Home Exchange

Best Home Exchange Networks: 2017 Version

Read the updated version of this post: Best Home Exchange Networks 2018

The number of home exchange websites out there can be overwhelming to someone new to house swapping. When I first got interested in home exchange I spent a few weeks looking at  networks, and searching in vain for objective reviews, or at least some overview information comparing the sites. In response to this lack of information, I created this website which includes a list of all the existing home exchange networks  with relevant comparative information. And I’ve also written individual reviews of many of the house swap networks.

To help people distill all this information, every summer I write an updated guide to the best home exchange networks. I think this is the question everyone who is new to home swapping wants answered: Just tell me which network to join!

Well unfortunately it’s not as easy as just naming the best one. But I can give you some good guidance based on your personal needs. Read what I write below, and feel free to get in touch if you have more questions. Also, here are my best network posts from 2016, 2015 and 2014. I recommend looking at the reader comments on those to get some good input from others. As always, comment below if you have other input to offer!

Overview of the home exchange networks

As of July 2017, I count a total of 70 home exchange networks. 11 are location specific, 27 are focused on some special interest group, and the remaining 33 are generalist. Within the 33 general networks, 13 of them have listings predominantly in one location even though they are not geographically limited by design.

There are new home exchange websites popping up regularly, but the older ones are also consolidating and/or shutting down. Competition might seem like a good thing for improving products, but this is a case where too much competition is inefficient for the users. You only have to join one house swapping site, but that means you will only see homes listed on that site. And house swapping depends on your ability to find someone interested in visiting your town when you want to visit their town, so volume is especially important to improve your odds. Most home exchange networks cost money, and it takes some work to build a decent profile and go through listings, so ideally you want to only join one or two. This means it’s important to pick the site or sites that will best meet your house swapping needs.

How to pick the best network for you

There isn’t much information out there about the home exchange networks so I created a spreadsheet of them all. Every year I do a lot of research to keep this updated, including conducting multiple searches on each site to see how many houses turn up, and exploring the features of each site.

Home Exchange spreadsheet

You can find this spreadsheet with all the home exchange sites and relevant data on each one here.

You also need to think about what’s important to you in a home exchange network. I recommend starting with a list of your goals for house swapping. Below are some of the key considerations and goals to think about.

Desired destinations

Do you have specific destinations that you want to visit? Will you be focused in one region of the world or do you want to travel to lots of different places? There are swap sites that are location-specific or that just have the majority of their listings in one area. If you only want to travel within Australia, join a site devoted to that rather than one that lists homes all around the world. You can find these in the “Location” category in my spreadsheet, and you can filter the Specialty column by whatever region of the world you want to select.

Vacation home swapper

If you have a second home you might want to only swap with others in this same situation. That will really narrow down the number of swap options, so I don’t think this is the best way to take advantage of your vacation home. But if you only like staying in luxury properties that are sure to be unoccupied as a primary home, these are the networks to use.  These networks can be found in the “Specialty” category in my spreadsheet.

Special needs

There are home exchange networks for special interest groups including but not limited to: several different religions, people with disabilities, gay folks, golfers, long term exchangers, and home schoolers. If it’s important to you to only swap with people in a specific category, check out these networks. These are in the “Specialty” category in my spreadsheet.

Other features offered by some networks that might be important to you include: house swapping insurance and/or security deposit, contract templates, and variations on timing and method of house swapping (see below). You can find information about many of these options in my reviews of the networks.

Number of members

Size matters. And not just the overall number of listings on a website, but also the number of listings in places you want to travel. Where possible, in my reviews I’ve provided a breakdown of listings by continent, or for some sample countries. But I strongly recommend doing some searching yourself on any networks you are considering joining. Look at the results for cities you’d like to visit, and include the consideration of how many people in that network want to visit your city.

Swapping options

There are variations on  how you can exchange homes. Here are the options:

  • Simultaneous house swap – this is the traditional model where two parties swap houses for an agreed upon set of dates.
  • Non-simultaneous house swap – Non-simultaneous works best with second homes, but is also useful for people going on vacation and leaving their home empty. In this case each party picks different dates for the swap.
  • Swap points – earn points for letting others stay in your home while you are away (or while you are home), and then redeem those points to stay in any of the other homes participating in the program.
  • Hospitality exchange – this allows people with extra space in their house to host visitors in exchange for being hosted themselves at some other date.
  • Housesitting – not a common option, but a few websites offer listings for housesitting.

I will put in a plug for networks that include the option to do points-based swapping. I don’t like to be constrained by finding someone to do a simultaneous exchange. Check out that link for a full review of the pros and cons of this system of home exchange and a list of networks offering points-based swapping.

Top home exchange networks for travel generalists

If you want to travel to various places around the world, and you don’t fit into any of the categories I discuss above, there are a three general home exchange networks that I recommend.

