Tips From Savvy Swappers

MAKING A FAIR TRADE
Be honest when describing your home. If you hide problems or overstate your case, guests may be disappointed because the place isn't what they expected. Rosie and Brock Fettes, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Request photos of the house's interior, as well as shots of the view, so you know what you'll see through the windows. And search for the address on Google Earth to get an idea of what the neighborhood is like. Russ Phillips, Turks and Caicos

Discuss all anticipated additional expenses up front: I once had a woman in Holland spring a €300 heating bill on me three months after the swap was done. Lisa Lipkin, Hurleyville, N.Y.

If you have young children, swap homes with a family that has children the same age—that way you'll be in a place you know is set up for kids, and vice versa. Bente Evans, Fontainebleau, France

PREPARING FOR GUESTS
Compile a booklet with everything your swappers might need: instructions on how to use your appliances, restaurant recommendations, locations of nearby stores and banks, and numbers for a taxi company and a handyman. Toody Walton, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Tell your neighbors about your swappers so your guests receive a warm welcome instead of questions such as "Who are you?" and "What on earth are you doing here?" D. Michael Dobbin, Toronto, Ont.

Have a family member or a friend who lives in the area be the local point of contact in case your guests can't reach you on your cell phone. Carl and Carol Lahser, San Antonio, Tex.

Because your guests may not know what to do in town, devise an itinerary for a perfect day and leave it as a welcome gift. Dean Trevelino, Atlanta, Ga.

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