homelink.org

Founded in 1953

$95/yr (variable pricing by country up to $153 USD equivalent in New Zealand and down to $63 in Turkey)

30 day free trial

Originally a paper-based swap service founded by a man focused on swaps for teachers in the U.S. and a woman focused on swaps for armed service people in the UK.

HomeLink12 languages with country-specific customer service for 27 countries

9000 listings

Listings by region:

  • Australasia: 500
  • North America:  2000
  • Europe: 6000

These listing counts were provided to me by Homelink. The numbers have held steady for the past several years.

Homelink has a unique structure with independent country owners but a centralized website. You can read more about how this network operates in my interview with two of the Homelink country owners earlier this year.

Searching: The search interface was expanded this year. A lot of new filters are available. And while it’s still pretty intuitive to use, I think they might have gone overboard with the filters. In the location section, for instance, I can’t imagine a lot of people are looking to filter on homes that are near the opera. But, putting aside the clutter of so many filters, the search has all the essential features, with options to enter desired destination, number of travelers, and dates to travel.

The resulting page displays on a map as well as a list of homes with a picture and some basic information about the homes. On the map you can select a specific geographic area by clicking on the listings clustered there. Dynamic searching is also possible within the map.

Listings: Individual listings have extensive details about the homes, in a nicely displayed format. Listings feature the renewal date for the member. This is a really great feature from Homelink because it provides clear assurance that all listing are only from active members.

This network 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.
  • housesitting
  • hospitality exchange – this allows people with extra space in their house to host visitors in exchange for being hosted themselves at some other date.
  • youth exchange – you send your child to stay with another family and in return you host their child

Site Design: Overall the site is easy to use and responsive. I’m not a member of this network so I don’t have much experience beyond playing around with the free searches.

Additional features: The network offers an email system for contacting other members. This year they also optimized the website for mobile users and made some other updates to improve usability for members.

Homelink offers personal customer service representatives in each country. This is a popular site for experienced home exchangers. They have been around for a long time and have a very good reputation. I have found the country leaders to be passionate, helpful, and very honest. This is a great combination for folks running home exchange networks.

If you’re trying to figure out which one to join, check out my reviews of all the major home exchange networks.