Treasure of the Month Archives
Global Home Exchange, this month’s KnowYourTrade Treasure of the Month, exemplifies the excellence displayed throughout the community of CHECtravel member agencies. Among its many outstanding features, Global offers viewers and members an industry high of nearly 100% images with its well over 2,000 home exchange listings. It also provides its members access to an additional 6,000+ home exchange listings through a shared database with its partner home exchange clubs, Exchange Homes, Echange de Maison (Another-Home) and Homeforswaps.com.
Global allows search options to the city level plus advice and templates for traders. Reverse search is to the state level. An internal messaging system keeps track of offers. Customer support, as you would expect from such a high quality home exchange club, is very responsive.
There are four different membership choices including a special for beginners, and either a year or lifetime membership for those in the know. Global Home Exchange! Try it; you’ll most certainly like it!
Aussie House Swap, The Wonder from Down Under, is our new Exchange Queen’s Treasure of the Month. This club specializes in Australian and New Zealand home exchanges, although they have recently begun to add more international listings. It remains, however, truly Australian with a down home attitude and the vast majority of listings located in Oceania.
Aussie House Swap has been around since 2004 and has a following of over 1,500 members at latest count. The newly designed website provides a simple, easy to use interface and makes the process of searching and exchanging undemanding and seems almost effortless. Customer service is always stellar, with many help articles and a new forum on which members can share last minute swaps or home exchange ideas. Once again, our best wishes go out to Aussie House Swap for a job well done!
Aussie House Swap! It’s Australian for Home Exchange, Mate!
Green Theme International is our March choice for the Home Exchange Agency Treasure of the Month. It is one of the older clubs, having been established in 1989. Green Theme has always been known for excellent customer service; GTI’s owner goes out of her way to take personal care of her members.
Green Theme has received one of the highest ratings in Know Your Trade’s new rating system. With its emphasis on security and its policy of listing both the join date and expiration date on all listings, members can be assured of finding a good swap partner.
Although not a requirement for membership, GTI emphasizes the eco-friendly nature of the home exchange community. Green Theme International’s goal is to promote home exchange as “an environmentally friendly mode of travel.” On its Company Information page, it is noted “Home exchange is a concept right for our time making maximum use of existing resources.”
December 2008 Treasure Matching Houses
Know Your Trade, the home exchange directory, is proud to announce our December Treasure of the Month, Matching Houses. Matching Houses is a specialty agency, created for home exchangers with disabilities. Boy, do they do a good job! From the registration, which is in a very large font, to the listings themselves, everything is laid out in a fashion that makes it easy for disabled swappers to find a swap home that makes the exchange experience as easy as possible. Homes are classified as to their accessibility with such information as to whether there are steps, handrails, ease of getting to vehicle, width of doorways, etc. The agency is entirely free.
Kudos to Matching Houses for helping make home swapping available to everyone!
September 2008 Treasure Home Exchange Travels
Know Your Trade’s August Treasure of the Month is not a home exchange agency. Yet it is just as important in the home exchange community. Home Exchange Travels, a blog written by Nicole Feist has been amusing, educating and enriching home exchangers for over two years. The Feists home exchange on the average of a half dozen times a year and are the veterans of over 40 swaps. This certainly qualifies them as experts in the field!
Nicole writes on such diverse topics as traveling with kids (she has two little ones), using GPS systems, communicating with exchangers who speak other languages, and tips on sprucing up your listing. In addition she provides her readers with insight into what happens on an actual exchange as she recounts tales of her travels. Nicole does not hesitate to share the occasionally not so glamorous side of home exchange, either.
Home Exchange Travels is a must read for anyone interested in home exchange. Kudos to Nicole for a priceless resource!Exclusive Exchanges, specializes in luxury exchanges. This agency has a lot to recommend it. The design is exquisite and easy to navigate. Exclusive Exchanges offers an hour’s concierge service with paid membership, although since the agency is still young, there is still a free six month trial membership available. We love the fact that almost all of the listings have pictures, which are displayed in an attractive manner.
Exclusive Exchanges has also established Vacations For Veterans, a non-profit organization which seeks to provide recently wounded US veterans with a free week of vacation lodging. All people with vacations homes, whether or not they are members of Exclusive Exchanges are encouraged to donate a week. What a great way to support our troops!
We congratulate Exclusive Exchanges for not only having an outstanding exchange club, but also giving back to the community. It doesn’t get much better than that!
May 2008 Treasure SabbaticalHomes.com
Created by and for academics, SabbaticalHomes.com represents the finest traditions of home exchange agencies. Since 2000 SabbaticalHomes.com has facilitated the trading of residences among teachers, professors, students and their families, worldwide. This agency, well known in the academic community, inspires loyalty from its members through a wonderfully easy to use format, a state of the art website and that personal touch that can only come from an understanding of the needs of their cliental. This is further evidenced by the very impressive number of testimonials from satisfied members. The Ivory Tower is certainly fortunate to have SabbaticalHomes.com as a resource. Our Treasure of the Month of May, SabbaticalHomes.com, is also a highly regarded member of the CHECtravel home exchange agency council.
