Most automobile owners are familiar with car trade-ins. However, many homeowners have probably never considered that houses themselves can be actually be traded in as well. And while you generally don’t put your house on wheels or a flatbed truck and trade it in as you would a car, house trading is similar in certain ways to automobile trade-ins. House trades-ins have traditionally been offered by home builders, though homeowners are increasingly trading with other homeowners.
House Trading In real estate, house trading is also referred to as house swapping. For example, you might own a home in a location that’s become dull or boring to you. In a house trade you’d find a homeowner looking for a home in your location who also owns one in a location attractive to you and suitable for your needs. Other than agreeing to a swap for each others’ dwellings, house trading is basically similar to almost any other real estate transaction.
Trade Transactions The first step in house trading is finding a likely home and negotiating a trade with its owner. Once you and the other homeowner have formally agreed to a house trade, the swap moves into the actual transaction phase. Usually, house-trading homeowners are approved for loans and both homes’ mortgages are closed in a traditional manner. Generally, trading your house for another homeowner’s house is a trade up or a trade down, meaning values of the two homes may differ.
Unequal Trades Most homeowners engaging in house trades are either looking to move up or looking to move down to cut expenses. Perhaps you own a smaller home and have outgrown it and need something bigger. There may be a homeowner out there with a larger, more expensive home also looking for something smaller and more affordable. Homeowner trades of homes of unequal value are really just sales of the two trading homeowners’ homes to each other, with each gaining benefit from the sale.
Finding Homes As with everything else it’s touched, the Internet has made house trading more visible and easier than ever. A number of websites are available to homeowners looking to trade their homes, including OnlineHouseTrading.com and BestHouseSwap.com. Some house trading websites charge a nominal per-listing fee while others are free and act more as house-trading bulletin boards than real estate sites. In addition to homeowners, house trading websites are usually open to real estate brokers helping clients trade their homes.