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.

Home Exchange sounds good

IVHE home exchange

Find the right network for you!

What type of exchange is best for you? 

Is bigger really any better?

How easy is it to find the location, activities and type of accommodation that you enjoy for vacations?

You love to travel and the benefits of home exchange sounds appealing, now comes your first step, finding an exchange network to join. Before instantly signing up to a club or network you should consider what are the most important criteria for you. The questions above will help you in make the right decision. 

If you are only interested in Direct Exchanges then you have many options, just remember that you will have to find a location and home that matches the same time you will want to swap. 
If you want the flexibility of a Non-Simultaneous exchange, there are only a select number of memberships available. It is not an either/or decision as some organisation offer their members both Direct and Non-Simultaneous Exchanges. When doing your research check to ensure you are getting what you want. 

Bigger is not always better. When you start looking on the internet, many organisations claim to have the world’s largest or most listings. One of them has to be the biggest, but why may this not matter to you? What really matters is you find the right exchange for you – this means locations, type of accommodation, type of exchanges and homes with good amenities. We have found that in an effort to look big, there is what we call in the industry, a lot of dead wood. These are home listings that have been around for years but are no longer valid. It will be extremely frustrating trawling through hundreds of property listings, wasting a lot of your time trying to find someone to respond to your inquiries Be careful to select a home exchange organisation that manages their listings, keeping them current and up to date, and can offer you assistance when needed. 

Now is a good time to talk about price. Some exchange networks offer a free listing. Two sayings come to mind you get what you pay for and rarely is anything really free. When home swapping sites offer free listings there will inevitably be properties on the site that are old or have owners that really are committed to communicate. This will waste your time and will reduce your pleasure in the whole home exchange experience. The other thing that often happens with a free listing is that home owners can list their property, but they cannot respond or communicate to inquiries without paying. This will cause delays in communication, another waste of your time. Remember that you are most likely going to save thousands of pounds, euros or dollars on home swapping, so the small cost of joining a reputable home exchange community makes sense; saving you time, avoiding frustration and giving you a much better experience in home exchanging.

Ireland Home Exchange

 Magical countryside, vibrant big city, dramatic coast:
Northern Ireland has it all
and IVHE homes you’ll love.

Photo source: flickr, Etrusia UK
Northern Ireland is the smallest country in the United Kingdom. You can drive from the Mountains of Mourne in the south to the pounding surf on the North Coast in about 2.5 hours. And marvel at natural beauty all the way. Northern Ireland is a good thing in a small package that holds the promise of a big, exciting holiday. 
Photo source: flickr, Iker Merodio 
Belfast, the country’s capital, is situated in County Antrim, one of six counties comprising Northern Ireland. It has survived three decades of paramilitary conflict and is today a peaceful, vibrant, modern city with lots to see and do.

The Titanic was built here when Belfast was an important shipbuilding centre. The Titanic Belfast museum chronicles the great ship from its birth to its tragic end. 
The Odyssey Entertainment Complex is another spot popular with locals and visitors alike. It has a children’s science center, a laser-tag gaming area, 12 cinemas, and an 8,000 seat arena for various events.
Cultural attractions abound in Belfast with a variety of museums, theatres and galleries, and a grand Opera House. The outstanding Botanic Gardens and Park is a living canvas of seasonal color and is an important venue for concerts and festivals.
Festivals and events are big throughout Northern Ireland, not just in Belfast-- including fairs, sporting events, music festivals (classical, popular and traditional Irish) visual and performing arts, and guided walks. 
The scenic Lakelands region hosts the Fermanagh Walking Festival in October. It may be a bit of a huff and puff up 2,182 foot Cuilcagh Mountain, but it offers spectacular views of the lakes and colorful autumn foliage.

Other autumn events include: The William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh in mid-November; the Northern Ireland Festival of Racing the first weekend in November at Lisburn’s Down Royal Racecourse; the Mount Stewart Gardens Festival of Lights in Newtownards, the first three weekends in November.
Along the border of the Republic of Ireland, you can also explore one of the largest geoparks and cave networks in Europe – the Marble Arch Caves. Take a guided underground boat trip and see a natural netherworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding pathways and vaulted chambers. The experience is unforgettable. Both the Caves and the Cuilcagh Mountain Park are jointly recognized as a UNESCO Glopbal Geopark.