April 2008 Treasure IVHE
International Vacation Home Exchange, a CHECtravel member, specializes in luxury home exchanges. IVHE offers many spectacular high end properties and management takes a more personal approach in facilitating the members’ trades. This “concierge” service is a rarity in the home exchange world and ideally suited to both first timers and the busy executive. It should also be noted that IVHE is affiliated with Mercy Corps, the international relief and development charity. The agency donates 5% of every membership fee received to this valuable charity. Mercy Corps helps more than 14.4 million people each year recover from disasters, build stronger communities and find their own solutions to poverty. Such a level of generosity, unique in the home exchange world, caps off the myriad features of this spectacular home exchange organization, KYT’s Treasure of the Month of April!
February 2008 Treasure Intervac
This month Know Your Trade honors the oldest home exchange agency of them all, INTERVAC. Why has INTERVAC been able to survive since 1953 in the ever-changing home exchange market? Simple. Intervac maintains high standards that exemplify good home exchange practices, such as providing a secure means of communication between members so that personal information is not made public and an advanced map based search. INTERVAC is an international organization with representatives in 35 different countries. Standard methods are used around the world, but country representations are nationally-owned and operated. This accounts for its incredibly diverse membership numbers (over 8000). INTERVAC has received almost a perfect score in KYT's rating system and truly deserves to be awarded the Exchange Queen's Treasure of the Month award.
The Exchange Queen’s busy this month working on another huge project, so I get to choose the Treasure of the Month. International Home Exchange Network (IHEN.com) has long been one of my favorite home exchange agencies. When I first joined IHEN back in the mid nineties, I received dozens of exchange requests from around the world the first year. In ’98 Linda (who runs IHEN) contacted me to see if I was interested in being interviewed by the local NBC affiliate as an example of a seasoned exchanger (by that time I’d made about a dozen trades). My interview was picked up by several other NBC stations and I got my fifteen minutes of fame. The only disappointing part of the whole affair was that they edited out my plug for IHEN. I think it was because I said, “International house exchange network,” and then corrected myself. The camera is so unforgiving; I only hope you have forgiven me, Linda. I really did try to give my favorite home exchange club a big plug!
As you know, KYT doesn’t make specific recommendations, but from years of personal experience I can testify that IHEN has always delivered, never disappointed and well deserves KYT’s January Treasure of the Month award!
The Exchange Queen and Know Your Trade are proud to announce our latest home exchange treasure - HomeForExchange.com. This home exchange club has recently introduced some new features not available anywhere else. The innovative home exchange contract offers members a digitally based agreement. To quote from HomeForExchange, “This contract is not just a plain document, but consist of a set of dynamic pages which you and your exchange partner can use to clearly set down what has been agreed upon. Once all pages have been completed the contract can be printed and digitally signed by both parties.” What a grand idea! In conjunction with this, this club also offers a first of its kind accommodation insurance policy. More details are available on the site.
HomeForExchange also offers a referral policy, a more than ample 16 picture limit and more than 10,000 listings. Our Treasure of the Month for December is truly a gem!
Our selection for the November Treasure of the Month can truly be called “a no brainer.” HomeExchange.com, founded in 1992, has consistently been at the top of KYT’s home exchange agency ratings. Hundreds of very flattering articles by some of the world’s most respected journalists have been written about them. Their management and staff have not only managed to deliver the most popular home exchange site on the internet, but are also highly respected and admired by other club owners and industry insiders alike. The only reason HomeExchange.com hasn’t won KYT’s Treasure of the month in the past is that we wanted to demonstrate the great diversity among the many clubs out there. So, for what it’s worth, KYT adds its small voice to the numerous accolades already showered on HomeExchange.com by awarding them our Thanksgiving Treasure of the Month.
This month’s home exchange treasure goes to Geenee. Geenee is one of the newer clubs, established in 2006. It has had a steady increase in membership, probably because it is still free and has some innovative features. Each listing has a map that allows the swapper to see the general neighborhood of the potential exchanger. In addition, Europe, Australasia and North America have map based searches that are quite specific in the more populated areas. Geenee also includes a peer reviewed rating system. Know Your Trade has selected Geenee as our top free club. With all its features(more than I have mentioned), it won’t be free long, so take advantage!
