I am a huge fan of the home exchange. I’ve completed ten exchanges and want to share with you this wonderful way to have free accommodation while traveling.
Home exchange is popular around the world. But, exchanging a New York City apartment has specific challenges. Strict policies regarding subletting for renters and co-op owners often make it difficult. Although there is no money involved in home exchanges, this sharing economy situation is often misunderstood.
Are you cut out to be a home exchanger? If so, is the home or apartment you rent, own, or are looking to buy a place that will allow home exchanges?
Home Exchange is for You If…
You like to travel. You prefer to live like a local, shop at local markets and cook your meals. You don’t like to stay in hotels. You are not afraid of people you don’t know staying in your home. You are not tied to your possessions. You are not worried about difficult situations that might arise, though rarely do. You are flexible, easy going and adventurous. Find out more about home exchange here.
Exchanging Your NYC Home
One advantage of living in NYC is that it is a very popular place people from around the world want to visit. Manhattan is the most popular, but Brooklyn and Queens are also hot spots. People who want to exchange in Brooklyn and Queens are travelers from overseas and bold domestic visitors.
If you are already a fan of home exchange, then you know the pitfalls specific to NYC real estate that complicate making arrangements. This might include a difficult landlord or co-op board; nosey neighbors; limits on the number of days visitors can stay at your residence, and similar issues.
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There are several ways to get around these barriers. Many people in NYC don’t reveal their home exchange plans to their landlords. I did exchanges in five different apartments in five different neighborhoods in both Manhattan and Brooklyn and never had to tell my landlord.
Co-ops that require board approval for residents who are not owners are more challenging, but not impossible to overcome. Check the rules at your co-op or the space you are looking to purchase to make sure you can accommodate home exchanges.
If you don’t have home owner’s or renter’s insurance, definitely purchase it! The worst experience I ever had was someone breaking a wine glass in my apartment. But accidents happen and you want to be prepared.
Make sure someone nearby has extra keys to your home if your guests lock themselves out or in the case of an emergency.
I exchange keys by mail, so we both have them in-hand when we arrive at our destinations. There are other ways to exchange keys, including KeyCafe’s service, available all over NYC.
Intervac’s home exchange checklist has many additional valuable tips.
All’s Well that Ends Well
Most home exchanges work out very well. When you have open, honest communication with your exchange partner, there is less of a chance for things to go wrong.
Be kind and helpful to each other. And remember, you will be in their home while they are in yours. If you both treat your swap accommodation as you would your own home, everyone will have an amazing home exchange!