Photo source: flickr, Yves Consentino
County Antrim is also home to the stunning North Coast, a place of awesome beauty where the scenic and rugged coastline blends into a landscape of pastoral glens and lush forest parks. This region is known for its spectacular waterfalls, brooding castles and mysterious ruins, but its most outstanding attraction is the world famous Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage site.

Giant's Causeway is an extraordinary formation of some 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns rising out of the sea. They were created by volcanic activity over 60 million years ago. It is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to rock formations, you will find beautiful unspoiled sandy beaches along the coast.

No visit to Northern Ireland would be complete without a tour of the world’s oldest licensed whiskey (Irish whiskey, of course) distillery – Old Busmills’. The distillery hosts some 120,000 visitors annually and has been distilling spirits in the County Antrim area since 1608.
The International Vacation Home Exchange offers three properties in Northern Island:
Ireland home exchange property 0905: The Lakeland District

A modern comfortable three-bedroom house on Lough Erne close to three villages – Pettigo (3 miles), Belleek (8 miles) and Kesh (8 miles). The villages offer opportunities for fishing, water sports, nature walks, pubs, restaurants, and shopping – especially for the famous parian fine china produced at Belleek Pottery.

In addition to a spacious living room, the house has a sun room, fully equipped kitchen, dining room, office, and en-suite bathrooms in each of the three bedrooms. You have stunning views of the lake (Lough Erne) from the garden and living room. The host of this lovely house will make a car available to guests for no extra credits.

Property #Home exchange 0892 – The North Coast

A cozy four-bedroom bungalow in the town of Portrush -- a short drive from the Giant’s Causeway and only an hour away from Belfast.

You can stroll to one of the many long sandy beaches in the area in just 15 minutes. Many restaurants and first-class golf courses are also nearby. The house has a large south-facing private garden – secure for children to enjoy -- with a secluded patio area and gas grill. It also features a living room with a friendly fireplace, a sun room, and well-equipped kitchen.

Home Swap 894 – Belfast 
This charming three bedroom house in a quiet neighborhood is offered as a direct swap to those over 50 only.
The house features a lovely garden, internet access, wifi, TV and DVD player. It is within a 10-minute drive to both the city centre and the countryside. Shops, restaurants and churches are in easy walking distance.
Visit to find out more about the International Vacation Home Exchange and the properties they offer around the world.
For additional information on these lovely homes in Northern Ireland, click the property #s above.

Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima

Shoulder season Home Exchange

Take your IVHE holiday during the 
easy-going shoulder season

Photo source: flickr, nubobo 

Traveling during non-peak times is smart. Things are cheaper. Crowds are smaller. Waiters aren’t as surly. The weather may be changing but its usually pleasant And Autumn or Spring presents nature at her colorful best. It’s a more relaxed time of year that invigorates your enthusiasm for life.

The shoulder season is considered to be the few weeks before or after the peak period. Getaways during this time are customarily taken as “mini-vacations” lasting less than a week. Unless you have kids in school, reconsider shoulder seasons for a “major” vacation of 10 days or more.

You’ll already be off to a good start by making your shoulder-season holiday an IVHE one. You save hundreds of dollars on accommodations by doing a direct or credits-based exchange. Cash doesn’t enter the transaction. Don’t forget: your host may be open to negotiation to lower your credits requirement. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

The key to reaping the most benefits from your shoulder-season home exchange vacation is to be as relaxed as the season and try not to cram your itinerary full. Plan a few must-do activities and must-see sights, but leave some time for unexpected surprises such as free concerts in the park, local events that aren’t in the guide book, colorful market places you might stumble upon, or sidewalk artists at work (chances are you’ll find a piece you love). Ask your host or some of the locals if there is anything going on that might be fun to explore. The unplanned often makes for a memorable vacation. 