The two largest home swap sites are now owned by Guest to Guest, but they are run entirely independently. These are:

  • Guest to Guest – the largest network, it’s free, and focuses on points-based swaps.
  • HomeExchange.com – the second largest network, a paid service mostly focused on simultaneous home exchanges.

These generalist networks are a good place to start if you are new to home exchange. The other one that I recommend for general exchanges is:

  • Home Link – a smaller network (9000 listings) but very much loved by its members. Known for having very active members who are responsive to requests as well as very friendly, responsive and honest owners.



  • I have just received a renewal notice from Homeforexchange which led me to start comparing home exchange options. Fortunately I found your site and it looks as if you have done all the work for me. Many thanks for your efforts and if you have any comment on the email I received from Homeforexchange I would be very interested.

    “Dear. We’re contacting you as a loyal member of HomeforExchange.com to offer you a special discount if you choose to renew your membership early.
    In addition to continuing with your membership you can receive a discount on longer term memberships. You will receive 15% off a two year membership or 20% off a three year membership:
    For 2 years you would pay US$169
    For 3 years you would pay US$239

    We’re also pleased to announce some exciting new membership benefits! If you renew today, you will receive 3 months extra free on your membership, plus 2 VIP Airport Lounge passes for swaps booked through us.
    All you need to do is log in to your HomeForExchange account and use the “My Renewal” link. Please note that this offer is only available for the 2 year or 3 year renewal options.
    Please do let me know when you have processed this and I can add the extra benefits to your membership, or if you would prefer I can give you a call to organise this over the phone. Best wishes, Sean Marslin”

    • Hi Suzanne, so glad you think the site is useful! I’ve seen offers like this from other networks, giving a discount for committing to extra years of membership. And I’ve noticed a few networks offering lounge passes as well. You can get lounge access for free with lots of credit cards so I don’t value that at all. But the discount for longer term membership is nice if you’re planning to continue house swapping in the coming years. Just be sure this is the network you want to stay with long term before taking the discount.

    • I’m probably a bit late but I’ll add a comment anyway.
      I’ve set up a new home swap site with the difference that users can set up private networks if they like (or not, if they don’t): People Like Us, https://peoplelikeus.world.
      As an opening special, we’re giving the first few signups “free forever” access if you register and list your home (you must list your home).
      We’re not nearly as big as the others but we’ll get there, and “free” is a pretty good deal. 🙂
      People Like Us

      • Hey Drew: when was People Like Us founded? I want to add it to my database and also write up a review and I don’t see this info on the website. (Email me at sharevoyager at gmail so I can ask you some more questions please!)

        • Hi Dawn,

          Just realised that while I did email you, I didn’t leave a reply here for others to see.

          People Like Us Home Swap (https://peoplelikeus.world) is new this year and we’ve already grown quite well but of course it takes time to build up a network. We’ve taken the approach that while we’ll no doubt need to add a paid tier in future, our early adopters will be “free forever” so there’s an offer once you sign up to claim that deal.

          Happy to answer any other questions you (or others) have.


  • Hi its interesting how you say that housesitting is not a common option? It’s a high search term and there are hundreds of thousands of people registered on housesitting sites!!

    • You are right Dorene, housesitting is quite popular on house sitting networks. But this is a review of home exchange networks. People who join these networks don’t generally do it for house sitting. So that’s not a common option to see offered on house swap websites.

  • Hi ,
    Just want to add to Dawn’s comment about the sites which offer direct exchanges rather than points being not as good if you have a vscation home rather than your main home. I think it depends on how popular your location is.
    For example when we looked for exchanges from our Paris second Home base we found many people from both Homelink and Homeexchange happy to give us their main home either going to family or friends or their own holiday at the nonsimultaneous time we wanted to come. And even if we banked for several years we found lovely people still willing to accommodate us.
    If you do a lot of exchanges as we do there are occasionally banked exchanges that you may lose or never get to. We just accept that as part of the otherwise fantastic opportunities and experience of Home exchanging.

    • This is a good point Peter, and I agree it’s possible for people to game these points systems. At least for their first stay. But on the other hand, if the system isn’t seeded with some points, there will never be swaps (for instance, the HomeExchange.com balloon system, which was recently launched, had to give out some balloons to get it started.) The trick is striking a balance between getting new people engaged and ensuring that people really do make their places available for swap. I haven’t yet seen evidence that there is a problem of less and less availability on Guest to Guest. If anything my success rate finding swaps on there has gone up over the past three years. But you’re right this is a potential problem. And I’m only one person so don’t take that as general data on their success rate.

