Long-term house swapping
Until very recently, if you Googled “house swapping,” you’d generally uncover sites such as HomeLink and Intervac: organizations that focus on helping vacationers switch homes for a few weeks at a time.
Lately, however, I’ve been hearing about more people arranging longer exchanges. Swaps of six months to a year have long been a small niche of the home exchange industry, but they appealed mainly to professors, who connected on specialized sites such as Sabbatical Homes. Now, according to the Shelter Offshore blog, more people are considering long-term swaps as a way to “test out” a foreign country for a year or so before buying property abroad.
Probably due to the upheaval in the worldwide economy, particularly in the real estate industry, a growing number of people also appear to be swapping homes permanently. The legalities of such a large-scale barter deal must be complex, to put it mildly. However, at least one social networking site, Domuswap, has popped up to help people do permanent trades.