Local Attractions: Promoting Your Property.


Did you know on every IVHE listing there is an option to show and view local attractions on a map?  

When planning to visit a property view the map tab (see image) at the top of the listing page.  More and more of our members are adding interesting information for guests to see before visiting.  If you don't see information on the map, email the owner and ask if they can update their information. 

As an owner, you can show where key locations are in relation to your property; these might include museums, shops, restaurants, activities or even airports.  

In your Member’s area under Property Listing click on MAP, you will see how easy Google Maps are to use.  For an example of a member that has added many local attractions view here then click on the ‘map’ tab.   If you would like any assistance in building up your map profile, email us.  Update your map, share some of the great features around your home and look forward to getting more information on places you will visit in the future.   

By adding interesting information to your listing you will gain more interest in your property, thus leading to more trades and travel for you! 

Home Exchange anxiety: here is how we can help.


A checklist to use when choosing a home exchange membership

You have embraced the idea of exploring a new location and enjoying a local home, if it is your first
exchange you will most likely at some point have some anxiety.  Will the home you are visiting really be all it is promoted to be?  Will the visitors to your home treat everything with the same care and respect you do?  These questions and feelings are natural.  Remember that anxiety can also come before a hotel based vacation; is it really like the brochure or are the pictures ten years old?  How can you overcome this anxiety?  

Look to your home exchange network for assistance.  The most reputable organisations have established methods of verifying facts about its members.  This is by identifying experienced traders and having a guestbook of comments for future traders to read about previous trades.  There are also various methods of validation of identities and property features.   While no system is foolproof, it is always good to take steps toward ensuring that you will have the best experience possible.  At IVHE we have a 4 Star Verification service that give you peace of mind about your host and your guests.  
  
If you are an owner of a second / vacation property you might specifically be interested in a home exchange network that offers its members a credit based systems.   Credits place a value on both the time of the exchange as well as the type of property.  A good example is the notion of a holiday or high seasons.  Having a beachfront home in summer is worth more than during the winter, just like a ski in ski out chalet is more valuable during the ski season.  We all know of small apartments in cities like New York, London or Paris that are worth many times more than a large countryside home.  At IVHE our unique credit system gives you great flexibility for your trades and gives you the right value for when you host another exchanger.

Would you like to exchange with only other Seniors?  This is an added option on a select number of home exchange sites.  IVHE also offers this option, see our Seniors Exchange information. 

The internet is a perfect place to start your research on the various home exchange networks.  Remember to ask yourself the above questions and think about what type of exchange community is best for you. 

Would you like a FREE Home Exchange Membership Checklist to help you determine which network is best for you, simply email us here.  We’ll email you a checklist within 24 hours.


There are many options; you might consider joining more than one exchange to expand your opportunities.  The most important of all is to start traveling and have fun!  Enjoy!

An IVHE Fishing Holiday



Fish for a trophy, fish for dinner, fish for the fun of it
on an IVHE holiday by the water


Nestled by an ocean, sea, bay, lake, river, estuary, creek, stream, bayou, billabong, fen or fjord, an International Vacation Home Exchange property by the water offers more than the usual relaxation vibe – it offers opportunities for thrilling water sports activities, the whopper of them all being fishing.

If you are an avid angler and expressly want  accommodations that offers fishing as an activity, go to www.ivhe.com  In the upper right hand corner you’ll see “Vacation Selections.” Click it and a drop-down menu will appear with a variety of vacation categories. One will be “Fishing Locations For Home Exchange.”
Photo source: flickr, Bill Brine

Here you will find locations where fishing is happening,  from Tasmania to Trinidad, Scotland to South Africa and luxury homes to serve as your “fish camp.” 
Some of the best places in the world for deep-sea fishing may be debatable, but here are a few that many fishing fanatics agree on,  as well as a few examples of IVHE properties in each area: 



Phuket, ThailandWaiting for you in the clear blue waters of the Andamen Sea are monster marlin and tuna, queenfish, giant trevally, sea bass and huge carp, catfish and barbs. Your IVHE home in Phuket is a four-bedroom detached villa with private pool.





Capetown, South Africa – The waters off the coast of this beautiful city are known for its bounty of huge tuna and other game fish. Set out from your four-bedroom home on Hout Bay to catch a few. The home has a private pool and gorgeous mountain views.





