Katy Holland: The jolly business of house swapping
Are we there yet? If you’ve got it (a home, that is), flaunt it
Sunday 22 February 2009
Ever fancied dabbling in a bit of swapping? I’m talking houses, not spouses (a subject for a separate column).
Lots of your recent emails have outlined the joys of home exchanges, so I did a little investigation of my own, and, despite my initial horror – I’d have to tidy up! – I’ve decided that it’s not as mad as it sounds.
The rule is simple. If you’ve got it (a home, that is), flaunt it. Thanks to the collapse of the economy, Britain is now a very affordable destination for pretty much everyone who doesn’t actually live here, so sign up and watch the offers flood in.
Decent websites to show off your assets include Intervac (0845 2605776; intervac.com), which features family homes across the world that are just waiting to be swapped. For example, check out the little house near Athens whose owners want to swap during the school holidays.
Then there’s the newly launched Holiday Swapshop (01766 780740; ukholiday swapshop.co.uk), which concentrates on exchanges within the UK. Highlights include a 10-bedroomed ex-guesthouse on the Cornish coast: the owners are open to offers from anywhere.
For more on the practicalities of all this bartering, the Which? website (which.co.uk) is full of sensible advice. Do your homework here and you’ll be well equipped to get on with the jolly business of swapping. The only drawback? You’ll have to tidy up first.
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It looks very much as though 2015 will be a good year for the world economy, after all – and, if it is, that will be thanks to the fall in the oil price. It won't be good for everyone and we have already seen the pressure it puts on the Russian leadership – though, before you conclude that sometimes there is natural justice in the world, remember that the people who are hurt are not leaders such as Vladimir Putin. Other oil- and gas-exporting countries are damaged, too, and I think we will see further fallout in unpredictable ways. But the net impact is strongly positive, more so than most commentators at present acknowledge. The winners far outnumber the losers.
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