I often chat to people about owning property abroad. Personally it’s not something that attracts me, because I like to experience new sights, sounds and culture when I am on holiday, and so the appeal of visiting the same place over and over is a bit dull.
But if you are one of the millions of Brits every year that would love to own a property abroad as a holiday home I wonder if you would consider doing a few house swaps first? House swapping fascinates me as a concept, and it can be a great way to get to know a new country or area without the worry and expense of owning one.

Now, it’s not all about just holiday swapping either many people worldwide are now doing permanent house exchanges. If you are in a financial jam and unable to sell your house due to current market conditions then a permanent property exchange could be for you. There are possibilities to upsize, downsize or just exchange for one in a different area if your work or personal circumstances are dictating a move.If you are wanting to upgrade to a higher value property then you must arrange finance to cover the difference in value when exchanging, as you would when buying.

You can find lots of information on forums and other web sites about both holiday exchanges and permanent ones. House exchange is a growing trend both here and abroad. To clarify “home exchange” means the permanent transfer of title to properties, between two or more parties, in the same context as “exchange and completion” in the traditional sell and buy process. Effectively, it’s a sale without the agent.

Home swapping, on the other hand is more of a “loan” process, where the property is handed back after an agreed period.

9 Tips For Successful Exchange

  1. Get proper surveys or legal advice regarding the ‘exchange sale’ logistics.
  2. Get 3 independent valuations and take the mean price for the advertisement of your property.
  3. Include lots of pictures, it really does help others understand your property.
  4. Don’t exaggerate the virtues of your property, be honest with the description.
  5. Understand the area you plan to move to, get to know the good and bad parts.
  6. Keep all written valuations and evidence of transactions between yourself and the other party.
  7. When exchanging to another country, you should take advice in both countries or consult a solicitor who is familiar with with the property laws in the country you are planning to move to.
  8. Be sure that the other party owns legal title to sell the house they are advertising.
  9. You and the other owner will need to agree on the value of both properties for exchange to go ahead.

If the value of the two properties is not equal you will both need to legally agree on the valuations of your respective properties. Then the person with the lower valuation pays the other party the difference, just as they would with a regular hoe sale. At the point of exchange you are no longer able to change your mind and pull out of the deal. The rules are much the same as a normal sale, you are merely cutting out the middle man and all the fees associated with that.

Roberta WardOur ethos is to help people to really understand property investing without all the guff and marketing hype and bias. We are proud to be wholly independent and ethical. No nonsense advice about tax, pensions, property investment and finance via our blogs and social media channels.
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