Cabo San Lucas, MexicoKnown as the Marlin Capital of the World, Cabo has a strict catch-and-release policy to keep the marlin population from being depleted. Bring your camera to record your catch.  But there are other fighters in the water, so don’t despair– Dorado and yellowfin tuna to name a few. You will stay in a stunning four-bedroom hacienda with spectacular ocean views.





Costa Rica –Two coasts from which to chose, both are excellent sport fishing grounds. The coast of Limon on the Caribbean side is great for mackerel, dorado, jack crevalle, tarpon and tripletail.  The waters of Puntarenas on the Pacific side are where you will likely land marlin, tuna, roosterfish, wahoo and snook. On the Pacific, IVHE offers this three-bedroom jungle and beach retreat.
 
Victoria, Australia –
One of the best places in the world to fish for shark – hammerhead, bronze whaler, common thresher, organic blue whaler, gummy shark and many others great and small. Stay in a three-bedroom house on the Great Ocean Road with great ocean views.







Portugal, Algarve
– Shark fishing is quite successful  here, as well as marlin and a good variety of other fish, including corvina of up to 100 lbs. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe with lots of things to brighten your holiday in addition to fishing. Stay five minutes from the beach in a luxury two-bedroom townhouse. 

Property #0563: Portugal, Algarve.




Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
  -- Excellent opportunities here to land a big tuna, wahoo, shark, or amazing blue marlin. Your place to stay in sunny Tenerife is a three-bedroom privately owned “Presidential Suite” in a beautiful holiday resort. The apartment overlooks the pool and there is a shared hot tub to soak in after a wild day of fishing. Cleaning services daily.

Good fishing destinations in the Caribbean Islands and North America are endless.  Cities along the Gulf of Mexico and up the eastern seaboard to Nova Scotia are home to a wide variety of ocean, marsh, bay and bayou species.  Across the interior, Minnesota, called “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” offers muskie, walleye and great northern pike, bass, and a variety of other fish. The Great Lakes, on both the U.S. and Canadian side, have many of the same species to challenge the fresh-water angler.  Fly fishing for trout in the mountain streams of Colorado and Montana is popular, and in the Pacific Northwest, and in British Columbia, salmon and halibut are the catches of the day. 
 

Photo source: flickr, Rodmob Fishing Podcast

Freshwater fishing in Europe is as varied and thrilling as the scenery.  Check out IVHE properties in County Cork and County Kerry on the West Coast of Ireland.  The rivers and lakes there are jumping with trout and Atlantic salmon.  In Switzerland, the alpine lakes surrounded by snow-capped mountains are a fly-fishing paradise.  You will also find great trout fishing in the gentle streams of Tuscany.

Photo source: flickr, Clinton and Charles Roberts

Pursuing different kinds of fish calls for specialized gear and know how. Unless you will be bringing all the right stuff with you, hiring a fishing guide or charter boat is a great idea. They usually furnish all you need to snag the big ones. And in most cases, they will clean and fillet your catch so you can take fish-ready-for-dinner back to your IVHE fish camp without stressing over the butchering process and remnant disposal.


Ask your host about what kind of fishing license you will need and how to get it. Online will probably work in most cases.

Whether you are an experienced angler or a novice, fishing will add an exhilarating dimension of adventure to your home exchange holiday. Good luck.


If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange, find out more about it and how it works.  For more pictures and details on the accommodations featured above, just click the property #.


Blogmeister: Mike DiPrima


10 Great Reasons to Home Exchange to France


While many of us can list hundreds of great reasons to visit France, we believe the following might be in everyone's top 10, enjoy.  

Food and Drink: each region has its own specialties. You will never be the same after tasting some wonderful cheese and baguette!

Middle of Europe: you can experience both the southern Mediterranean culture and the northern coast line and city culture. Both are unique and create a special variety for your to enjoy.

Landscapes: The southern beaches along the French Rivera are well known for their relaxing beauty, while the northern coast is rich in history and quaint towns.  You also have the variety of vineyards and farms to the rugged French Alps. 

