While we know that the majority of you use HomeSwapper well, we recently spoke with a swapper who told us that there are a few users out there who aren’t quite following the rules. So, we wanted to remind everyone how to best use HomeSwapper with a quick guide of the most important rules (and some general best practice too).
Some people may offer you cash incentives to move a swap along. This might take the form of paying for your moving costs or a lump sum of money to secure a swap with you. Although it may sound attractive, any deals such as these are illegal and could result in you being banned from using the service, or in some cases even getting evicted. This is a serious breach, as nobody should be bribing his or her way to a swap, and it definitely isn’t worth the risk if it were discovered. If somebody offers you a cash incentive please report them to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org so we can make our community fair for everybody to use.
New photo guidelines
Your advert and the photos that go along with it are the most important part of the swapping process and it’s really important to get it right. Whilst trying to snap a realistic and attractive image of your home, please be vigilant about your photographs. We’ve recently updated our photo guidelines to make sure that everyone is staying safe and secure. The new guidelines are:
Make sure there are no unique identifying features; these could be flat numbers, street names or car registration numbers in your photographs. Another important change is that we ask that you don’t have any children under 18 in your photos. As a general rule of thumb, it is also a good idea to have no pictures of people in your HomeSwapper advert.
Have a read of our guide for taking and uploading photos here.
Give a realistic description of your home
When filling out the details of your home, be honest! It will save you and other swappers a lot of time and disappointment in the long run if your advert shows a realistic version of the home you’re offering.
Messaging other users
Respond to all messages. One of the biggest complaints we have from swappers is of ‘timewasters’ or people who don’t reply. Because of this, if you don’t reply to all your messages over a period of 3 months, you will no longer be able to arrange or accept swaps until that has been done. Any messages that need replying to will show in red to make it easy to identify them – but it really is much easier to reply as soon as the message appears in your inbox! Even if you are not interested in proposals or have found other matches that better suit your needs, just let the other swapper know.
If somebody contacts you but you’re not interested in their home, be polite and offer a simple ‘no, thank you’. Niceness really does go a long way and you don’t want to be hurting other swapper’s feelings for no reason. Equally, if you receive unpleasant messages, you can find a button allowing you to block another user within the Messages section of your HomeSwapper account.
Not against the rules: Refusing a swap
It can be very frustrating if you put a lot of effort into arranging a swap and then it falls apart at the last minute, however it is not against our terms and conditions or the law. Swaps can fall apart for a lot of reasons and you never know what is going on in someone else’s life, so try to be understanding if this happens.
Whether it’s a direct swap or a MultiSwap, to legally complete your exchange the final step you have to take is to have yourself and all other tenants involved sign a ‘Deed of Assignment’. This is a legal document, which puts your name officially on the tenancy of your new home. Up until this point you have the right to pull out of a swap, as do the other swappers you are planning the exchange with. If you would like to read more about your rights around refusing a swap you can on our blog here.
Generally speaking, keeping yourself safe and respecting other users are the two main rules for Homeswapper. You’re sure not to go wrong if you stick to these two! Good luck swapping!
The HomeSwapper Customer Support team are always on hand to give advice and tips on how to get the most from HomeSwapper. They deal with Swappers every day and have a unique insight and view on the thousands of successful swaps that take place on HomeSwapper.