilities nearby, community facilities and attractions in the area.
  • In choosing a house, keep in mind exactly what you need. Do you need a space/garden suitable for children? Do you need wheelchair access? Would you like a car included in the swap?
  • It’s important to create a good rapport with the family you’re swapping with through emails, phone calls or a social media connection. This way when it finally comes to swapping, it won’t feel like a stranger is staying in your house.
  • Be sure to establish if a vehicle/vehicles are included in the swap. You will need to inform your insurer if there is, and make sure you have the correct cover.
  • Be sure your home insurance provider is also aware of the swap. Check that your current cover offers sufficient protection. 


Take plenty of photographs of your home, including at least one of every bedroom, and your garden.  Be put off because you worry your home may not be good enough for a swap. People want to exchange for various reasons and your home may be exactly what many people are looking for.

Be clear about what you need, your expectations. Failing to do so could lead to disappointment and confusion between the two parties.

Double check both parties are on the same page before booking any flights/transport. 

Describe your home as more than what it is. You must be honest about your home or swappers will have unrealistic expectations and end up disappointed. 
Be relaxed about your stuff. Swappers tend to be people like you. They won’t damage your house when they are hoping you will respect theirs.  Forget to clear space for those staying in your house. Make drawer and wardrobe space, cabinet space, and room in the fridge/freezer. 

Be thoughtful by ensuring your home is tidy and stocked up with the basics before your swap arrives. 

Leave written directions for how things (that might be difficult to use for those who are unfamiliar) work in your house. In turn, leave your host’s home as you found it.

Change your mind about the conditions agreed to or the swap itself unless unavoidable. If you must alter any of the conditions or cancel the swap, inform the other family immediately. 

Tell your neighbours when a home exchange will be taking place. This will avoid any mishaps or confusion.   
Do contact your home insurance provider to ensure cover is in order – not all providers are agreeable to house swapping!  

Does house swapping sound like something you’d be interested in trying? Be sure you have the appropriate house cover before you take the first step. Call us on 1890 33 22 11, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm or click here.

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