Rich in History: Lots of Châteaux (Loire Valley) and other historical monuments to discover (Mont Saint-Michel, Avignon).  France is home to 39 UNESCO World Heritage sites.  .

Lots of big Festivals and Events: Fête des Lumières in Lyon, Festival of Theater and Comedy in Avignon, Christmas markets in Strasbourg and Colmar, Ferias in the South West during Summer, Lemon Carnival in Menton, Provencal Markets…
 
Discover the French lifestyle: take your time, drink a coffee on a terrace, L’apéro.

Skiing resorts in Alps Mountains: Tignes, Courchevel, Chamonix and Megève are some of the best resorts in the world surrounded by the breathtaking Mont-Blanc.

Theme parks for children: Disney Land Paris, Marineland in Antibes, Futuroscope, Puy du Fou, Walibi are some of the theme parks for the whole family to enjoy in France.

Architecture is different in every part of France. You don’t have the impression to stay in the same country. Here is the list of the most beautiful villages of France.

Art: France is well-known for being the country of numerous artists. France is a country which highly protect its art. Painters such as: Nicolas Poussin, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Monet, Manet, Delacroix, Toulouse-Lautrec.  Writers include: Camut, Zola, Hugo, Stendhal, Chateaubriand, and Proust.  With plenty of museums of art and history France is bountiful in art, and of course the most famous of all, The Louvre.  

With International Vacation Home Exchange (IVHE.com) you can enjoy France with all the comforts of staying in a wonderful home.  View some of your French choices today.  

Power Up for Home Exchange


*      Traveling today means packing a spaghetti bowl of electrical supply cords for our mobile / cell phone, tablet / iPad / Kindle, digital camera, iPod.... the list goes on.  The good news with home exchange is that often the the host will have the household essentials available for you to use, so packing some of the electrical cords is simply not necessary. Many homes have a iPod dock and charger, hair dryers, and certainly most kitchen necessities.  Always good to send your host a quick note to verify what they have available. *spaghetti luggage tag from Zazzle 

For those necessary items that you need to recharge, it is important to know what 
electrical power and sockets are going to be at your destinations around the world.  If you plan on bringing your laptop, tablet, mobile phone, etc. you will want to be able to charge them while on vacation.  This helpful info-graphic will assist you on the types of sockets around the globe.  Most airports and travel shops certainly sell adapters to meet your needs.   Hopefully we have got you charged up to travel.



7 Things To Consider When Buying a Vacation / Holiday Home



You are considering buying a dedicated vacation home, but might also want to let it out to cover expenses. This guest blog is from Property Venture® an award-winning, overseas, real estate agency, offers some advice on what to consider before doing this.

1.       What is most important to get right?

When buying a vacation or holiday home, which you might want to let out, it is worth considering, who else might find it an attractive place to stay. Who exactly is the type of vacationer or holiday-maker you want to attract?
Is it the standard family of four? If so then ensuring the outside area is practical and can be sectioned off for small children, so the pool doesn’t become a hazard, ought to be a priority. What’s more, there can be strict regulations about this in many countries, which may require extra expenditure before you can let out a property.

2.       What makes a good Vacation or Holiday Let property?
Most people going on holiday want to be in close proximity to amenities, the beach, restaurant, bars, with lots of activities for the kids. So whilst a remote farmhouse cottage might seem dreamy to you, it could be more niche when it comes to successfully letting out your home and you are likely to face dwindling returns.
What’s more, if you buy a run-of-the-mill two-bed apartment on a huge development, where lots of others are renting out their holiday homes, then you are going to need a serious point of difference to make it stand out from the crowd. If you don’t, then you could face regular rental period voids.

3.       What makes a good Vacation or Holiday Let location?
Coastal locations are always good, or near main cities. So in Spain the Costa del Sol is usually a good bet, near main conurbations like Marbella, or on the Costa Blanca, places like Altea, Denia and Javea have long been favourites for British, German and Scandinavian buyers, so it is possible to appeal to a broader group of holiday-letters.

4.       Returns on a Holiday let can differ by country.
In places like Turkey, which has become increasingly popular as a tourist destination, bigger villas tend to be in short supply in certain destinations, so these tend to rent out quicker and at a decent price. Given the cost of living is lower, running costs are reasonable, so enabling decent net returns.

