When going on holidays, rented accommodation can represent a big part of the budget; so instead of being out of pocket why not make the most of the home you’ve built or renovated? Irish home exchangers guide you through the process of swapping homes…
When building your home, did you consider the possibility of home exchange or letting it?
We renovated an historic house; it was semiderelict when we bought it and we did it up in stages. At the time we were mostly concerned with tailoring the house to our own needs.
Which of your home’s feature(s) do you think is/are most attractive to other home exchangers?
The fact that we’re by the sea and our Dublin city centre location. We often exchange with people who live in the south of France and I think they enjoy getting away from the heat! We also have four bedrooms which is handy, and because we have children there are plenty of toys.
When ours go to other people’s homes I know they enjoy seeing new toys and I expect it’s the same for the young ones that come to our house. In general our children love seeing new things, discovering amazing areas, and being an interior designer I love home exchanging because I get to enjoy great architecture and design. It also saves a lot of money.
Because you know so well the effort, physical and mental, that goes in to a self-build, do you find that it makes you more conscious of taking care of the property you are holidaying in?
People are careful with our house and we are with theirs. When doing the research I do find though that we are attracted to people who understand and appreciate old houses. For instance, because the house is nowhere near airtight, in the colder months we always advise people to bring extra clothing.
Have you found that self-builders exchanging with you are more careful with your house than those who haven’t built their home this way?
We’ve never had any problems with the home exchangers we’ve come across, whether selfbuilders or not.
Self-builds tend to feature the newer technologies such as heat pumps and solar panels. Do you find that you need to give extra help to familiarise people with using these?
The renovation mostly consisted of replacing the existing heating and hot water system with a new equivalent, we also put in double glazing and did some insulation work. But while the house is easy to navigate it still requires some guidance to use.
This is why it’s so important to take the time to put together a good House Book to set out how everything works from the washing to coffee machine, remembering to give all relevant passwords such as the wifi code. If everything is well explained there will be less need for communication.
What advice would you give others considering a home exchange?
It’s so important to take the time to put together a good House Book to set out how everything works from the washing to coffee machine, remembering to give all relevant passwords such as the wifi code. If everything is well explained there will be less need for communication. I’d also advocate the use of a key face; to open our house you only need a code, not a physical key which would require meeting at the airport to exchange keys. We like to research our holiday destination quite thoroughly, and while I am aware that for some it doesn’t take long at all to find a match, we found that our approach to swapping can take longer to find the right home for us and it also takes us time to organise our house before we leave, so if you are looking for certain things it can be helpful to start your search early.
How often do you do a home exchange and for how many years have you been involved in this?
It’s been six years now. We used to home exchange twice a year but with life being so busy at present we now only go away once a year.
Take a look through some other Home Exchange articles we have featured:
All of the homes featured in this article are listed on www.homeexchange.com; the listing fee is €130 per year and you can swap an unlimited amount of times. If you don’t do a home exchange in the first year you get the second year free.