are some common questions about home exchanging, we hope the answers
assist you to understand all about the home exchange concept.If we have
left a relevant question out we would welcome your feedback.
1. How does Home Exchange work?
The concept is quite simple: you exchange your house with another
member for a certain period of time. Since neither of you pays rent,
both of you enjoy a budget friendly holiday!
Our home exchange listings are available on the Homelink Home Exchange
website. Every listing gives a short description of the members' home,
their preferred destination/s and their offer and request. Photos are
also included of the accommodation.
After looking through the listings, members start contacting potential
exchange partners, normally by email or phone. A special form is available
to lay out the exchange agreement. When the agreement has been made,
the exchange partners get to know each other better by detailed correspondence.
If possible, they arrange to meet each other in advance (e.g. at the
2. How do I arrange a home exchange?
When you become a member you receive full access to all member details
in the HomeLink Home Exchange community, to which your own property
details will be added. As a member, you simply send out offers to places
of interest and it goes from there. It is very important to be pro-active
in contact up to 10 members daily.
Your home exchange may result from these offers you initiate, or offers
you receive from other members. Your membership includes a guide to
home exchanging, which most first-time exchangers find useful.
How long are exchanges for?
All durations, from weekends to many weeks. It depends on what you and
your exchange partner arrange.
Because our members' listings allow them to specify their preferences,
you can easily identify suitable exchange partners.
What if I am having trouble arranging a home exchange?
Our helpful hints set most people off on the right track. If you are
having specific problems. We are always available to help in any event;
home exchange is fun, and we are committed to assisting our members
to get their system working for them!
5. Who exchanges their home?
Anyone who enjoys travelling and has a sense of adventure! HomeLink
Home Exchange appeals to a very broad demographic, so it is perhaps
easier to identify 'who' is a home exchanger by personality:
They are adventurous types who are stimulated by new experiences and
sense of discovery;
They are socially motivated, trusting, independent, and practical.
Most people come to the world of home exchanging from their 30's onwards,
and many stay well beyond retirement.
6. What types of homes are listed?
A complete variety, from inner city apartments to beach homes, from
small suburban houses to large rural properties.
Why not View
all the member listings for the entire HomeLink Home Exchange global
community. (contact details are removed for members' privacy)
7. Who would want to stay in my home?
The idea of a "fair exchange" is up to the individual. Whilst
some people do seek similar sized properties, not everyone does; many
people value the variety of experiences. Often people just want a comfortable,
clean base from which to explore the area. They are not interested in
critically appraising the architecture or style of an individual's house.
This is your home. You may consider it humble in comparison to a property
you would love to exchange with, but this does not make it in any way
inferior. Most HomeLinkers recognise that homes cannot be rated according
to tourism stars, because they are spaces where people live their lives,
making them comfortable, unique and intimate.
The people who have the most success in exchanging are those with an
open mind, who do not presuppose what others in the HomeLink Home Exchange
community will think.
Would people want to visit my area?
Whether you live in an established tourist honey-pot area, or in a place
far from the tourist's beaten track, people will definitely want to
visit. Our membership base is diverse, as are peoples travel habits.
Whilst some prefer popular travel destinations, others seek genuinely
new experiences - that is, after all, how tourist hot spots develop.
Our members are both international visitors and locals who may be looking
for a base to catch up with family or to explore the area.
When entering your property listing, think about all you enjoy about
living in your area. Look at all the things the locals do, from entertainment
to the natural habitat, and list these down to accompany your property
Do you both have to exchange at the same time?
No. Many HomeLink members offer non-simultaneous (also called 'non-synchronous')
as well as simultaneous exchanges. This brings a lot of flexibility
to the community, being able to accommodate exchanges at times which
may not be personally convenient for you.
For example, a HomeLink Home Exchange member at your preferred destination
may not be free to visit your home for the dates you suggest, yet they
are still able to offer you their home - this is now a non-simultaneous
There are a variety of circumstances when this might occur. For example,
the other member may have a second home available; or, they may already
have a hospitality exchange, or their own non-simultaneous exchange
arranged with another member.
It sounds more complicated than it is, but it works!
