Marguerite Payen, a Guardian Home Exchange member and experienced home exchanger from Harrogate, Yorkshire, sent in this lovely article on how to approach and arrange an exchange (whether an offer by herself to another member, or an offer sent to her by another member).
"When I joined Guardian Home exchange 12 months ago, it had been many many years since my last exchange that I did while living and working in France. Initially I felt quite out of touch and felt quite a bit of trepidation. So, how did I deal with it and make the most of this world of opportunity?
Firstly, when I received a message from another home exchanger, I decided to copy their style in my messaging... I quickly realised that, nine times out of ten, the best style was chatty and relaxed but always clear regarding dates and what is 'on offer' etc. There was no need of formality, no reason to be shy about asking questions, or, stating in a friendly way, any concerns that I had.
Never feel nervous about messaging people, there is nothing nicer than seeing a Guardian Home Exchange message pop up in your inbox and then opening the message to see who is interested in your home! Remember, the more contacts you make the more chance you have of finding your Swap.
One thing I certainly did was cheat a little bit. I viewed quite a number of home swap offers, especially in my area... getting a feel on how to write my "Meet the member" profile, details about my home and my area, and of course the photos of my home. When taking the photos I made sure that my home and garden was nice tidy and that I included several photos of surrounding places of interest and beauty. I played around with my profile to include a little montage of phrases and descriptions that I felt worked.
I always make an effort to answer any inquiries as soon as possible, even if it is to say 'no thank you'. It's always reassuring when I look at member's profiles and see that they have a quick response rate.
In my home swap offer, I have included several favourite destination that I'd like to visit, but have also included that I am 'open to offers' - sometimes the best swaps are the unexpected!
Last year I had a home swap to a beautiful home in Cornwall. I asked my home exchange host if the friend I was travelling with could bring her dog... happily the exchangers said yes! We had a wonderful holiday, as did Paddy, and the couple thanked us for leaving their home in immaculate condition. After this exchange, I am also now open to members bringing their dogs to my home. However, do remember when arranging a home swaps with pets that you discuss and agree all details with your home exchange partners first.
Once I've completed a swap I make sure to leave a home swap trip report for my hosts and find that they are happy to reciprocate.
In my first year I had five wonderful home exchanges and received many other offers that unfortunately I was unable to take up. This year I have six home exchange planned, plus a visit from a lovely lady, Sandra, who I had my very first home swap with. Sandra is a very experienced home exchanger and shes always been wonderful and happy to help with tips and advice. So my tip is to never be nervous about asking other members questions or advice, people are generally very happy to help... I think it is the nature of people on this home swap site.
Happy home swaps!" - Marguerite
Meet the member:
Marguerite has a lovely cottage in Harrogate, check out full details of her home exchange in Yorkshire.
Her charming Victorian cottage is located just 10 minutes’ walk to the centre of the beautiful Spa town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.