5.       What type of Vacation home?
It isn't always about sun, sea and sand. Take somewhere like Krakow, Poland, which is hugely popular as a city-centre break, given its history, culture, arts and entertainment. Culture-vultures could not choose a better place as a base from which to explore parts of Europe, cost-effectively.
Cities like Barcelona are perennial favourites to a whole host of different nationalities, because of accessibility by air, high-speed rail links and sea. Its architectural heritage, and relaxed lifestyle act as a magnet.

If it is about the seaside, then consider coasts where the temperatures are higher, longer and have lots of amenities like Golf, which can help extend the holiday rental period from March through to October.

6.       How can I reduce the effort I have to spend letting it out?
Vacation or holiday letting tends to require more effort than a standard buy-to-let property, due, in part, to a higher turnover of renters for shorter periods of time. So it is worth bearing in mind, looking after the vacationers you attract will go a long way to reducing effort. Repeat vacationers or holiday makers, is less effort than attracting a first-time holiday-maker.

7.       Allocate time
If you want to maximise holiday rental returns, it is wise to think through the effort you might need to put in, even if you have an agent on the ground to look after the property and check people in and out. Certainly in the early stages to get an established rental pattern.


Property Venture® is an award-winning, independent, UK-based agency for overseas property who helps people buy holiday homes and investment property in Europe. Buyers get the best of both worlds, foreign national buyer advice and local in-market insight.

Christmas in New York




Christmas in New York: 
A magical time for an IVHE vacation
Photo source: flickr, Michael Ostendorp
From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, through Hannuka, Christmas, and the the New Year’s Eve ball drop, holiday excitement is nonstop in the City That Never Sleeps. This year, breakaway from home for one or more of these holidays and do a merry IVHE home exchange vacation in New York City. Eat, drink and be merry in restaurants from African to Vietnamese; shop in stores transformed into fairylands with out-of-this-world decorations; see spectacles and shows that will live in your heart forever.

Christmas merchandise and decorations will have been up in the stores weeks before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is held on the fourth Thursday in November, setting the stage for the unofficial start of the holiday season. This year’s extravaganza will be the 87th.


Photo source: flickr, Caltee Smith
When it comes to a holiday event for the kids, Macy’s Parade is one of the best. Cartoon character balloons, some as high as five stories, float down skyscraper-lined streets and avenues with the guidance of handlers numbering up to 90 for each balloon. There’s Spider Man, Hello Kitty, Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and many others sure to keep a child jumping with excitement. And there’s marching bands from around the country, lavish floats decorated in holiday themes, and performers on the street or or floats, many from the casts of current Broadway Musicals. The final float in the parade features Santa Clause himself. And so it begins

The day after thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. In New York and in cities around the country, stores and shops cut their prices drastically to give Christmas gift-buying a hefty start. Throngs of people line up early in the morning to take advantage of this retail bonanza. If you would like to join them, be ready for an exhilirating stampede when the doors open. And prepare yourself for some excellent buys.

The city’s biggest department stores try to outdo each other with holiday window displays. It’s fun to stroll around the city to see the colorful, clever creations of each. You can take a self guided tour lasting about an hour and a half by starting on the northeast end with Bloomingdales, over to Barney’s on Madison Avenue and down Fifth Avenue to Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Lord & Taylor and finally over to Macy’s on east 34th street at Herald Square. Wear warm clothes and sensible shoes. And enjoy.














On the evening of December 3, thousands of people will crowd the sidewalks around Rockefeller Center (between West 48th and West 51st. Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues) for the lighting of the tallest Christmas tree in the country. Thousands of lights come to life on this stupendous tree and dazzle onlookers as Christmas music and carols fill the plaza and ice-skating rink. The tree will remain lit every night until January 7th, so if you miss the lighting ceremony you can still see this festive tree at a not-so-hectic time.