10. When is the best time to join?
Naturally, we are always eager to welcome new members. But there is
something much more important to HomeLink Home Exchange. We seek happy,
enthusiastic new members who will want to stay with us for the long
We want you to join our community when you are truly ready, when you
really understand what our home exchanging community is about, what
home exchange is about and finally, when you are genuinely eager to
get actively involved in our community and the world of home exchange
holidays. Once started, HomeLink Home Exchange members very often stay
with us for life. We're hoping you will too!
While you're considering whether to join us, we simply ask that you
bear one factor in mind. That is, our members generally prefer to correspond
with you at length .. getting to know you .. before agreeing on a firm
holiday plan with you. Many begin looking 6 or even 12 months in advance.
Please take this into account in your planning, and allow plenty of
time after you subscribe to secure an exchange.
11. Can I include a second home in my
You can AND it's FREE.
To include a second home with relevant photos, you must make a separate
12. I rent my home - can I still join?
Yes. Provided you have your landlord's permission, of course you can!
13. Are cars exchanged too?
Yes, very often cars are included. You may need to check first, that
your insurance policy covers other parties driving your car.
You may wish to use our Exchange Agreement form, available free for
you in the members area of our web site.
It is the most comprehensive and advanced system for documenting a home
exchange in the industry.
14. Who pays the bills?
Usually each party continues to pay their regular household bills, although
separate arrangements might be made for the telephone. Members should
agree in advance who will be responsible for any extra payment, to ensure
fairness to both parties.
15. Will anyone exchange with a family?
16. Are families successful getting
Yes, families are very successful in getting home exchanges. There are
many reasons for this. For example, the cost savings in home exchange
are greatly multiplied when there are more people to accommodate. So
it is often families who are attracted to HomeLink Home Exchange...
and these members obviously look for a "child-friendly" home
17. I have specific needs, how will
I find an exchange that suits me?
Our database has universal symbols so that important details are immediately
For example, you may be a non-smoker and allergic to pets: you will
be able to filter listings to see if a member is a smoker and/or has
pets. You may need disabled access, or you may be a young family who
would prefer to exchange with members who also have children.
Whatever your needs or preferences, member listings are comprehensive
and detailed, with symbols and search facilities allowing you to find
what you are looking for with ease.
18. I have pets and a garden, who will
look after them?
Whilst many members do enjoy looking after their exchange partner's
pets, and do not find it troublesome to water the garden occasionally,
you cannot in all fairness impose this upon them.
Remember ... like you, they are on holiday. They may have long day trips
planned, or simply do not want to commit to a routine.
Even if you arrange for a neighbour or family member to take care of
your pets, you should still let your home exchange partner know of your
furry, feathered or finned friends in case they are allergic to certain
19. How can I trust my home to a stranger?
Home exchange is built upon trust. The HomeLink Home Exchange community
reduces risk by running a "closed system" in which members
exchange only with other HomeLink Home Exchange members.
In the end, the decision to swap with a particular partner is yours.
As you get to know each other through discussing and organising the
exchange, your home exchange partner becomes less of a stranger. Many
members forge lasting friendships.
If you are concerned, we recommend you exchange with an experienced
member until you feel more comfortable with the process. Look for the
GOLD member symbol.
We also recommend that you address specific concerns with your home
exchange partner as you arrange the swap. This often breaks the ice
as they may feel exactly the same way!
20. What about safety?
After more than 60 years, we believe HomeLink Home Exchange has developed
the safest, most secure system for exchange holidays.
Members of HomeLink Home Exchange may be contacted only by other bona-fide
registered members, whose homes are listed as well, and are well acquainted
with our customs and Code of Ethics. For our members' security, addresses
and phone numbers are made available only to other registered members.
Regular contact with our members means we monitor and safeguard the
high reputation which HomeLink Home Exchange has enjoyed over more than
By comparison, many of the "new" breed of internet-only networks
offer an 'Open System', in which any anonymous visitor can contact any
member for free, even though they have not even registered or provided
a listing themselves.
21. I am a little uncomfortable with
home exchanging, is there a way to ease in to it?
Yes! Why not first try 'Hospitality' exchanging, where members arrange
to host each other in their homes.
