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Selling Options - Property Swap

With the continual stagnation in the global property market, many people have found themselves trapped in a home they are desperate to sell, and unable to move on to the next stage in their lives.

Whether you have a home in the UK to sell and wish to buy in Bulgaria, or vice versa.


What do you do in this all too familiar situation, where you have run out of options and viewers, and don't want to lower your asking priceany further? Property swap of course!

Questbg spoke to Ann Hansen of International Property Swap about how property swapping works. "Permanent property swapping is a relatively new idea, but in the USA, which suffered a property crash a couple of years ahead of the rest of the world, permanent property swapping has already caught on in a big way. Now however, it seems we have caught on to this phenomenon, with several new websites appearing over the last couple of years, matching up buyers and sellers in the UK, Europe and worldwide.


How it began

We initially set up the website with the assumption that most of our clients would be looking to swap their primary home, to either return to their homeland or start a new life in a foreign country, however, it soon became evident that a lot of people are using our service to swap a holiday home, either because it doesn't suit their requirements any more, such as an expanding family, or the kids have grown up and don't holiday with them anymore, or they simply want a change of scenery.

We had an exceptionally successful year in 2010 with many swaps taking place. There were swaps between Ireland and France, Spain and France, and several between the UK, Spain, and France.


One interesting example was a swap between a penthouse apartment in Malaga, and a holiday business in Blackpool. The client who swapped his apartment in Malaga now has a whole new life running holiday apartments in Blackpool!

How it works

Probably the easiest way to explain a permanent property exchange is to think of it as 2 parties agreeing to 'buy' each other's properties. The properties don't have to be of the same value, and just like a conventional buy and sell situation, you can move up or down the
property ladder. If you are swapping to a property of a higher value than your own, then you will of course have to arrange finance to cover the differential which is to be paid to the other party. One thing to bear in mind is that even though money may not exchange hands, you will still be liable to pay the appropriate taxes in the country where the property is located, so you must factor this into your budget.

There are many benefits of house swapping, like avoiding the dreaded property chain, and savings can be made if you arrange the transaction without the involvement of an Estate agent. Remember though, that it could be beneficial to use an Estate agent to smooth the way of the transaction, and help with negotiations.

Speaking to clients who have made a successful swap, the clear message I hear is you have to be flexible, and communication and honesty on both sides are essential.

The benefits to property swaps

If both sides work with each other for their mutual benefit, then savings can be made such as sharing removal companies (the lorry can go
out with one party's furniture, and go back with the other's) Also agreeing to leave things like white goods, can save money on removals
costs. Often help is given swapping over the utilities into the new owners name, which can alleviate some of the stress of moving to a new
home in a foreign country. Also many clients who have made the swap have actually remained good friends!

With several websites to choose from, all offering varying services and charges, from flat fee advertising only, to agent like services charging commissions fees, why not give house swapping a go, and you could be making that move sooner than you think!"

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