For September, KYT’s Treasure of the Month award goes to one of the fastest growing Home Exchange clubs on the Internet, 1stHomeExchange. Founded in 2005, this site is continually being upgraded, with several nice enhancements to the site, including a new reverse search feature.1stHomeExchange is now available in both French and English. Another great feature is a tracking system in the member account area, which keeps tabs on offers made and received. They also offer an analysis of the member listing and make suggestions as to how to improve it. Other innovative features include:
*Separate tabs feature on the detail page of the listing
*A last update indicator on each listing
*Active promotion of members’ offers in the sidebar throughout the site
This August, congratulations go to Trade To Travel, the winner of the Exchange Queen’s Treasure of the Month! Founded in 1991, TTT, as they call themselves on their drop dead gorgeous website (top site of our Beauty Contest winners), were the first of the luxury home exchange clubs. They also began the increasingly popular “points” system in the exchanger community as well as pioneering the second or vacation home concept. One of the many highlights of TTT’s agenda includes a $1.000.00 guarantee covering damage during an exchange. And, naturally concierge service is also part of their extraordinary program. Congratulations, once again, TTT!
Know Your Trade is proud to present our July Treasure of the Month to one of the “oldie-goldies” of the home exchange world, ExchangeHomes.com. ExchangeHomes.com has been in business since 1986 and continues to provide excellent customer support. Anne Pottinger, the founder, works hard to keep the site up to date. Her new blog, ExchangeHomesBlog.com is beautifully put together and chock full of timely information. A forum has also been recently launched.
ExchangeHomes.com is user friendly offering such amenities as a complete, printable Hints and Advice Book. Every listing has an expiration date, thus assuring that none are outdated.
Congratulations to ExchangeHomes.com for continuing to exemplify the ethical standards to which home exchange clubs aspire.
Congratulations to Home For Swap, Know Your Trade's top home exchange for June. When we first rated Home For Swap, we stated "It looks like Home For Swap is a site to watch!" and watch it we did! It has grown tremendously in the year or so that it has been in business. Features include a google map based search, one part of an advanced search with many other options. Home For Swap offers exchange ratings, video upload to advertise homes and more. Testimonials from members attest to our choice. Home For Swap is still free, but may be adding a fee in the near future.
Treasure of the month time allows the exchange queen to take the time to smell the roses, in this case re-examine some of the home exchange gems. This month, we have had the pleasure of “re-discovering” Digsville. This club was one of the first clubs that we looked at when we first started Know Your Trade. We were impressed then and continue to be impressed now. Our ratings testify to that.
In a nutshell, these are some of the things we like about Digsville:
* Digsville is innovative. It was the first club to institute a peer to peer rating system which has now been implemented in several other clubs.
* Digsville offers every kind of help that a trader might need. From a Bill of Rights for exchangers to a robust Tips of the Trade, it’s all there.
* Digsville’s recently redesigned home page made a good club even better. The entire site is very easy to navigate.
* Helen Bergstein, the founder, works hard to further the home exchange movement.
We are proud to make Digsville our Treasure of the Month.
Know Your Trade has picked one of the largest clubs, HomeLink International as the club of the month. It has branches in 29 different countries, each with its own personality and features. Many of the features, such as text only versions of the site for vision impaired are outstanding. Member reviews on Know Your Trade have been exemplary. Always important is ease of making an exchange. Know Your Trade is a member of all the major as well as many of the smaller clubs, and by far the largest number of requests for trades have come from HomeLink members. What more could one ask?
This month’s award goes to one of the youngest and smallest home exchanges, JewettStreet.com. JewettStreet was founded in late 2006 and has, as of this writing, just 48 listings. But Ursula Godwin, the founder is doing everything right. The website is well laid out and attractive. Ursula works hard to promote her web site and the home exchange movement. She sends newsletters to members and is a continuing presence on blogs that mention home exchange. Unfortunately, Ursula has had to cope with her url being highjacked, which is a shame so early in the game (or any time for that matter). However, she has not let that stop her and continues to plug away. Congratulations to JewettStreet.com - the Exchange Queen’s Treasure of the Month.
Know Your Trade is proud to announce the first winner of the coveted Treasure of the Month Award, Home Base Holidays. How did Home Base Holidays come to be deserving of this honor? Although by no means the biggest, it does offer several oustanding features:
* Lois Sealey has a wonderful blog, one of the best in the industry, which often features member listings. In addition, she publishes a bi-monthly newsletter.
* Several of the members have rated the club on KYT and all have given it rave reviews, especially for help given to members.
* Lois Sealey, the founder of the exchange club is always on top of all the news in the home exchange world. Every time there is an article or blog on home exchange and I comment on it, Lois is usually there first!
* All listings on Home Base Holidays are guaranteed to be up to date as it is one of the few clubs that shows both the membership date and the expiration date.
* The cute little icons tell you right away about the home. Is it a second home? Do they welcome kids? Is there disabled access? These and other icons are quick and easy ways to get an overview of listing.
Congratulations to Home Base Holidays from all of us at KYT