Trying out HomeExchange

patiotableI recently signed up for the Web site HomeExchange, where you can trade homes with others for free vacation lodging. Although I haven’t successfully found someone to trade with yet, I am pretty psyched about the experience. This is not a sponsored post, I just wanted to share this new frugal thing I’m trying.

The first thing I did was register for the site, which is free, and list my house, which cost $47.85 for three months. Then I furiously cleaned a few rooms for photographing, and then the kids came home from school, and I realized that the only way to photograph a room is to clean it and then take the pictures immediately.

Then I had to write a few words about my house, family and neighborhood. When my listing was done, it did not compare all that well to some of the other houses on the site. I mean, some of these houses are mansions. And many of the photographs look like professional real estate photographs. I think this might be because a lot of homes on the site are second homes, and the photos may also be used for rental listigns on AirBnb, etc.

Once my listing was live, I started contacting owners of homes where I would like to stay. I messaged the owners of an RV in Santa Cruz which we really, really wanted to borrow, and got no reply. I messaged the owners of nine gorgeous Sonoma houses, and got automated rejection notices. I started to feel discouraged.

Then, I received my first request. Someone wanted to stay in our house this summer. The family was offering their house IN PARIS for exchange.

Wow. Wow!

I had to turn that family down, because they wanted to come stay at a time when we’ll be having guests here. But it took away my frustration. I began messaging owners of houses in Flagstaff, Az., where we hope to stay this summer to see the Grand Canyon. So far, I’ve gotten a lot of rejections and one “maybe.”

But in that time, I also got three more requests, all from Europe. One from Amsterdam, one from the Swiss Alps, and one, oh my God, look at this one.

Even though we would not be able to visit Europe this summer, I told all these people that I would consider hosting them here if we don’t get the Grand Canyon exchange we’re looking for. After all, we need cat sitters. We wrote in our listing that people staying here would need to care for our cats, and I just checked with each of the people who contacted me to make sure they were willing to do that.

We’ll see how this turns out!

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