Why Profswitch is well adapted to people involved in the educational system?
Swapping homes is based on mutual trust of both parts. By swapping with professionals from the same field, who most probably share the same lifestyle, it is easier to build this mutual trust. Furthermore, the community of teachers and researchers is more than a million in France and this ensures that you will have a large choice. Finally, as schools all close at the same time, people involved in the education system are forced to take their holidays more or less at the same time. By exchanging with people with the same calendar constraints, it is easier to reach an agreement, when other professions would always try to avoid school holidays for their vacations. Profswitch has been optimized to deal with school holidays and it is extremely easy to fill the calendar of school holidays when announcing a place to exchange.
Why swapping my home rather than paying a hotel room or a cottage?
The main interest is to save the cost of housing when going on holidays. Indeed, instead of paying for a minimalist hotel room or a cottage, you could save nearly entirely the price of renting by swapping homes. Furthermore, during your holidays it is safer to have someone in your home so as to avoid burglaries. Finally, swapping homes is the best way to truly discover the local lifestyle. The person whose home you shall occupy temporarily could give you tips and loads of information about the neighborhood and the region that you plan to discover. It is the best way to discover a region ‘off the beaten tracks’ as you would avoid standardized hotels and holiday camps.
Why swapping homes instead of renting my place on a commercial platform?
When exchanging homes, you need to establish a relationship of mutual trust. While you are at somebody’s place, this person is sitting in your lounge and both parts in the exchange are interested in respecting the property of the other one. It is not always true in the case of a commercial agreement where somebody has paid rather expensively the right to occupy your home. Furthermore, by avoiding a commercial transaction you avoid an extra income tax. Indeed, swapping is free and the money you save is not considered as a profit and should not be part of your income, so that in the end it is cheaper to swap homes. Finally, your subscription to Profswitch is much cheaper than the fees charged by commercial platforms for renting your place.
Is it legal to swap if I am a tenant?
Yes. Swapping homes is exactly like hosting temporarily a friend at your home. In no case it could be considered as sub-renting since there is no commercial transaction but only an agreement between two parts. Swapping is thus perfectly legal both for owners and tenants, which is not necessarily the case when you intend to rent your place on a commercial platform. However it is desirable to inform your landlord about your intentions.
Is my home insured during the exchange?
Since swapping places is similar to letting one of your friend live in your home for a short period, the same rules for insurance are expected to apply in principle. You should however check the terms of your insurance policy to make sure your home would remain correctly insured during the exchange.
Why should we bother writing a contract of exchange?
The contract by itself has no legal value and Profswitch cannot be responsible about it, but it is really needed to make sure the agreement between both parts is firm, and most importantly clear about the dates and the homes exchanged. By signing a common agreement, you build a relationship based on trust which is highly desirable to achieve a successful home swap. A contract is highly recommended in case you would also let the other part use your car while you are away. In that case you would need to agree on the excess in case of car accident, and it is recommended to ask for the amount of the excess in advance in case of damages on your car.
Who pays, and what?
Everyone involved in the exchange pays the bills of their own house (electricity, water, heating). In case of damages to the home or to its equipment (bikes, skis, car, dishes…), the one responsible for the damage is morally committed to pay for it. These are the same non-formal rules that would apply if you were to let a friend at your place. In case of damages to a car, the borrower should pay the excess of the insurance, and it is thus advised to ask for the amount of the excess in advance, and to refund it afterwards if there was no problem during the exchange. In that case, everything happens exactly as if the borrower had rent a car in a rental company as the risk is entirely taken by the borrower.The car owners must check with their insurance that they are allowed to let somebody else drive their car.
Is-it possible to organize an exchange which is not simultaneous?
The exchange is not necessarily realized at the same period. Indeed, if you have a secondary home, it is possible to organize an exchange on different periods. Profswitch was designed so as to allow to you advertise several houses, for instance to advertise your main home and your secondary home. Each home advertised comes with its own calendar of availability, and you can for instance decide that your main home is only available during school holidays whereas your secondary home is more widely available.
How can I trust somebody I never met?
Exchanging homes is based on mutual trust, and it is legitimate to be worried about it. By choosing a network such as Profswitch, you exchange with people from the world of education and research, with who, you share mostly the lifestyle. Moreover, since there is no commercial transaction, it will be in your interest to look after the place of the person at which you stay, while this person will do the same in your place. Finally, when going on holidays it is much safer to have your home occupied by somebody than leaving it unattended and empty as it could attract burglars. Once the first exchange successfully completed, you will realize how easy and beneficial it is to exchange and you will only go on holidays by exchanging!
What are the drawbacks?
There is only one drawback when changing your place: you must leave it ordered and clean, and you must find a way to give the keys to the person with whom you exchange. However, when you exchange, both parts are committed to leave the place they occupied as clean as they found it, which means that the work done in cleaning your place will not be in vain. As for the keys, you can either send a copy by mail, or organize to leave them at your neighbors' home.
Who is going to take care of my garden or my pets?
When you place an ad for your home, you can specify that you would like your garden to be attended or your pets fed. It is one of the advantages of exchanging instead of renting a cottage or a hotel room. Given that some people might not like to water plants or might be allergic to pets, it is also possible to specify that you do not wish to go in a place where pets usually live. Profswitch can take this criteria into account when you search for home exchanges.
How should I write the guide of my place?
A simple method to write up a guide of your place is to dedicate one section to each room of your place. For each room, you make a list of the equipment that you use regularly and you explain how to use it. Then you fill the rest of the guide will details about the activities that can be done nearby. You can organize this by using the following categories: tourism and culture, sport, food, going out, shops, doctors and hospitals.
I do not live in a touristic place, who would want to come at my place?
All regions are interesting for those who never went there. If you have the feeling to know entirely your region and that there is nothing to discover there, it will not be the case for those who never came there. Furthermore, people do not necessarily come for the touristic interest of the region as they might have several other reasons to come. For instance they could want to be closer to their family or some friends that they want to visit. They could even just want to go in a non-touristic region, searching for peace and calm.