Photo source: flickr, Ralph Dally
A visit to New York would not be complete without taking in a show or two. There are more musicals, plays, holiday shows, and off Broadway productions than ever before. The Book of Mormon, Alladin, Jersey Boys, Wicked – the list goes on. But there is one show that only runs during the holiday season and is not to be missed – The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the precision dancing and kicklines of the famous Radio City Rockettes.  From their “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” to their unique interpretation of “The Nutcracker,” performances by the Rockettes are a joy to watch for young and old. The show runs from November 7 thru December 31. Tickets to this and other theatre shows can be ordered at http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/

On December 16, the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights begins in the city with the lighting of the first candle on the world’s largest menorah (at Grand Army Plaza, 5th Ave. and 59th St.). On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, a candle will be lit and the holiday celebrated with live music, hot latkes, and gifts for the children.

Photo source: gigi_nyc
Wrap up your New York holiday with a party like no other. It takes place in Times Square where an estimated one million people gather on New Year’s Eve to count down to midnight in unison as the famous New Year’s Eve Crystal Ball slowly descends “… 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … HAPPY NEW YEAR! … and the crowd goes wild, noisemakers rattle and hoot, a blizzard of confetti fills the air , and fireworks explode overhead. Celebrating the beginning of a new year continues into the night with star-studded musical performances.

The International Vacation Home Exchange offers four properties in Manhattan, from the Upper West Side to Greenwich Village. Each property is as unique as its neighborhood.

Property #0133: Greenwich Village --
4-bedroom, 3-floor, 2400 sq. ft. townhouse. Greenwich Village is mostly an upper middle class
residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan. New York
University (NYU) is located here. This IVHE townhouse is on Washington Mews, a one-block long cobbled street closed off to traffic. The neighborhood has hundreds of restaurants and coffee shops. Washington Square Park, marked by a large arch, has a fountain, playgrounds, gardens, bocce court and chess tables. Subwaylines are close by. The townhouse is nicely furnished and kitchen is fully-equipped. Appliances include a dishwasher and clothes washer and dryer.

Property #0638: West 57th Street -- 1-bedroom apartment in an amazing Victorian building. This midtown apartment is housed in an 1885 landmark building on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the height of luxury back in its day and remains so today. This majestic apartment has a ceiling height of over 14 ft, hand-carved woodwork, shuttered bay windows, parquet floors and stained glass windows marked Tiffany & Co. Carnegie Hall is across the street. Lincoln Center and the Theater District are short strolls away, as are the 57th Street art galleries, The Museum of Art & Design, The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Central Park.

Property #0908: Upper West Side -- 2-bedroom apartment near Columbia University.  The Upper West Side is a distinguished cultural epicenter, home to the American Museum of Natural History, the New-York Historical Society, the historic Beacon Theatre and Lincoln Center where audiences can enjoy live opera, jazz, ballet and theater performances.
The apartment features exposed brick in the living room and master bedroom, skylights, and high ceilings. You can go out on the roof and watch barges and ships navigate the Hudson River; or step outside, turn right, and in a minute you’re on Broadway with its neighborhood markets, cafes, restaurants and shops.

Property #0969: Chelsea -- 2 bedroom exclusive apartment for direct swap
Hard drivin’ rockers from the 60’s and 70’s used to hang out here in droves; not so much today, but partiers and clubgoers can still find some of New York’s most rocking spots in Chelsea. Since the mid-90s, there’s been a boom in art, culture, architecture and celebrity and a complement of homegrown shops, cozy restaurants, and warm cafes. Your IVHE apartment is in the heart of Chelsea; an easy walk to the Empire State Building, 5th Avenue, Times Square and Penn Station. The building has a doorman and valet service.



In addition you can choose from three fabulous properties in Brooklyn (above) only 8 minutes on the subway from Manhattan!  These stunning listing are: 1022, 1023 and 1024.

For more information on each of these Manhattan exchange homes, click the property # by each one. If you are not familiar with the International Vacation Home Exchange and would like to find out more about its unique exchange program, visit www.ivhe.com and click how it works.



Bank On A Good Exchange Rate



Even something as seemingly complex as managing your currency exchange in relation to an overseas property purchase can be simple and cost effective if you use the right tools for the job. Choosing the right tool will depend on your circumstances, the property you are buying, the convincing process in your chosen country as well as the currency market conditions.  But there are some basic principles which will help.  This month's blog posting is from Halo Financial.

