Your listing is the first and most important step in creating a visual of the environment into which you are inviting your guests. Put your best foot forward. Tidy up, remove clutter and make your space look inviting by adding simple touches, like cut flowers on a table or a plant in the window. The better the photos the more that people will love your home and you can take advantage of getting swaps offered.
Of course, include a profile picture. It’s nice to see with whom you are exchanging!
Here is the place to introduce yourselves and briefly discuss your interests. Include your ages, occupations (if you work), the number and age groups of children in your party. Let people now a little about yourselves.
Your profile is also the place to let people know about your 'Desired destinations', the places you'd really like to travel. You can also add that you're open to dates and destinations.
Think about what attracts you while looking at other listing titles. Be descriptive but not overly wordy. Here are a few ideas to get you started. “Beautiful lakeside home within an hour of …major city”, or “Modern 3 bedroom flat close to city center, or “Family friendly home, close to beach”.
Yes, they do matter! You only have one opportunity to make a first impression so a visual walk through of your home is your chance to make it shine. Take many pictures. If you only take a few, it’s a missed opportunity because it only paints a partial picture of what guests can expect and they will move on in their search.
Start with an outside view of your home if that is possible. Make sure the lighting is good. Early morning or late afternoon are often the best times for taking photos outdoors. Horizontal photos are better than vertical as they provide a more expansive view. Remember that people will see everything that you put in your photos! If the lawn needs mowing or weeds need pulling, take the time to do a little yard clean up. If there are special areas that you want to highlight, like a swimming pool, a play area for children, or a great patio for relaxing, or a BBQ be sure to include them.
Inside, take advantage of full light trying to avoid dark shadows. Move anything that creates a feeling of clutter. Don’t leave a towel on the bed, dishes in the sink, or laundry on the floor. If your home is equipped for kids, take pictures that make a space look inviting for them – show toys, games, bikes, if appropriate. The same is true if you are set up for adults only. Think about what you’d like to see in an exchange home and that will help guide you.
The order of the photos is up to you but they should make logical sense. Ideally, the cover photo for your listing should be the front of your home or one that best represents your home. Inside, the order could include the entry way, the living area, the kitchen and dining areas, maybe even add some dimensions of the relaxation areas.
Show configurations of bedrooms eg: king, bunks or singles is helpful for families and friend groups to understand whether your accommodation will be suitable.
If you can include photos of your local area like beaches, city views, parks etc, it is nice to add them at the end. If you have a smart phone with a camera, you can easily take photos from different angles and times of day and then choose the ones you like best.
Sometimes its helpful to read other listings to give you ideas how best to talk about your home. Be brief but informative. Is there something special about your home you’d like to share? Is it of historical significance? Is it architecturally unique?
Describe the number of bedrooms, baths, special features like a hot tub, a pool or a sauna. Do you have Wi-Fi, internet access, movies or games? Is your home wheelchair accessible? These are all things to include in your listing description.
If you have pets be very clear about that. Remember that some people are allergic to pets so be sure to indicate whether they live indoors or out. Will guests be asked to care for them?
How about garden areas? Do you have fruits and veggies your guests can avail themselves of? Do you expect your guests to care for plants or garden areas? Be clear about your expectations to avoid confusion later on.
Is there something special about where you live? Are you in a city, in the country, near natural beauty, near the sea. Are there sports activities nearby?
This is a good place to provide links to areas of interest, links to transportation or other things of interest to your guests.
If you have a car available to swap, it is helpful to tell your guests what kind of car, how many it seats, if it has car seats for children etc. Be sure to check with your insurance company before offering to ensure that you can provide it for exchanging.
Now that you’ve got some tools to help guide you in creating your listing, let’s start exchanging!