Reader Home Exchange Dilemma: What would you do?

A reader recently wrote to me about a dilemma that I think others have faced. Basically she had more than one family agree to her home exchange request. And she had already started making plans with the first one to agree when a better offer came along. I kept her words but changed some details at her request.

After reading your reviews on various home exchange sites and researching them myself, we’ve chosen a home exchange network, and are currently in the process of seeking a home exchange in Madrid for next summer.

I’ve come up against a difficult situation and thought perhaps you might be able to shed some light as to what I should do.  I sent out a bunch of requests to exchange, receiving many “no”s back.  I finally got a confirmation and was delighted, this was just a week or so ago.  So we began the tentative planning discussions, but no agreement has been signed yet and no money has been spent on either side (for flights, etc.).

Yesterday I received another response stating “yes” from a home that was much better suited to our needs (better for our family size, comes with a car exchange, etc).  My dilemma is, what do I do now with the original family? Is it in poor taste to explain that we’ve found an exchange that is better suited to our needs? The last thing I want to do is offend or upset anyone, and as we’re brand new at this whole home exchange process, I’m really at a loss as to what to do. Am I obligated to stick with the first family? Have you ever been in a situation like this, and if so, how did you handle it?

If you could share any advice or suggestions, that would be greatly appreciated.

I really appreciate that this writer is concerned about treating everyone right. The first family to respond would probably be disappointed if she backs out. But the second family is offering a significantly better suited swap. And no one has spent any money yet or signed any agreements. But of course there is a verbal agreement. The exchange is in that tricky period where nothing is finalized but everyone is committed.

My suggestion was to be totally honest with everyone. Tell the first family about the second offer being much better suited and perhaps they will graciously bow out of the exchange. If they don’t, I think I’d stick with the first exchange. Assuming I feel like discussions have progressed to the point of verbal commitment I wouldn’t want to let them down, especially when it’s not looking like a bad exchange, just inferior to the second offer.

What would you do?


1 Comment

  1. I’ve had this dilemma twice, on both sides. A Hawaiian couple approached me, we agreed to dates and then they pulled out for a better offer. Happily, no tickets has been bought. I was ticked but there was nothing I could do. On the other side, I had been looking for an exchange in French Basque Country and the closest I could get was about 75 miles up the coast. After agreeing to the exchange, I found someone right in St. Jean de Luz. I took both exchanges! I ended up not using the house further away except for 1 week but the 2 couples did not have overlapping dates at my place, so it was fine.

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