Buying a property, will usually involve a number of payments; either ad hoc or in a stage payment plan. Thankfully, ensuring your budget doesn't get stretched is a relatively simple process. Your initial payments can be booked as 'Spot' transactions. These are agreements to exchange a fixed amount of currency and a set exchange rate within a few days of the contract being struck.

If you want to set the exchange rate for the stage payments, you can do so with what are known as 'Forward' contracts whereby you agree an exchange rate today for a set amount of currency but delay the settlement of the contract until a date up to 2 years in the future. This is a godsend for those who want to cut out all of the currency risk from their plans and it is even more attractive when the exchange rate in question is particularly attractive at the time.

Achieving the best exchange rate for either a Spot or Forward contract is best achieved using another particularly useful tool. The currency market is a 24/7 melee of volatility so catching the best price can be a very hit and miss process. Far better to target an exchange rate which suits your needs and place an ‘Automated’ order into the market at that level which will be triggered if that rate is available anywhere in the world at any time.

Use the right tool and you will save yourself burned fingers and lost opportunities.  Getting the best rate on currency transactions can save you a fortune.  For more information visit Halo Financial.  

Individuals - Foreign Exchange and Currency Rates From Halo Financial

Want To Benefit From More Than House Swap?


SHARE ECONOMY EXPANDS BEYOND HOMES

People who participate in home exchange know the value of enjoying travel experiences from the perspective of a local.  House swapping was an early adopter in the sharing economy, even before people started calling it the sharing economy. Recently, a multitude of new companies have launched services that help people “share” resources. Sharing doesn’t necessarily mean free, but it can translate into significant savings, and it can lead to some really interesting local experiences.

We would like to thank ShareTraveler for this guest posting.  Here’s there list of top sharing economy services for house swappers.

Transportation

You might want to rent a car to explore the French countryside during your home exchange to Lyon. If you don't like the choices with traditional rental car companies, consider peer to peer car rental services like BuzzCar.com Tamyca.de and Drivy.com. They generally have better pricing with more diversity of vehicles and pick up locations compared to traditional car rental services. If you are a car owner this is also a way to earn some extra cash instead of paying for airport parking by leaving your car with FlightCar.com.

If you are just looking for a way to get from one destination to the next consider ridesharing. It's a cheap way to get around that's growing in popularity, especially in Europe. And while you save money, I think one of the best benefits of ridesharing is the local people you meet and the entertainment of conversations during your ride. Drivers join a website such as BlaBlaCar.com or CarPooling.com, where they post upcoming trips they are taking and how many open seats they have, along with a price per seat. Then riders can sign up to join those trips. Drivers and riders get reviewed, and in some cases you can select traveling companions based on features like how talkative they are. This is often cheaper than taking the train or bus, and a pleasant way to meet locals and travel in comfort without all the unnecessary stops inherent to public transportation.

Tours, Activities and Food

Tours and guided activities are fun way to explore while traveling. If you like large tours that hit all the standard tourist spots, you are probably happy with existing tour companies. But for those looking for a different experience, consider using a peer to peer travel experience website. Of the companies in this business today, vayable.com is the largest and most sophisticated. They offer a platform for people to buy and sell travel experiences, activities, and extended trips. Events cover a wide range of prices and experiences. My search of options in Barcelona turned up a $10 two hour roller skating tour, a $240 tour of the city in a convertible, and a $1,995 food and wine week, in addition to culinary classes, night life, photography, art, yoga, and a nudist beach visit, with most prices under $100.

A newcomer to the sharing economy is meal hosting. For travelers, this means an opportunity to eat in the home of a local, sharing a home cooked meal with locals and other travelers. There are a few variations on this theme, but the main option from sites like EatWith.com, TravelingSpoon.com, Cookening.com and MealSharing.com facilitate a cook hosting a group of people for a meal in their home. People attending might be locals in search of a good meal, or travelers looking to enjoy home cooking in the place they are visiting. They're not necessarily cheap, but if you like food tourism, these are great websites to check out.

Boats and Recreational Gear

It’s now possible to find vacation toys through peer to peer rentals. Companies like Boatbound.co and GetMyBoat.com facilitate boat rentals directly from their owners, from luxury yachts to kayaks. And you can find all sorts of adventure gear including ATVs, bikes, RVs, snowmobiles and surfboards on sites like Propaloo.com and Qraft.com.

