Review date: September 2020
Founded in 2009 in New York by a couple who are French and Spanish. Now offices are based in Paris and Madrid.
English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and German
9,774 listings (4887 estimated active)
Sample listing count by region:
- United States: 874
- Europe: 7379
- Australia: 81
The network has grown by less than 50 members over the past two years. And because it’s possible to create an account and post a listing without paying, I’m not sure how many of these listings are active. I ran some searches for a few major cities and found that more than half the listings had no pictures. I’m using that as my proxy for active membership, though that might be generous since it’s easy enough to upload some pictures and still not pay for membership. I verified this number by searching for properties that have internet as an amenity. About half the listings drop off, and I suspect that’s because they haven’t bothered to fill in any amenities another indicator they aren’t really active listings.
Searching: Search starts with location and optionally dates and number of travelers. The results are displayed with pins on a map, alongside summary results for each home. The overview provides basic information about the listing. You can click into each one to view listing details. There are a variety of additional filters to add to your search to narrow the options. There is no filter by size of swap family nor is there a reverse search.
Listings: Home listings are displayed in a usable format, including a map of location, a summary, and details about each property. Overall information on the properties is more sparse than I see in other networks. And there is no indication of how active the members are.
This site offers the following variations on house swapping:
- simultaneous or non-simultaneous house swap – this is the traditional model where two parties swap houses for an agreed upon set of dates. 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.
- hospitality exchange – similar to a non-simultaneous house swap but done while the members are at home.
- couchsurfing – Members can “offer free temporary accommodation a member of Homeforswap who is travelling.” This means offering non-reciprocal hosted lodging.
Site design: Their display is relatively modern, and easy to navigate. After playing around with my test account and adding a property I got an email from HomeforSwap telling me there is a matching listing. I didn’t ask for emails or put in any desired destinations. And this “match” is a listing without pictures or much detail in Belgium, a place I did not even look at. I’m not sure if this is a bug or a misguided attempt to get members to be more active.
Privacy and security: Homes on this network are visible to anyone via the website. Including the exact address of the home. This should raise big alarm bells for anyone creating an account on HomeforSwap. I created a test listing and it immediately showed up on the first page of searches.
Additional features: Home for Swap has email functionality, reviews and all of the other standard offerings of a good home swap site including accommodation insurance and a house swap contract. HomeforSwap offers optional additional insurance that can be purchased with each exchange.