Home Around the World Home Swap FAQ
1 Why should I join Home Around the World?
2 I am not gay, can I join?
3 What is a Profile?
4 Can I swap my home if I am not a member?
5 Why don’t you offer a free home swap service?
6 Once I’ve joined and paid my membership fee are there any further charges?
7 What types of homes do you offer?
8 How up to date are your listings? This is important to know.
9 Can I edit my listing?
10 Do I need a photograph?
11 What if I can't upload photographs?
12 Do I need a credit card to sign up?
13 Is your site secure?
14 Will my name and address appear online?
15 I am anxious about the privacy of the information I provide. I hate spam.
16 What shall I do if my email address changes?
17 Can I offer rental accommodation?
18 How can I find out more about HATW and home exchange?
General Home Swap FAQ (for virgin home swappers)
19 What is Home Exchange?
20 I’ve never heard of home exchange before. Is it new?
21 What is the difference between a home exchange and a hospitality exchange?
22 Why do people exchange homes?
23 Will anyone want my home?
24 Will I save a lot of money by home exchanging?
25 How do I arrange an exchange?
26 Can I exchange my car and even my gym membership?
27 If I am a guest in someone’s home, will they show me around?
28 Should I be nervous about leaving my home to people I have never met?
29 I have expensive computer equipment and other valuable items in my home. Do I have to leave everything for my exchange partner to use?
30 What if there are any problems in my absence?
31 What about my pets?
32 What about insurance?
33 Who pays the bills?
34 It all sounds so easy. Shouldn’t I have some sort of formal agreement?
35 What shall I do if I have more questions?
Home Around the World Home Swap FAQ
Why should I join Home Around the World?
Based in London, HATW is very fortunate in attracting not only many European members but also a diversity of members from the USA and all around the world. Most gay people are delighted to have the opportunity to trade homes with other gay people, so it makes sense to use a specialist gay service.
I am not gay, can I join?
"We are a heterosexual couple without children, looking to exchange with another home swappers who value design, architecture and diverse culture, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. You have so many AMAZING listings that perfectly suit our criteria and we feel confident our home would prove an asset to the HATW exchange community. We have many gay friends who have directed us to this site as an ideal home exchange venue. As heterosexuals owners of an extremely gay-friendly property in a desirable neighborhood, may we list our home on the site...?" Members in Los Angeles, Nov 14
The answer is Yes.
Although Home Around the World will always be primarily a gay home exchange site, times and attitudes have changed so much in recent years that today we actively encourage “gay-friendly” home swappers who are interested in joining our network and welcoming our gay members into their homes.
What is a Profile?
Your Profile is your opportunity to tell our members all about you, your family composition and your holiday likes, preferences and what you are looking for. This is your opportunity to put yourself in the spotlight. Upload some personal or holiday images ... this is about YOU, not your home or property.
Can I swap my home if I am not a member?
No. Home exchange is a reciprocal arrangement between members who pay a nominal annual membership fee to advertise their own property as a home exchange on the Home Around the World website. This protects the privacy and security of our members who arrange to swap only with other members.
Why don’t you offer a free home swap service?
It’s about your security. It is possible to discover free sites on the net where people list their homes. But an open system, whereby your contact information is openly available on the Internet is very risky and not to be encouraged.
An important aspect of any home swap website is that the members engage in home swaps in the safety and security that they are exchanging homes with other paying members who are more committed to the concept and are prepared to spend more time and effort in arranging the ideal swap. Trust is a key to the success of a home swap arrangement and the knowledge that exchange arrangements operate within a closed membership facilitates this trust. Our members swap homes secure in the comfort that they are exchanging their home with another member. And if anything does go wrong, (and in our experience it doesn’t) HATW will be here to help you sort it out.
Once I’ve joined and paid my membership fee are there any further charges?
No. You pay a non-recurring annual fee and can arrange an unlimited number of exchanges during your membership period. Some members arrange short breaks close to home in addition to longer vacations abroad. A lot of our members are able to set up exchanges for the year ahead as well.
What types of homes do you offer?
Most HATW members offer their apartments or houses for exchange and some offer their second homes. There is no reason why exchanges cannot include villas, cabins, caravans, boats, ski chalets and beach houses – in fact any kind of holiday accommodation.
How up to date are your listings? This is important to know.
All our listings show live and active members and listings that are not renewed are automatically hidden from view. Each listing clearly shows the joining and expiry dates, so you can be assured that all our listings are live and up-to-date. Before joining, visitors are able to search all our listings to view our membership database including recent new and renewed memberships. All new and renewed listings are also featured in our monthly newsletters.
Can I edit my listing?