      I also want to point out that I haven’t found a network where you don’t have to put in at least 15 requests (on average) to find a positive result. Even if you’re willing to go anywhere at anytime, there are other factors that might make your home, in your city, not be a good fit for the family with whom you’re requesting a swap. If you know of a network that has a higher success rate for requests I think that would be of interest to everyone! Of course I’ve had the lucky experience of finding a match on my first request, but that’s not typical on any of the networks I use. And I find I have better odds on the points-based networks than the ones that do simultaneous/non-simultaneous swaps without points just because the later is far more restrictive by requiring the other person to want to visit my home/city.

  • Thank you so much for taking the time and care to put this together. Very new to this concept and want to know the best way to maximize exposure of our house swap? We live near Disney in Florida and have a detached house, with 4 bedrooms and a pool in a gated beautiful and safe gated community. We would love a long term swap in Brighton England, but are not sure with websites would let us put in those specific parameters? Any ideas?

  • I just want to add a site that I think worthy being in the top 4 and that is Lovehomeswap. Their points system is better in my opinion than Gueat to Guest as it leaves it to the host to define their points as does the highly successful AirBNB.
    It is also incorrect to state that Guest to guest is free. It charges when you book rather than having an annual fee.

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion on these two points-based networks. To clarify a few things: On Guest to Guest members can adjust their points within a limited range (see my post on this here: https://sharetraveler.com/new-guestpoints-calculation-guest-guest/). Also it is definitely not true that Guest to Guest charges you when you book a swap. It is entirely free to join and to book. But you can pay G2G for insurance, which your host may require for a non-simultaneous exchange. This is something that both members of the exchange should discuss before finalizing the swap. You might be confusing this with a booking fee, but I have successfully negotiated with exchange partners on G2G to drop this insurance and had completely free exchanges as a result.

  • I’m very interested in joining one of these networks but I rent my home. Also, it’s just an “average” home; nothing special or fancy. Are these networks geared more towards high end homes? And assuming my landlord is ok with it, does it matter to these sites if I own or not? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Dana, you can definitely join with a rental! And lots of people exchange average homes so I would worry about that. Just be honest in your listing in describing what you’re offering.

    • I can speak from the point of view of my site, People Like Us.

      I set it up for all sorts. I figured that different people would want different things and that there would be something for everyone. I find that location is at least as important as the home as people on holidays usually want to be close to things (or away from everything!) but my observation is that people generally take into account what they’re swapping when they swap i.e. if they’re swapping something that’s in the burbs, they’ll be more accepting of similar on the other side.

      One member said to me recently that, because they’re out in a country town they plan well in advance as it’s not so popular as being in the middle of Paris.

      It is certainly the case that the fancier homes have more views (you can see the number of views on the site) but not necessarily more actual visits. Pushing your own listing amongst your friend networks (e.g. on Facebook), and asking your friends to do the same helps a lot.

      I’d advise though that you should present your home as nicely as possible for the photos, like you were doing so for selling it. Clean well, put some flowers out, mow the lawn. High quality photos make all the difference (and being really descriptive helps too!)

    • I didn’t address the “rental” part: I don’t see that there’s any problem at all or even any difference as long as it’s ok with your tenancy agreement. Just check it carefully, speak to the landlord and get to know the swapping party well before you swap (always).

  • HI Dawn,
    I have a high end home in Southern California 2 miles from the beach and in a very desirable location. I am interested in doing a home exchange with only other high end beach location properties… specifically Costa Rica or Central America. Is there a site you recommend for what we are looking for or should I just start looking. Just feeling very overwhelmed by this process!
    Thank you for all the work you have put into this!!

    • Hi Julie, it sounds like you should be able to find lots of good home exchanges with your Southern California home. I don’t know of any networks focused on Central America, but there seem to be a lot of folks with vacation homes in places like Costa Rica on house swap networks. My suggestion is that you start by doing some searches for homes in places you want to visit on multiple networks. You don’t have to join to do this. Keep track of how many you find, and use that to guide which ones will be the best fit for you. For instance, I did a quick search on GuesttoGuest and found 68 properties in Costa Rica (with >80% response rate). That’s pretty good but you might do better on other networks. You can reference my spreadsheet (https://sharetraveler.com/home-exchange/house-swapping-sortable-tables/) for quick list of networks to search. Best of luck!

  • Thanks for sharing this information about Home exchange. It’s really interesting. We are also provide the best Holiday Apartment Rental in India at cheapest price. So keep posting…

  • HI Dawn. I just did a search for Guest to Guest and was taken to Home Exchange. It seems it’s been bought out. I’m guessing there are not free sites then if this is gone?

    • Hi Heidi, yes Guest to Guest and HomeExchange.com have merged. But HE still offers a free membership option, although it’s not really free since you have to pay per day for the exchanges. There are, however, a number of networks that do offer totally free home exchange. Check out my spreadsheet here: https://sharetraveler.com/houseswap-spreadsheet/. There’s a column for cost so you can filter on “free” in there.

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