House swapping – Match.com with a deed
Humans are nothing if not creative, especially Americans who have been infused with entrepreneurial ideals and an independent spirit. So what do humans with those qualities do when they can’t find a buyer for their home through conventional avenues? They turn the corner to see if there’s a better way.
The concept of trading or swapping homes for vacation has been around for a long time with many vacation house swapping Web sites available. Now the same model being used to swap vacation properties is being adapted to the slumping real estate market, as homeowners scout for ways to separate themselves from their properties and move on.
The only reason this is even possible is because of expanded Internet capabilities and everyone’s comfort level with the Internet. There may have been house bartering during other real estate downturns between individuals, but it has now been taken to a whole new level, with technology enabling computerized matching of a large number of properties and owners’ swap criteria.
For example, the Web sites I checked are all organized by state and by just clicking on the desired state, you will get a laundry list of properties, sometimes with a thumbnail picture. If you are interested in the location, you can bring up the entire listing which will give a detailed description, pictures, value and locations where the owner is willing to move.
The properties being swapped do not even have to be for the exact same value, since once an agreement is reached, the individual parties arrange for their own financing, much like a conventional sale. The only difference is they found each other on line attracted by similar needs, Match.com with a deed. In addition, the transaction will be smoother if both parties are using the same title company and lender.
Swapping could work especially well for people who really want or need to move on because of jobs, illness or other challenges in life, as well as vacation properties. Although it does give you the peace of mind that comes from closing on both homes the same day, it is definitely not for everyone. Generally, neither party gets exactly what it wants in either amenities or locale. You have to be willing and able to compromise to even consider a swap. Also, verification of the homeowner’s ability to get financing in this tight credit market is essential.
Even developers who have found themselves with high numbers of inventory are offering to buy peoples’ homes, especially if they are older and less expensive, essentially like trading in an older car for a new one. The developers are less worried about selling the trade-in home than getting stuck with a subdivision of empty homes that could drain their wallets and become a public relations problem.
Two of the Web sites I checked out are www.onlinehousetrading.com and www.goswap.org. The swapping Web sites charge nominal fees to list your property, much like the vacation home swapping sites. You can also find house swapping listings on www.craigslist.org. Some real estate companies are also getting in on the act utilizing swapping as another marketing option, and there will inevitability be more to come.
Trading your home with someone is just another creative way to move your life along when all else fails. We’re told practically every day that we’re living in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Although things may be bad, sometimes turning the corner is all you have to do to find your way home.