Make room in your itinerary for the planned and the to-be-discovered, but also, by all means, time for rest and relaxation. Staying in a private IVHE home can be as relaxing as your own, maybe more so if it has amenities you don’t have, a comfortably-different ambiance, and views that make you go “ahhh.”

Dining out is one of the pleasures of a vacation. But it’s nice to know that your IVHE home has a fully-equipped kitchen where you can whip up a taste of home if the craving gets intense, or a place to experiment with recipes of local specialties.
Another great thing about an IVHE home exchange vacation is you have a host or a special contact person who is more than willing to suggest activities, attractions, restaurants, nightspots, and the best places to pursue a special interest. If you are vacationing in an exotic destination where the language and customs are unfamiliar, your host can provide invaluable helpful tips and advice.

You might strongly consider hiring a private local guide to take you around and provide a bit of educational narrative as you go. Your host probably knows where to find a reliable one. A guide is well worth the little extra cost to save you the stress of navigating uncharted waters or joining an expensive, regimented tour with a gaggle of strange strangers.
Many IVHE home exchange hosts make cars available to their guests with the proper licensing and insurance. If you are not intimidated by traffic or you are in a location where traffic congestion is not an issue, this amenity is one to take advantage of. It can save you a bundle of money over renting a car – money you can use on drive-it-yourself excursion trips and souvenir shopping.

If a car is not available, think about how you will get around at your destination before you leave. Your host may include a free shuttle service from the airport. Your IVHE home swap accommodation may be centrally located, allowing you to walk to many places of interest. It may also be convenient to local public transportation. Subways, trains, trams and buses usually offer day or longer passes that will be much cheaper than using a taxi. If you are going to rent a car, find a rental company that offers free pickup from the airport, which will save you the extra cost of an “airport fee.”

Shoulder-season vacations through the International Vacation Home Exchange are easy-going, indeed. In fact, IVHE holidays are easy-going almost anywhere in the world, year ‘round. If you have ever considered swapping your primary residence, a vacation rental, or your second home for vacation accommodations, find out how our system allows you to do that with flexibility and peace of mind. For more information, visit

Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima

Vacation Home Exchange Property Photos

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

 – guest blogger Natalia Robert

As a vacation property owner, you want your message to stand out from the clutter of voices online, as well as to create an oasis that will bring people back to you repeatedly. Not sure where to start? Here are some helpful tips for creating enticing images for your listings, and for creating a welcoming environment that will keep vacationers coming back to you every year!

1. Less is more. A vacation home needs to be a space that a family or couple can customize for themselves in a short amount of time. Anything that personally applies to you, such as personal photos, correspondence, or extra knick-knacks, will only get in the way of a vacationer's experience.

2. Give your space some personality! While you want to clear out personal clutter, you do want to keep decorative touches that maintain a theme throughout your space. For seaside properties, for example, a nautical theme is popular because it accentuates the location that is so desperately sought after by vacationers. Be sure to keep decor light and neutral so as to avoid making it feel dark and somber. For pops of color and contrast, consider accent pieces like pillows or light fixtures in strong colors.

3. Lighting, lighting, lighting. Nobody wants to walk into a vacation home and feel like they've walked into a cave. Accent lights throughout create a sense of warmth and brightness, and are welcoming to guests. Be sure to have lights directed towards corners or any unique architectural features.

4. Show off the best assets. Decorate around the property's best features. Does your property have spectacular views? Make sure all windows and glass doors are clean and well-functioning! Is the kitchen stocked with appliances? Include accessories in the kitchen to encourage cooking family meals.

5. Put yourself in their shoes. When planning out finishing touches for your guests, walk through what a typical day for them might be like. This will also help when filling in details of your listing, as well as when you guide the photographer as to what photos are needed to properly show off all the wonderful amenities.

6. Have fun with it! Don't forget kids and pets. Vacations often involve kids, and lots of families these days enjoy bringing their pet along for a trip. Consider toys and accessories for children or pets! Extra accessories like baby wipes, a rubber ducky for the tub, or a doggy treat can all make a big impact and help to bring those guests straight back to you next year.

