Home Exchange website can no longer be ignored!

Home Exchange website can no longer be ignored! from eDomicile

By: eDomicile  19/11/2008
Keywords: real estate, property, home exchange

  There isn’t a day that goes past in the UK when the TV and papers don’t contain some gloomy news on the economy and words like recession, negative equity and now even deflation are in frequent use. If memory serves, it all started with a glitch in the housing market in USA and we all found out that the Banks had been lending money to people who could not really afford to pay. The sub-prime market. Well, the bubble inevitably burst! The problem quickly spread to UK and the rest of the world and the underlying issues which started it all have now grown into a major international problem.

‘Not for us’, we say! Why do we suffer for the errors that the number crunchers in countless offices of the financial institutions of the world make? The problem was never of our making but we are the ones now left with some major problems. What happens now if we want to sell our house?

The housing market in the UK is extremely quiet. Mortgages are hard to come by and people are worried about rocking the boat with their existing mortgage for fear that the banks may change something. Keep your heads down, that’s the best policy! Our own little survey carried out in Cardiff last week revealed a staggering drop in ‘For Sale’ boards. True, it was not that scientific and probably not even that accurate but it does show a staggering drop in the number of houses for sale. Indeed, the For Sale board is a very rare sight where once there were many, the inevitable consequence of an affluent society.

People will still need to move house but with no houses for sale, what can be done about it? Home Exchange is surely the answer! There has been a clutch of websites springing up to offer people the chance to list their homes for exchange. These are not houses for sale in the usual way and nor are they social house exchanges nor holiday swaps or timeshares. These are proper homes where the owner would like to EXCHANGE one house for another. Sounds a bit incredible at first but it’s really very simple and is, in effect, a buy/sell arrangement without all the middlemen.

More of the details later but put very simply the process works like this: 1. List your house, 2. Find another house that you like, 3. Agree the price difference between the two houses and 4. Tell your solicitor. That’s it in a nutshell. You will notice that Estate Agents were not mentioned! That means the savings on their fees alone (plus the VAT) would make this worth give a try.

An article like this would not be complete without explaining the downside. Home exchanging for homeowners is still very young and the choice of homes available is very small. It’s also very much a PYOP (Promote Your Own Property) way of doing it so the details about the house are usually done by the homeowner filling in a form on the website.  All photographs of the house must also be taken and added to the site.

Most websites realise that getting these sites up and running with a good stock of houses will be difficult so most of them are offering FREE listings to get things going. eDomicile is one such site and they can be found at www.e-domicile.com. In fact, eDomicile first came up with the idea of Home Exchanges for homeowners as far back as 2006 but the housing market was not right for such a radical idea at the time. The problem now is the same as it was then; how to get the message out there. Once that is solved then Home Exchanges will be as commonplace as house sales are now. You read it here first!

There are other attractions to Home Exchange too. Already mentioned is the considerable savings on estate agents fees but there are also no chains. The only other person involved is the person in the other  house. It is entirely possible that there could be 3 way exchanges but, even then, that only means a chain of 3 and could be easily handled.

Perhaps the time really is right for home exchanges to make their mark once again. There are so few options remaining open to homeowners so home exchange websites can no longer be ignored as a viable alternative when moving home. Give it a try. There is nothing to lose and a lot to gain.  
John LeMasonry

Keywords: home exchange, house swap, property, real estate