Good communication is the foundation of every successful home swap. Follow these simple steps to improve yours:
1. A Good Start
Your communication with a potential exchange partner starts with the first message you send, or by a reply to their inquiry. If you are the one sending the inquiry remember to make it personal. It's always good to address your potential partner(s) by name(s) and briefly introduce yourself and your traveling group. No matter how many Members you contact it is essential to read their Listing and Profile pages first.
In this initial contact, you can exchange general information about your home, city, car and other aspects of the exchange. Then if all goes well, you can follow up with a more detailed fact sheet with details about you and your family, home amenities like swimming pools and potential responsibilities, like plant and pet care. But act fast, as there may be other Members looking at the same home!
2. Use the Tools at Your Hand—Profiles, Verifications, Guestbook Reviews...
We've built many great tools to help you get to know your home swap partners. Their Profile page will ideally consist of all sorts of useful info; how many people are planning to come on the exchange, if there are kids coming along and what age they are, which languages they speak, etc. If your partners didn't fill out their Profile page, you can always ask them to add more information. Make sure to check out Guestbook Reviews to find out about your potential exchange partner's exchange experiences.
This is also the perfect time to discuss logistics:
- How will the key exchange work?
- Who will be your partners’ local contacts?
- Any tips on transportation from the airport?
The more you discuss, the less chance of any misunderstandings developing, and the more comfortable you will feel with your exchange partner. You could even prepare a list of subjects before the conversation, and then feel free to take notes!
3. Arrange a Skype Call
A great way to have a real conversation with your exchange partner is by arranging a Skype Call. Skype is a free service, it's easy to use and very convenient. You can even use it to make a live video tour around your home.
4. What if We Don't Speak the Same Language?
With Members located around the globe, this may come up. Because the many details in a typical home exchange require clear communication, HomeExchange.com will soon be adding Google Translate to your messaging function. In the meantime, you can use it on your own by going to Google Translate and choosing between 71 languages.
Or do it the old-fashioned way by finding a friend or acquaintance who speaks both languages to translate. If you don’t know anyone who speaks your potential exchange partner’s language, you could contact a language school or the language department of a nearby university.