The Value Of Home Exchange Websites

01.08.16

“True love is like a pair of socks. You’ve gotta have two and they’ve gotta match.” Anon

Billed as the ‘match making’ service for bricks and mortar, home exchange websites offer an on-line meeting point for homeowners looking to advertise their property, find a suitable match and do a swap. The benefits are clear – you not only cut out the middleman, but you also avoid hefty agency fees. Successful swapping does, however, require an open-minded approach and a degree of compromise on the house spec and location.

To maximise your chances of finding a match – spread your net as wide as you can by registering with several of the main sites including www.easyhouseexchange.com, www.ukhomeswap.co.uk, and www.houseexchange.org.uk. Most offer a fixed fee for a three-month subscription. Full details of your property are required together with a description of the type of home you’re looking for, price range and preferred locations. The database will then automatically search for suitable matches. If a suitable swap comes up – vendor and buyer can contact one another via the site and arrange viewings. If both parties are happy with what they see, you’ll be left to continue the process independently with the swap unfolding like a standard real estate transaction.

While home exchange certainly cuts down on the expense of using intermediaries, it doesn’t exempt you from any of the usual fees or taxes including conveyancing, stamp duty and having a HIP produced. Before you make an offer, speak to local agents and confirm market values of similar properties in the area. Have a survey done and visit the property at least twice before going ahead. In a case where there’s a price differential between the two homes, this can usually be met with either a cash payment, or by new finance from a mortgage lender. Many lenders will also allow a transfer of your mortgage from your old property to your new one, subject to a satisfactory valuation.

Bottom Line: Home exchange is unlikely to find you the perfect house match – but for buyers willing to take a gamble, you just might uncover a gem.

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