Strange But True: House Swapping

I like highlighting these strange-but-true real estate related stories.  They usually show the more creative aspects of selling a home.  Not all the time, of course, but most of the time.  This one is no exception!

I don’t need to tell anyone that there is an excess of homes on the market in most areas.  At the same time, with the economy as it is and credit markets tight, fewer buyers are looking for homes.  With the shortage of real estate buyers, more people are choosing to explore another method of moving out and moving on: house swaps.

Many people considering swapping homes have to sell because of a job change or because they need more space. The average person isn’t interested in renting out their unwanted home and becoming landlords.  When there are few options and the home doesn’t seem to be selling, a house swap is their last attempt at offloading the home and in some cases even avoiding foreclosure.

With hundreds of thousands of homes for sale being advertised on traditional real estate listing services, house swapping is a tiny niche of the market, but it is showing signs of growth. The free classified advertisement website, Craigslist, added a "Housing Swap" category about two years ago due to user demand. So far, it logged 11,000 listings nationwide in June and the company said numbers have doubled from last year.

Homeowners post a description of the property they're trying to sell and of the type of home they're seeking. When there's a successful match, the owners negotiate to buy each other's homes. The sale and purchase of the two properties is typically done at the same time, so no one is left paying two mortgages.

The houses are rarely of equal value. Both parties will get their home appraised and agree on a price. If one is worth more than the other, the buyer of that house has to make up the difference.

There are drawbacks, however. When decide on a house swap, you you're dealing with a smaller pool of buyers than you would if you listed your property on the traditional Multiple Listing Service, which is fed with listings from Realtors.  But if you’re considering a house swap, you may have already been pursuing those avenues with no luck, in which case it couldn’t hurt to try. Just make sure that you have a Realtor at your side to make sure everything is on the up and up.  And once again, if you like the house enough you want to buy it, make the sale contingent on the home passing a professional inspection.

Post a Comment