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Home Swapping

March 3, 2014, 10:10 PM by Angela Kennecke

Home Swapping
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Imagine travelling the world and never paying for a hotel.  That's the idea behind home swapping websites.

Jill and Paul Ten Haken have their own business and can work from just about anywhere.

"Here's the one from California," Jill Ten Haken said.

When they heard about HomeExchange.com, they decided to see if they could swap homes with someone else for an extended family vacation.

"We've had offers; a guy in Atlanta wanted to swap with us for about a week, ten days. Then we had a guy in Rotterdam in the Netherlands we were working on an exchange for a month," Paul Ten Haken said.

Nothing has worked out so far, but the Ten Hakens have the only home on the site listed in Sioux Falls.  They know getting someone to come here to swap is more difficult. 

"The challenge a little bit, and we know Sioux Falls is great--if someone in Europe wants to come to America for a month, they want to go to California, Manhattan.  They want to go to Florida," Paul Ten Haken said.

"Because we're centrally located in the U.S., we had an inquiry from the UK," Jill Ten Haken said.

The cost to sign up for HomeExchange.com is $120 a year.  And people on the site get to know each other first before they make the swap. 

"There's a rating system. You can see how many swaps they've done before and if they've had good experiences," Paul Ten Haken said.

The Ten Hakens are hoping they can arrange just the right exchange in the next year.

"Not only monetary reasons to swap, but for us, just having that connection with somebody else who lives there--knows what to do in that area," Jill Ten Haken said.

HomeExchange.com facilitates about 100,000 home swaps a year.  The exchanges can be simultaneous or at different times, whatever the two parties arrange and you can include a car in the swap. 

HomeExchange.com says the biggest problem with home swapping isn't theft or damage, but rather last-minute cancellations.

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