Yes. When you become a member, you can view and edit your listing, add photographs, purchase a second listing, and renew your listing from your Dashboard. If you move home and wish to continue to use our service, simply edit your listing, altering the address fields on the form and your listing will automatically slot into its new location.
Do I need a photograph?
Yes. We actively encourage you to upload an unlimited number of home, area and personal photographs, allowing you scope to show your home and location to the best advantage. Your photos are one of your strongest marketing tools and always encourage other members to contact you.
What if I can't upload photographs?
It's easy. You can upload an unlimited number of images during the sign up process or after you have published your property listing. Alternatively, simply email us the .jpg attachments and we will be delighted to upload for you.
Do I need a credit card to sign up?
No. You do not need to use a credit card to list your home, although 99% of our members find it quicker and more convenient to use our secure server. We also offer PayPal. If you would prefer to send payment by other means, Contact us and we will provide you with details.
Is your site secure?
Yes. Your security is important to us. Our card and Paypal processing agent in the UK, is Braintree Payments and their effective encryption technology, encrypts both your credit card number and all your contact information as it travels through the Internet, making your on-line payments both simple and secure. The benefit is that you can join on-line in confidence. Your payment will appear on your credit card statement as: Home Around the World London. Braintree is a subsidiary of PayPal.
Will my name and address appear online?
We value our members’ privacy and your contact information is kept private until you decide to share it with other members. Visitors to the site see your listing, but are unable to message you without a membership.
All HATW members make initial contact via the website and you may use the site to continue contact with each other if you wish. Our unique, custom designed messaging system allows you to read, reply, store and archive your messages. You are free to exchange your own personal email address at any point during the correspondence and as you are in control of when and to whom you release your personal contact information, your contact confidentiality is always assured.
I am anxious about the privacy of the information I provide. I hate spam.
What shall I do if my email address changes?
It is your responsibility to maintain accurate contact information on the site, so that members’ email messages can be forwarded to you. If you edit your own contact information, don't forget to also tell us of your new details and we will update our own newsletter database, so you will be able to continue to receive bi-monthly HATW newsletters.
Can I offer rental accommodation?
Yes you can. Many of our members have additional listings to advertise second homes as rentals or exchanges.
How can I find out more about HATW and home exchange?
Read the useful and informative The Essential Guide, which will guide you step by step through the home exchange process. If you have any questions not covered in the FAQ or Guide, please do not hesitate to contact us.
General Home Exchange FAQ (for virgin home swappers)
What is home exchange?
Home exchange is a reciprocal arrangement whereby exchange partners stay in each other’s homes in the same country or abroad for an agreed period and at a time convenient to both. Homes do not have to be the same type or offer the same comforts or facilities. All that matters is that both exchangers are happy with the arrangements they have made.
Some exchangers manage to arrange to meet each other for one night and some exchangers never meet, although all exchangers will have spent some time getting to know each other through emails and phone calls. Only when a firm friendship based on mutual trust has developed will both parties plan to exchange their homes.
I’ve never heard about home exchange before. Is it new?
Home swapping has been a popular and affordable vacation option for over fifty years and has really taken off over the last ten years, due to the power of the Internet. Traditionally popular with families, there are an ever-increasing number of mainstream home exchange agencies, based in Europe and the USA.
Home Around the World is proud to bring the traditional home exchange concept to gay people and our gay friendly friends.
What is the difference between a home exchange and a hospitality exchange?
A home exchange is a direct exchange of homes. Your exchange partner stays in your home, while you vacation in theirs.
A hospitality exchange is an indirect exchange of homes. You stay with your exchanger, who hosts you in their home. Your exchange is “banked” until a future date when you return the favour. This way, you each receive free accommodation and you also get to enjoy each other’s company. You spend as much or as little time as you wish together. This is often an ideal way for single people to travel and for people new to the world of home exchange to “test the waters”.
Why do people exchange homes?
Here are the top 5 reasons:
- Save ~ Save money on hotel, restaurant, laundry and even car hire bills.
- Relax ~ Enjoy the relaxing pace of a Home Around the World holiday. Stay out late? Get up late! Be in charge of your own time.
- Security ~ Your home isn’t left vacant whilst you travel. Because you know your home is more secure, you’ll feel more secure.
- Experience ~ Live in another country and experience new cultures. Thinking about relocating? Gain an insider’s perspective on an area.
- Friendships ~ Friendships can arise naturally from sharing your home with others.
Will anyone want my home?
Our members are more interested in the location of your home, than your home itself. Your home acts as a base to explore the city or the area in which you live.
Homes with photographs and which offer more amenities in popular gay-tourist locations like San Francisco or London, for example, will naturally attract more interest. There are no hard and fast rules however. People are different.
