What is House Swap

A house swap is a practice in which the owners of a home allow the use of that property in exchange for the use of another party's home. A house swap does not involve the sale of a home; rather, it allows a homeowner to borrow someone else's home. It can be some on a temporary or semi-permanent basis. House swaps typically involve an exchange in property use for the purpose of vacation. They are also options for homeowners who need to relocate due to a change in job but are unable to sell their home due to a depressed housing market.


A house swap may be an informal or a formal agreement. There are many websites and online vendors, for example, that allow for the facilitation of formal house swaps. Using a website or a third-party facilitator has many advantages, such as ensuring that standards and safety are met. Using a house swap site may allow prospective occupants to see a house before they swap, read reviews of the house in regards to their destination preferences. For example, the house may be near a beach, is ideal for families or pets, etc., or hear from others who have stayed in the house before them.

A third-party organization may also be helpful in ensuring safety measures are in place in the event that occupation is at risk in the area, especially if he or she will be occupying the house alone. The formal house swap might also allow for any issues that occur during the stay, such as if there is an emergency, or after, if the house accrues any damage or necessary cleaning fees. The third-party facilitator will generally have a policy in place that will hold as a contract so the original owner of the home is not left with paying for house damage or substantial cleaning fees necessitated when the occupant was staying in the home. However, using a third-party site as opposed to the informal swap agreement could have fees associated with its use as well.

Example of a house swap

Homeowners who do not want to give up a piece of property but wish to stay in another area may enter into a house swap agreement. For example, the owner of a condo in Miami may enter into a house swap agreement with the owner of a home in Denver. The Miami homeowner may like to ski in the winter, while the Denver homeowner may like to visit the beach in the winter.