22. What can go wrong?
Although we cannot guarantee a flawless experience, most home exchanges
do work really well. Problems that members have discussed with us tend
to be low-level issues, limited to accidental breakage or a difference
in house-keeping standards.
Disappointments can be managed (and best avoided) by communicating openly
with your partner beforehand, discussing expectations and, where necessary,
locking away items which are irreplaceable or not for their consumption,
such as cellared bottles of wine!
23. What if something happened to our
home when exchanging?
In over 60 years of HomeLink, theft and vandalism have never been an
Problems have tended to be simply misunderstandings, and a few instances
of accidental breakage. Insurance companies often advise that your house
is safer from theft and vandalism with guests present, than if left
24. Is there a home exchange contract?
Yes. HomeLink provides a simple online contract for both parties to
set down the terms of the exchange, and all agreed logistics, such as
date and time of arrival, exchanging keys, car exchange details and
so on. We also offer a Checklist, Guest Book and Evaluation forms to
complete before and after your exchange.
All these forms are available and can be completed online.
25. Do members follow a Code of Ethics?
Yes. We ask all HomeLink Home Exchange members to abide by the Code,
and always to act in good faith. The sense of mutual responsibility,
honour, and respect encouraged by the Code is the cornerstone of HomeLink's
successful home exchange tradition, built over more than 60 years
See Q38 "What is the HomeLink Code of Ethics" to view our
26. I want to get more of a feel before
I join, is there anyone I can speak with?
Yes! You can always call us, we're happy to assist.
27. How do I join?
Simply go to Getting Started on this website. If you prefer to speak
with us first, please use phone number 01-8462598.
28. I do not live in Ireland - how do
HomeLink Home Exchange has offices in 27 major destinations, covering
more than 60 countries around the world.
On our website you can find your country of residence (or the nearest
country geographically if yours is not listed).
29. What do I get for my membership?
Full details of HomeLink Home Exchange membership are listed in Getting
30. Is membership renewal compulsory?
There is no requirement to renew each year. You can allow your membership
to lapse, and as a former member we will still welcome you back at a
later date and you won't have to go through the application process
either. Renewing before your expiry date means you avail of a lower
However, it is wise to maintain current status, even if you've arranged
a home exchange for the coming year. Simply, you cannot receive customer
assistance from HomeLink Home Exchange Coordinators in other countries,
if you have allowed your membership to lapse. Also, it is not unheard
of for international HomeLink Home Exchange member to pull out of a
pre-arranged exchange agreement with you if your membership lapses.
Why? If one party is not a current member, then both parties lose the
protection of conducting a valid exchange under the HomeLink Home Exchange
For your protection and that of other members, it is best to maintain
current membership status, even if you have already confirmed your holiday
plan for the coming year.
31. How do members know about my listing
once I have joined?
As soon as you join, your details are added to the online database and
highlighted in the "Hot Listings" section, which immediately
alerts members that new properties (yours!) have listed.
There is no better way for members to know about your listing than by
initiating exchanges, so be bold and send out your offers straight away!
Is the HomeLink Home Exchange database up to date?
Yes! New members are added immediately. And quite importantly, unlike
the "new" breed of internet-only exchange networks, HomeLink
Home Exchange does not artificially inflate our total membership numbers
by keeping expired listings online. Our member's listings are removed
as soon as they leave the community. With HomeLink, you won't waste
time trying to contact expired members whose listing information has
been kept "live".
HomeLinkers also update their own details to help you. When you search
our database, it is possible to see the current status of each fellow
member: which periods they are available for exchange and whether they
have already made arrangements with another member.
33. Which network has the most members?
Many of the "new" internet-only networks claim that they are
largest, premier, etc. Unfortunately, many 'artificially enhance' their
totals, by continuing to list expired members.
At HomeLink Home Exchange, we've always believed in helping people make
informed decisions, by giving the bare facts. So unlike many other networks,
HomeLink Home Exchange does not artificially inflate our total membership
numbers by keeping expired listings online. Our member's listings are
removed as soon as they leave the community. With HomeLink, you won't
waste time trying to contact expired members whose listing information
has been kept "live".