Rural homes are also of interest to members who may be eager to escape the hustle and bustle of the city-scene for a while.
As we say in the ESSENTIAL GUIDE, “Never underestimate the value of your own home. There’s always someone out there who may be looking for exactly what you are offering.”
Will I save a lot of money by home exchanging?
Yes. Lots! Think about it. There are no more hotel, restaurant and even car hire and laundry bills. Shopping for food in another country becomes part of the fun if you decide not to eat out every evening. Your only major expense will be your return ticket.
How do I arrange an exchange?
It’s simple. Browse the listings and once you join HATW email those members whose listings are of interest to you. Introduce yourself and ask if they might be interested in an exchange with you at some time in the future. And that’s when the fun starts. Don’t forget that other members will read your listing and will also be contacting you!
The The Essential Guide explains all and even provides sample letters to help you.
Can I exchange my car and even my gym membership?
Yes. Many members offer the use of their car or bicycles when exchanging homes. However, we recommend that you have a formal contract as a safeguard, should any problems occur.
Read about Car Exchanging and for added security, download our Car Exchange Agreement Form. Some HATW members, who like to keep fit while they are on holiday, even swap their gym memberships. Be creative! Why not ask your local gym if they can arrange this for you?
If I am a guest in someone’s home, will they show me around?
They may or they may not. There are no set rules. Most hosts simply offer a bedroom and you are free to come and go as you please. If a friendship develops you may of course decide to do things together, but don’t assume it is your host’s duty to entertain you.
As you and your host communicate together, you will be able to make the arrangements that suit both of you.
Should I be nervous about leaving my home to people I have never met?
It is natural to be hesitant but in reality the only problem people occasionally encounter is a difference in housekeeping standards. The majority of our members are professional people with high standards. Don’t forget, they haven’t met you either and will have the same anxieties about you!
You will discover most exchangers take even greater care of your home than their own and will invariably leave your home cleaner than they found on arrival. And you know house-proud gay people are reputed to be!
Don’t forget that by the time your exchange takes place you will already have spent time getting to know the HATW member you will be exchanging with, so you should feel happy that you are leaving your home in good hands. Some exchangers arrange an overlap so that they have the chance to meet at the beginning of their vacation.
HATW takes your concerns seriously and if you have any grounds for complaint against another member, we would like to hear about it.
I have expensive computer equipment and other valuable items in my home. Do I have to leave everything for my exchange partner to use?
No. It is perfectly acceptable to tell your exchange partner about any items that are “out of bounds” or even better, put them safely in a cupboard or a spare room. It is expected that your domestic appliances will be available for use, with instructions left on how to use them. There are no set rules – you decide what feels right for you.
What if there are any problems in my absence?
For added peace of mind, why not ask a good friend or neighbour who lives nearby to assist, should your exchanger require advice about your home or the neighbourhood? Your friend could also be responsible for welcoming your exchanger at the airport and/or handing over the keys to your home.
What about my pets?
If you have pets, always check that your exchange partner is comfortable about looking after your pet, as you may need to make alternative arrangements for their welfare.
However, many people really enjoy looking after their exchange partner’s pets, and if you discover this is the case then a home exchange vacation may be the perfect choice for you!
Whether fish or ferret, our pets are part of our lives, no matter where we are in the world. By exchanging with someone who loves their pet, just like you, you are spared the anxiety of wondering how they are coping in your absence. And on your return you’ll discover they coped very well without you. Read about Caring for pets in The Essential Guide
What about insurance?
You should inform your home insurance company that you are leaving your home in the care of non-paying guests, as insurance companies prefer your home to be left occupied at all times. And rather than worry about people you have never met living in your home, just consider the added security you now have knowing someone is caring for your home in your absence. Read about Arranging insurance in The Essential Guide
Who pays the bills?
Most people who exchange homes continue paying their own bills, with the possible exception of the phone bill, which can easily be itemised for the exchange period.
It all sounds so easy. Shouldn’t I have some sort of formal agreement?
Some HATW members take comfort in drawing up an agreement, which should be signed by both parties, prior to an exchange. An agreement should summarise all the issues you have dealt with in your correspondence. This is of particular use if you are exchanging your car.
HATW provides you with agreement forms, which you can adapt for your own use.
We also suggest you email us a copy of your agreement.
What shall I do if I have more questions?
Answers to these questions, and more, are provided in The Essential Guide, which is online for all to read.
Swapping your home is undeniably based on mutual trust and HATW members have always shown immense care and respect for each other’s homes and property.
If you have more questions or are looking for advice or help, please feel free to contact HATW by email:contact us.