Thursday, August 15, 2002
More Bang for Your Buck: Trading Homes
Travel all over the world without paying for a hotel room. Sounds like a scam, but its not. It's an international home exchange program.
(WSVN) Children trade beenie babies and baseball cards.
Adults trade something a little more valuable like houses.
"When you exchange with someone they move into your home and in a way into your life. You share everything you have with them."
And we mean just about everything.
Get ready to open your doors to the newest way to see the world.
It's an internet program called home exchange dot com.
"You see the city in a different way than you would be able to if you were a tourist staying in a hotel."
Marea Edyank and her family have been "exchanging" their Florida Keys house for years.
Because of it, they've been to France, Italy, London and Spain.
Marea Edyank, a home exchanger, says "The first thing people think of is how much money they will save when they exchange and you do save quit a bit."
But for Marea its also the experience to live like a local.
"I think my favorite thing about home exchange is that you do just drop into somebody else's life and they tell you insider information: where to shop, where to eat, where to go."
The program itself costs only 50 dollars.
First you register your home with a picture, giving information such as location, amenities, and nearby attractions.
You may also want to put down other important facts such as allowing pets or smokers.
Then if someone is interested in your place they e-mail you to see if their home and dates for vacation match yours.
"I think I probably average 15 or 20 a week. So I get a lot of inqueries. South Florida has a lot to offer so its pretty popular."
The system however can be risky.
So if your house is a very, very fine house, you may want to consider writing a contract.
"Its sort of an honor system. A matter of faith in the other person and most people are much more careful of someone else's home than they are of their own."
Marea's never had any problems. She's even planning a trip to New Zealand this winter.
Plus she's had experiences that are absolutely priceless.
"There's a special advantage that people don't think of. You have relationships with people you wouldn't have been able to meet any other way."
Home exchange does over 10,000 successful exchanges a year.