34. Who has the best website?
Style or substance? Don't be misled by more stylish, flashy home exchange
sites. HomeLink Home Exchange has the fastest site, offers the most
features, and has been designed to make reading and navigating the website
both easy and enjoyable for our members, many of whom are retirees and/or
people who are less confident using the internet.
We maintain a central website with separate local websites for (currently
27) major countries around the world. These sites are in the domestic
language(s), and run by HomeLink Home Exchange Coordinators who are
native to that country. These are real sites run by real people. Each
site is tailored to the needs of citizens in that country, whilst allowing
access to the central home exchange server databases.
Every HomeLink Home Exchange Coordinator in the world has complete 24-hour
access to administer the central database. New listings may be uploaded,
passwords administered, and listings edited 24 hours a day, seven days
a week from anywhere in the world.
HomeLink Home Exchange offers the best search facilities. We have several
distinct search engines, each designed to match your preferences in
searching. We also offer search facilities that allow you to specify
your requirements in as much detail as you choose. During your database
searches, you may 'Tag' listings that interest you by clicking on a
button. Later, you may retrieve such home exchange listings for review.
You may add notes, such as a correspondence record, to any of your 'tagged'
home exchange listings. Of course, listings that no longer interest
you may be deleted from your private file.
35. What about language translation?
We have websites in all major countries, in the native domestic language.
When you join HomeLink, your listing details are translated by us into
Danish, Dutch, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish,
Estonian and Russian, so that other members can read your listing in
their own language.
On our website, HomeLink translates the listing information into the
user's choice of languages "on-the-fly". Because the site
has been translated by the HomeLink staff, the syntax is correct and
grammar is good - unlike the free translations provided by various web-based
Best of all, when you are travelling with HomeLink Home Exchange, you
need not worry about language difficulties. You have the peace of mind
that comes with knowing our HomeLink Coordinators are nearby. You can
get support, advice and help from 27 HomeLink offices around the world,
each staffed by experienced exchangers who speak the native language,
AND English. If you have a problem overseas, help in your own language
(though perhaps with a strong accent!) is only an email or phone call
36. Who has the most local offices worldwide?
Unlike many faceless internet-only organisations, HomeLink has
real people behind it. Only HomeLink has representative Coordinators
in most major countries (currently 27) around the world. By comparison,
almost all other exchange networks are based entirely in one country
(usually USA or UK), with few or no offices in other countries.
Simply, no other exchange network can offer the local expertise and
assistance that HomeLink provides.
37. Why does HomeLink membership cost
Often people ask, Why is HomeLink more expensive? I can join 'XYZ' exchange
network for only €79... or £85 ... or FREE.
The answer is, HomeLink is the best. Simple as that.
Once you've read all our Common Questions, you will clearly see the
overwhelming advantages of HomeLink compared to faceless, internet-only
exchanges. HomeLink's community pioneered the concept of home exchange
for more than 60 years, and has over 13,000 loyal members who will build
relationships with you according to our long tradition of mutual respect
and trust even if you only consider one fact - that only HomeLink Home
Exchange has highly experienced local organisers, right there to help
you, in almost any country you care to visit, we think you'll agree
that this alone more than justifies our price difference. A difference
which, when you stop and think about it, is actually a very modest sum
compared to the cost of a holiday. And this is before you consider all
the other advantages of HomeLink! After all, what price can you put
on peace of mind? So why would you trust your home ... and holiday ...
with any other exchange network?
Our thousands of loyal members around the world (many of whom have renewed
every year for 3 decades!) would testify to that wonderful old saying
- You only get what you pay for!
Why would you wish to penny-pinch on membership fees with a cheaper,
faceless internet-only exchange network?
It's all about your precious home, and finding your once-in-a-lifetime
home exchange holiday. HomeLink offers the most comprehensive local
service all around the world, and the best opportunities to find exactly
38. What is the HomeLink Code of Ethics?
your home honestly in your listing and in all correspondence. You
want your exchange partners to be pleasantly surprised when they
arrive, not disappointed. Never hide the existence of pets.
Home exchanging has tremendous potential for creating goodwill among
people throughout the world. In keeping with this philosophy, we
believe that if you are on the receiving end of an exchange offer,
courtesy requires that you acknowledge each offer, whether or not
you intend to explore the proposal. Use the pre-set response or
even a brief e-mail will suffice, stating simply:
"Thank you for your offer, but exchanging to _______ is not
in our plans for this year."
