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Exchange Keys. Trade Dreams.

Exchange: Vacation/Fractional Properties vs. Primary/Full-time Homes

Our family began exchanging in 1999 when we arranged to trade our full-time home in Bend, Oregon with a family from Guadeloupe in the French West Indies. It was an incredible exchange and our families remain great friends as a result of the home exchange. Through 2004, we continued to exchange our primary home with other families.  By 2005, we decided we liked exchanging so much that we bought a second home in a highly desirable locale in Mexico, solely to use for exchanging (and rental).

Exchanging a primary (or full-time) home is sometimes a challenge.

First and foremost, unless you happen to live in a desirable area, you aren’t likely to receive many exchange offers. To add to the challenge, the home exchange likely has to be simultaneous, as both families occupy their primary homes year-round.

To top it off, let’s face it, our houses aren’t as organized in daily use as we’d like them to be and for our family, we’d embark on a cleaning/declutter campaign for a few weeks prior to the exchange to ensure that our home was clean and inviting for our exchange family (the cleaning/declutter isn’t necessarily a bad thing though!).

Pets are another issue to contend with.

In 2005, we purchased our second home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We bought the home sight-unseen with another family (they had seen it), solely due to the exchange potential.

The home qualified for trade within an exchange company known as The World’s Finest Resorts and that greatly appealed to us.  Also, Cabo’s ten-month rental “season” was attractive as well, as we would have a steady income stream from renting our beachfront property.

It took us almost a year until we visited our place, but we’d already exchanged it with TWFR (which later was purchased by RCI and became known as The Registry Collection) for a couple of stays at The Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad.

Exchanging was in our blood and we continued to exchange for places as diverse as Aspen, Lake Tahoe, San Diego and Malibu.

Back to our point however: exchanging a vacation home is a very simple affair and much, much easier than exchanging a primary home:

  • Vacation homes are typically located in areas of high demand and this means they’ll attract numerous attractive exchange offers
  • The exchange need not be simultaneous
  • The second home is typically clean and uncluttered, meaning no “preparation” prior to exchange
  • Personal effects are minimal and don’t require sequestering
  • Maid services are typically already arranged (as most homes serve as rentals)
  • Pets aren’t an issue
  • Typically, vacation homes are served by a property manager that can cater to the incoming exchange family. This is especially valid at fractional resorts.

If you own a second home, exchanging is a terrific option for you.  Having an exchange family occupy your second home is no different than renting it, but rather than accepting payment in currency, you’re taking payment in kind.

However, exchange is better than renting, as your home is occupied by a family that already owns a second home and they’ll treat YOUR property the way they’d expect YOU to treat their property.

Why rent? Exchange! You already own a second home, so why rent when you want to vacation in a new locale?

Exchanging is a great way to make the most of your second home or fractional property — plus, you’ll have the added convenience of working with an exchange family that knows just as much about their location (favorite restaurants, beaches, activities) that you’ve grown to know about your location.

Exchanging typically results in a much nicer vacation than arriving at a relatively unknown and impersonal rental home.

Our tagline says it all:  Exchange Keys. Trade Dreams.