Christian House and Church Swap
YOUR HOME:- The size and décor of your home is far less important than the fact that it needs to be clean and tidy, with enough space for house-swappers to hang clothes etc. It is not necessary to clear all wardrobes and drawers, but sufficient space should be made available.
SMOKING:- No smoking in any of the properties unless otherwise indicated.
BEDROOMS:- If you have more than one double-bedded room, it is not essential to make your own bedroom available. You will be asked to identify available bedrooms on the registration form.
I.T. EQUIPMENt/Office/Study :- House swappers will not expect to use your study or office space unless you have identified that it doubles as an extra bedroom space. In which case please turn off/unplug all equipment for safety's sake. It's important to let house-swappers know your wireless password to enable their use of internet etc.
PETS:- You will be asked for details about your pets, and whether you would like house-swappers to feed them etc. This is important information for those who have 'pet allergies', so you can avoid choosing homes with pets.
You are also asked if you would consider a dog staying in your home, as dog owners often like to bring their dogs on holiday. Understandably it tends to be the dog owners who are happy with this.
TOYS:- If you are a family with children, and you swap with another family, it will be very exciting for the children to have some ‘new’ toys to play with. However, all valuable or easily breakable toys should be boxed up and put away. This is really important for everyone’s sake!
USEFUL INFO:- If possible, leave out a selection of leaflets about your area, obtainable from your nearest Tourist Info or local library. It would also be good to leave out a current copy of your church magazine/newsletter, and details of any local event that will be happening while your house swappers are there. You are not required to spend hours preparing a folder.
LOCAL PERSON:- Before the house swap takes place, you will need to arrange for a friend or neighbour to meet your house-swappers. This is the person who will let house-swappers have the key and will be there to briefly show them round. They can also give directions about appliances etc. Sometimes, on the day of travel, people decide to meet at one or other’s home, but this is entirely up to you.
CHURCH:- When house-swapping, a lot of people enjoy attending the church where their house swappers are members. You are, of course, under no obligation to do so. However, we hope you will find the individual churches' information in the brochure useful, and maybe you will experience a different form of worship. You may want go along to a mid-week church activity or meeting during your stay; this can also be very interesting, and inspiring, a great opportunity to see God at work in different places. It would be good to check with a church member before turning up.
A NOTE ABOUT SECURITY:-It is much safer to leave your house occupied when you are away. In fact insurances companies prefer houses not to be left unoccupied, as this is the time that many burglaries occur. You will not be swapping with complete strangers. By the time the swap takes place you will have been in contact with each other by 'phone or email.
PERSONAL INFORMATION:- The information you give us on the registration form is used to write a description of your home, garden, locality and church. This is identified by a reference number. Members will be given a secure pass code to access basic contact details of other members. This will be email address and /or phone numbers. (Members choose which) No addresses are given out or circulated in any way or for any reason.
When you contact potential house swappers you will probably want to discuss various issues. Following are suggestions:-
BILLS:-General household bills are paid by the home-owner, except for the ‘phone bill. Before leaving home, you can use the B.T.’s ‘Call my bill’ service, or a similar facility, and leave a note of it by the ‘phone. When house-swappers leave at the end of their stay, they can call it again, do a bit of simple arithmetic and leave you the cash or cheque for their usage. Or you can agree to use your own mobile 'phone for any outgoing calls.
BEDDING:- The following works quite well because it means that no-one has to make up beds before you leave home, or worry about washing at the end of the holiday. But it's only a suggestion!
i) Strip the beds that are available to house-swappers.
ii) House-swappers bring their own duvet covers, sheets, pillow cases & towels; unless travelling by plane, train or bus, in which case.....
iia) ...leave out clean bed linen for house swappers to make up the beds when they arrive.
FOOD:- if possible, leave out a basic selection of food in the fridge and store cupboards for your house-swappers to use. They will replace it with a similar selection before the end of their stay.
FINALLY:- The key to successful house swapping is mutual respect for each others' homes.
Sometimes you will holiday in a house far grander than your own, sometimes far more humble. In either case we are sure you will appreciate and enjoy this unique experience. The added dimension of house swapping with other Christians is a huge benefit in lots of ways--not least the fact that you may find a great holiday read on their bookshelf!