In your own initial invitation you can add:
"May we ask you to express any possible interest in this proposal
by (give date 1-3 weeks hence), after which we will assume our exchange
offer does not fit in with your plans".
To help prevent your messages from being discarded as spam:
Send e-mail messages individually and personalised, using the members'
names; include the word 'HomeLink' somewhere in the subject line
to signify a bona fide message; refrain from *bulk* e-mails with
impersonal salutations like "Dear HomeLinker"; and send
attachments ONLY if you have forewarned your recipients.
your home clean. Standards of cleanliness vary, so make sure
that floors are vacuumed and mopped, refrigerator emptied, stove
and oven grease-free, bath and shower free of mould and grime, windows
see-through, and surfaces dust-free. No need to repaint the house.
away enough of your personal belongings to leave space on shelves
and in wardrobes and drawers so that your guests can empty their
suitcases, arrange their things in bedrooms, bathrooms, and entry
halls, and feel at home.
at least two sets of clean sheets per bed and two sets of towels
a clear, useful 'Guide to Your Home and Surroundings' which
includes local tourist information and household notices about the
use of electrical appliances, pool maintenance, pet and plant care,
garbage day pick-up, etc. Phone numbers of a recommended doctor,
dentist, babysitter, good restaurants, and helpful friends are always
Also, leave a spare set of house/car keys with a neighbour
in case of emergency!
our online 'Home and Car Exchange Agreement' forms to avoid
all misunderstandings and clarify who pays what in terms of telephone,
electric bills, gas consumption, insurance deductibles in case of
accidents, and staple foods such as flour, sugar, oil, etc.
arrangements are such that you cannot meet, arrange for a family
member, neighbour or friend to come by and welcome your home exchange
partners when they arrive. They will certainly have questions
and such a welcome will be much appreciated.
the makings of a first meal. Nothing fancy, but your guests
will be tired and hungry and grateful not to have to go out for
has become a HomeLink Home Exchange tradition to leave a small
gift of welcome: a bottle of wine or champagne, a local speciality.
Always a special surprise.
Close the door, turn the key, and go off on holiday knowing that
your home is in the good hands of another HomeLink member like you.
39. What is 'hospitality' exchange?
Hospitality exchange is where members come and stay with you and vice
versa, as opposed to swapping homes.
Members do this for a number of reasons. Some new HomeLinkers prefer
hospitality exchanges to ease themselves into this new world of travel.
Others take up hospitality exchanges because over the course of their
correspondence they have formed a friendship, and would enjoy having
each other as guests.
Another reason is that one member may be keen to go to a specific area
but the approached member is not able to reciprocate an exchange at
that time; they may offer hospitality exchange in order to facilitate
the other member's travel plans.
40. Does a hospitality exchange have
to be reciprocated?
Generally yes, but not necessarily! The exchange parties determine the
arrangement; the agreement may be purely one-way, or reciprocated by
a hospitality or home exchange.
41. What is 'youth' exchange?
A youth exchange is really just like a Hospitality exchange, but for
You send your child/youth/student to live with another member or, you
offer to host another members child with you.
This is a fabulous way of introducing children to the mind-broadening
(and maturing!) experience of international travel, and living in a
different culture, with a different family.
It is a great choice for experienced exchangers, in particular those
who have swapped with and met the other member before.
42. How do I 'login'? - Guests/Free
Register your name and email address and you are good to go. Great!
Now, every time you return to our website, all you need do is go to
the "Log-in" page.
Enjoy window shopping!!
43. How do I 'login'? - Members
Have you subscribed?
Have you received our confirmation email?
Great! Now, all you need do is enter your email address and password
you set into the login boxes.
44. Why can't I see other home exchange
member's contact information?
This is an important security precaution. It is intended to prevent
unscrupulous persons joining HomeLink as members, gathering a large
list of email addresses, and then sending mass unsolicited emails ('spam')
to our members.
We offer a 'closed' email system in the Members area for you to use
when sending emails to other members.
Simply go to the member listing that interests you, and click on the
link "Contact this member".