Home Exchange: Jackie from County Laois

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?

No, we had not considered home exchange or letting our house during the build process but shortly after we moved in we starting looking at different opportunities. We do not let our house; we feel home exchange works much better for us.

Which of your home’s feature(s) do you think is/are most attractive to other home exchangers?

Our house is very much a family home with open plan living and this attracts families, as do the large windows and modern design.

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? 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 have not exchanged with new home selfbuilders but we have exchanged with families that have extended old homes in city centre locations often with wonderful modern extensions. I think people appreciate the effort that goes into building a home, or extending a home and home exchangers definitely appreciate and respect each others’ homes and designs.

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?

No, we don’t find this an issue at all, as we have exchanged with Europeans and these technologies are often in use in their homes too. Also as recommended by www.homeexchange.com we have a manual with detailed instructions about features in our house and all exchangers seem to have such a guide, showing you how to operate everything from the cooker to the heating system.

What advice would you give others considering a home exchange?

Absolutely do it, it is so wonderful to stay in a home, you really experience life as a local and if you are lucky you will make new friends. On a practical note have clear instructions on expectations regarding cleaning, keys exchange, laundry etc. We always try to meet the family we are exchanging with also to build up a rapport.

How often do you do a home exchange and for how many years have you been involved in this?

We have exchanged six times since 2013. We are now exchanging twice a year, mostly at Easter time and during the holidays. This is the only way we would consider going on holiday.

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.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email astrid.madsen@selfbuild.ie

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