Monday, September 13, 2010

Second Tip for doing a Home Exchange.

Here's my next tip for doing a home exchange.  (I really hope this doesn't offend anyone...but it I apologize in advance!)

Make sure you are not exchanging with a bachelor.  Or, if you are exchanging with a bachelor, make sure he's not a professional photographer!  In our experience, Bachelors tend to have a different idea as to what is needed in a kitchen to cook gourmet meals.  Bachelors tend to not be so worried about the little cobwebs in the pantry, spiders in the shower, propane in the tank for hot water, comfortable furniture and other little things like that.  I could be completely wrong and this could have nothing to do with the fact that our exchanger was a bachelor (he does have a lovely girlfriend, who came on the exchange with him...I'm just not sure she had added "a woman's touch" to his house yet).  But, I have to find some lesson to be learned, and this is what I've gleaned.  In our next exchange, I will be looking for more feminine touches in the house photos!

Since our exchange, I have reviewed the pictures that were posted of our exchange house, trying to determine whether I should have seen some of the more rustic parts of the house.  This is where the "don't exchange with a professional photographer" rule comes in.  The pictures are beautiful.  There was no real hint of what the house really had in store for us.  Now, when I look at pictures for our next exchange...I know what to look for.

First picture posted on Exchange site...we assumed this was the front of the house...shot from the road.
Nope, this was the back of the house...shot from the fields.

This was the front of the house...shot from the road, by us.  The house sat about 20 feet from the road...which had a lot of cars on it late at night...and they were very noisy!  Completely unexpected for a country house.  Notice, no lovely beautiful flowers.

To see other pictures of the house that we took

Trust me, none of these shots were included on the home exchange site.

In reviewing the pictures of your proposed home exchange, look at the details in the pictures.  Are there any dark spots on the walls...could be holes...or other more unsavory things.  Are there any full pictures of the kitchen or bathrooms?  If not, could mean that only one wall of those rooms is "presentable" and the rest of the room...not so much!  Look in the corners of the rooms...look at the tile work (is there any tile work?).  Basically, just look really carefully.  What at first appears to be a beautiful, romantic country home...could be just an old country house that needs lots of work!  Which can be totally long as you are prepared! 

Pulling up to your exchange home and thinking you must have the wrong house is not the best way to start off your exchange.  In conclusion, don't be afraid to ask for more pictures.  If there aren't any pictures of the bathroom(s), ask the proposed exchanged to send you some (ask for pictures of the shower).  This way, you know up front exactly what the house holds in store for you!


Lois Sealey, Home Base Holidays said...

Hi Steph

Excellent suggestions on what to look for in photos of potential exchange homes. I have just added a link to your post on twitter:

If you are interested, I would love to have you guest blog on Travel the Home Exchange Way, As we haven't covered this topic in depth, your post here would be ideal. If you are agreeable, we would include a brief bio at the end and a link to your blog.



KevinCromley said...

Real Estate 101 Big Sis:

Cute = Small
Cozy = Tiny
Charming = Old and crappy
Picturesque = Hard to look at
Remodeled = Repainted
Rustic = Shitty... SHIT HOLE... Run the other way...even in French!