Pet Sitting

For travelers with pets doing a home exchange, it’s worth looking for a swap partner who also has pets and is willing to swap pet care. This is free and you are already entrusting these folks with your home so it’s not a big stretch to also trust they will care for your pets like their own.

If pet swapping isn’t an option, there are some peer to peer websites to help you find a good sitter. Companies like DogVacay.com, BorrowMyDoggie.com and Holidog.com match dog owners with locals. They include reviews, match you with sitters based on criteria you can specify, and allow payment online through the website. Some even provide pet insurance.

Summary

There are a lot of great new services for travelers in the sharing economy, providing opportunities to enhance your trips, enjoy new experiences, meet locals, and save some money along the way. For a complete list of peer to peer travel services, I've created searchable tables along with reviews and resources at www.sharetraveler.com.

Buying Property In Spain?


10 Top Tips For Buying Property In Spain

Buying your dream vacation property in Spain is exciting however getting over the legal obstacles of the buying process can seem daunting.

The more information you have about the property and the Spanish legal process the better so Worldwide Lawyers have provided a list of ten basic tips to help you buy your dream Spanish property with minimum hassle!

1. Find a good Spanish lawyer

Instructing a reliable Spanish lawyer from the outset can prove to be invaluable and can minimise any worry and hassle later on. Your lawyer should be entirely independent from the estate agent or any developer so that you can be confident that they will work only to protect your interests and not any other party.

You should check that the Spanish lawyer is registered with the relevant bar association, that they have professional indemnity insurance and have experience dealing with international transactions. They also need to speak your language! 

2. Get a property survey

If your walls do not provide the strength required to support the roof or if your swimming pool starts to sink further down into the valley, you may find that the relatively small price of a survey would have been money well spent.

If you wouldn't buy a home in England without a survey, why do it in Spain?!

3. Check the ownership of the property 

You will need to ensure that the names of the registered owners of the property match the information you have about the sellers. (This may sound obvious but you would be surprised!). 

This information is set out on a report known as the Nota Simple. This is a document provided by the Land Registry in Spain and provides information about the property. 

4. Check the description of the property 

The boundaries, the total area of the land and details of the property will need to checked against what you have actually seen. 

Never ever buy a property without actually going to see it first- You may laugh but this does happen!

5. Know the applicable local laws

Check out the how the property is classified (i.e. is it rustico, urbano or urbanizable) as this may affect how regional laws may be applied to the property.

You should also check when buying rural land that is not reserved for agricultural use and that full permission has been obtained for residential use.. 

Considering buying a coastal property? It has been known for properties to be built on public coastal land without the required consents. Check with your lawyer whether such laws could affect the property you wish to purchase.

6. Check building permissions have been complied with

It is not uncommon for resale properties in Spain to have extensions or additions carried out without planning permission. Check with your lawyer that any such alterations are identified, and legalized before you proceed to buy the property.


7. Determine any future building restrictions

If you are buying the property due to its development potential you should make sure you ask your lawyer to check the latest town the town planning department of the local town hall to see if the land you wish to buy is affected by any building restrictions, green zones or public pathways etc.

8. Ensure there are no debts against the property

In Spain debts such as mortgages and unpaid taxes are attached to the property rather that the individual. Your lawyer should ask to see proof of payment of the mortgage, utilities, taxes and any community fees to ensure that any debts have been paid before you purchase the property

9. Find out the extra costs of your property purchase

Purchase Tax is charged on the local council’s valuation of the property and not the purchase price of the property. You should ensure that you know the cadastral value of the property and how much purchase tax will be due. 

You should also find out what the continuing costs associated with the property will be and check that you can realistically afford these.

10. Check out the rental restrictions

Some regions of Spain do not allow properties to be let to tourists as short-term holiday lets. Breaches of these regulations can lead to heavy fines. 

Even if you are not planning to rent out the property yourself, you should check whether any such regulations apply to your property as this could impact on the resale value of your property.

This list is not-exhaustive and there is no substitute for the advice of a property qualified and experienced independent Spanish lawyer who can guide you through the buying process. 

If you need assistance from a lawyer in Spain, contact Worldwide Lawyers who will be able to point you in the right direction.

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