Home Swapping: Barter in a Bad Market

Home Swapping
Home Swapping

I’ve been hearing this in dribs and drabs, and now the L.A. Times has done a feature about it: home swapping.

The idea is that instead of trying to sell your home in a down market, waiting perhaps months and months and lowering the price, thereby lowering your potential buying power for the next home, you simply find someone who has something you want, and you trade.

Some of the websites now available to facilitate the swaps (and charge you a small fee):


All the sites seem to brand themselves as online real estate “communities” and harp on the fact that market is just too tough these days to be a generic buyer or seller. And they appear to be doing well, with hundreds of properties listed by want-to-be swappers. You can swap one home for two or a home for a boat, or a piece of land for a home. It’s up to you.

The sites seem to me to be a return to the very very olden days of bartering. Much like Craigslist (which also lists home swaps), we are getting back to basics with everything these days. Technology, ironically enough, is returning us to the very root of all commerce: Trade. So why shouldn’t we do it with homes?

I’m interested to hear if any of you readers have had experience with these sites, good or bad. Please write in to the blog, and I’ll post some replies.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com