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What is a House Swap?

In a house swap, the owners of two different houses need to sell at the same time.
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  • Written By: Serena Norr
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2014
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There are a variety of choices for homeowners when they are seeking to sell their home. A house swap is one creative way to sell a home and acquire a new one, where homeowners can simply trade what they have for what they want.

Many people feel house swapping is the only answer as they have done everything they could to sell their home, including dropping the price and keeping their home on the market for a longer time. The actual house swap is contingent upon both parties making a sale at the same time. Since it is almost impossible to have two homes that attain the same property value, the sale will need to be evened out through an exchange of money from the party with the less expensive home. Both parties have to agree on this amount.

During this process those involved in the house swap may want to consult with a real estate attorney to ensure the price is fair and also contingent with the value on the market. Lawyers can also help set up contracts, so one party doesn’t back out of the deal. Though an advisable step, it is also an additional fee when swapping homes that isn’t normally associated with a traditional sale. Additionally, when closing a deal, house swappers should follow the same steps as if they were closing a deal in a traditional sale by adhering to inspections and letting the other party know of any damage and repairs needed to the property.

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An actual house swap transaction can be a tough and lengthy process of back-and-forth communication with potential swappers. Even then, homeowners do not know exactly who they are dealing with, since they are essentially communicating with strangers and have to be wary of scams. There is also no legal recourse associated with a house swap if a deal falls through. Since a licensed realtor was not involved in the purchase, if there are problems with the house when a new owner moves in, there is little recourse.

Additionally, homeowners still have specific needs, in terms of what type of home they want and neighborhoods they want to live in, making it tricky to actually make a house swap. Many realtors suggest that homeowners shouldn’t solely rely on swapping to trade their homes. It should serve as an option, but one that is still considered too trendy to be accepted in the mainstream in lieu of traditional sales.

House swapping is a new and trendy alternative to exchange one’s home for another. A house swap isn’t for everyone though since it requires a time commitment, additional fees for lawyers, and the possibility of being susceptible to scams.

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