7. Invest in photos. Be sure to have an experienced professional do photos for your listing. Listing photos are what grab the attention of potential renters, so be sure to use the slots in your listing wisely! These images will be used repeatedly to book your property, investing a bit of your budget in quality photos will pay for itself almost immediately.

Do you want photos that present your home in the best way, but are not ready to hire a professional photographer? Get your FREE e-book that will give you 5 tips to step up the quality of your interior architectural photos TODAY. Click here.

Natalia Robert's Bio:
As a San Diego based architectural photography business, serving both local and international clientele, founder and lead photographer Natalia Robert brings her background as an architectural designer forward to produce luxurious images that create a sense of warmth and culture. Natalia has lived and worked in three continents and her work can be seen in venues such as AirBnB, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyle, TEDxSanDiego events, countless small business websites and family home walls. Today, her furry co-pilot, Daisy, inspires a daily sense of wanderlust while serving as a reminder of how valuable it is to maintain a sense of HOME.

Mexico home exchange

A Lively Time for an IVHE home exchange
Holiday in Mexico
Photo source: flickr, Kevin
On the heels of Halloween, November 1 and 2, Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), a tradition that originated with the indigenous people in Pre-Colombian times and later adapted to the Christian All Saint’s Day.  The frivolity of  Halloween is still there but with the added dimension of reverence for the dead. On Dia de los Muertos, the return of their spirits is welcomed. It is believed that a veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is the thinnest on Muerto nights. Death as something spooky or an event to be feared is mocked with decorations depicting playful skeletons in all walks of life (er, former life that is) -- young and old, cowboys and office clerks, mothers and babies, dancers and musicians, you name it. Skull themes are everywhere. Even skull shaped candy for the kids. 
The festivities include colorful street parades with brass bands, mariachis and fireworks. Some towns stage comparsas, theatrical performances representing the return of the dead. The whole thing is a party to die for.

Photo source: flickr, Alex Pearson
While there is a lot going on during Muertos, the main stage is the local cemetery. Families erect elaborate memorial altars at the graves of their dearly departed, filling it with flowers, candles, decorations, and the deceased’s favorite food and drink. They cheerfully gather at the altars with candlelight vigils, mariachi music, shared bottles of tequila and picnics on the cemetery grounds.

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos are ideal times to visit Mexico. It is off season. Tourist traffic is down, the weather is mild, and you will be catching Mexico’s biggest fiesta of the year. It is also a great time to consider visiting inland cities. Non-coastal Mexico will amaze you. 
The International Vacation Home Exchange offers properties in two inland locations – the beautiful colonial cities of San Miguel de Allende in east/central Mexico and Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

Photo source: flickr, Andrew Gould
Oaxaca offers a treasure of historic colonial-era buildings and monuments, as well as native Zapotec and Mixtec cultures and archeological sites. A city of some 270,000, Oaxaca is filled with fantastic museums, colorful handicrafts, beautiful baroque churches, inexpensive markets and elegant five-star restaurants.

Monte Alban, a world Heritage Site six miles west of Qaxaca, is not to be missed. This is one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica and was the socio-political and economic center of the Zapotec empire for almost a thousand years

Property #0444 --
Cozy three-bedroom house
Your home in Oaxaca is a charming country house in a quiet wooded setting, yet it is only 15 minutes from the city’s main plaza. It has three bedrooms that can comfortably sleep five, a big kitchen, spacious living room, plus two terraces and a large garden.

San Miguel de Allende is another stunning colonial city with well preserved neoclassical and baroque style buildings.  These enchanting structures from the 17th and 18th Centuries are studies in color, texture and design.  No wonder an artists’ colony took root here in the late 30’s. Two world-class art schools were later
Photo source: flickr, Jluguang Want
established by foreign artists --  Instituto Allende and the Escuela de Bellas Artes. Artists and writers from Mexico and the world, as well as tourists and retirees, are still drawn to the city.

There are some 140,000 residents in the metro area. The actual town of San Miguel counts about 80,000. Of these, 10-15 % is ex-pat retirees, mostly from the United States.

Property #0418:
two bedroom home near the central plaza
This lovely hideaway is located just a few short blocks from the central plaza, "the Jardin," and within walking minutes from the Warren Hardy Language School, the San Juan de Dios Public Market, the Belles Artes, Angela Peralta Theater, the Instituto and Parke Juarez. 
It has an outdoor living room (sala) by the garden, and an inside living room with a 13-foot ceiling and walls of bookcases. The master bedroom on the second floor has a luxurious en-suite bathroom with a dressing room and lots of closet space. The home is architect-designed and furnished with an eclectic selection from some of San Miguel's leading interior designers. It is equipped with high-speed internet, cable television, and all the modern amenities you expect, yet it continues to radiate the warmth and charm of Colonial Mexico

Property #0462 –
Four-bedroom luxury home exchange
This four-bedroom, four-bath home is open and airy with unobstructed views of the city, a lake and the Sierra Madre Mountains. Each room has its own carved cantera fireplace and a full bath. A fully-equipped kitchen and spacious living room are on the first level, as well as an outdoor sala and barbeque grill. The master bedroom and bath and a second bedroom with a trundle bed are on this level. On the second level, you can walk out from either of two large bedrooms onto a terrace where you will find a secret garden and a stairway leading to the third level. There is a relaxing sitting area and a thriving herb garden on the third-level terrace.

A housekeeper is available three times a week or more if desired. A cook can also be arranged and payment made directly to him. A 2007 car is also available for your use with no extra credits required.

Click the property #’s above to find out more about these casa exchanges in Mexico. To find out more about the International Vacation Home Exchange that brings these, and hundred of other properties around the world, to you, visit

Blogsmith:  Mike DiPrima

Home swaps Down Under

Photo source: flickr, Rex Boggs

Australia’s Gold Coast City:
Queensland with a Midas touch

The Gold Coast of Queensland is Camelot by the sea, attracting millions of tourists annually from all over the world. They come for the sunny climate, amazing surfing beaches, major theme parks, world-class shopping, luxurious spas, championship golf courses, award-winning restaurants, and lively nightlife. If that’s not enough, festivals and events happen almost every month of the year, showcasing sporting and cultural events of every description.

With over 37 miles of beach and four impressive point breaks, Gold Coast offers some of the best, most consistent waves in Australia. No wonder it is home to a suburb called Surfers Paradise. If you’ve never surfed before, you can get expert instruction here or in neighboring Burleigh Heads.

After riding the waves, take a short ride westward and explore the World-Heritage-listed national parks of the Gold Coast hinterland. Especially notable for its natural beauty is Lamington National Park, 28 miles to the southwest. Awesome mountain views, waterfalls, crystal-clear pools, caves, rainforests, varied wildlife, towering forests -- they all make for a tranquil commune with nature and some of the best bushwalking in Queensland.

For the culture-centric, the Arts Centre Gold Coast is the premier venue for visual and performing arts. It features an art gallery exhibiting local and international works including painting, sculpture and new media.
The things to do and see on the Gold Coast are many. For all the available experiences, click here:

Waterfront living is a sought-after feature of Gold Coast real estate. There are over 550 miles (890 km) of constructed residential waterfront land within the city. Most canals are extensions to the Nerang River. All of your International Vacation Home Exchange property choices on Gold Coast are either on or near the ocean or picturesque canals and waterways.
Home exchange Property # 0970 -- Four bedroom boathouse on Main Riverfront location

This Boathouse is on the northern foreshore of the Nerang River, right in the centre of the Gold Coast. Public transportation is one minute away, giving you easy access to the theme parks, surf beaches, shopping and dining. The home is completely renovated and features a new kitchen, three porcelain-tiled bathrooms (two en suite) an outdoor hot tub, and an elevated deck overlooking the Main River.

Home swap #0279 – Two-bedroom apartment on the Nerang River

Located on the river waterfront with a view of the mountains in the hinterland, this apartment is just out of the center of Surfer’s Paradise and less than a five minute walk to the beach. A deep balcony runs the length of the apartment and is open to every room. There is a shared swimming pool, a BBQ area and mooring space for four boats. The kitchen is fully equipped, and the master bedroom has an en-suite bathroom.

Home swap Property # 0923 -- Four bedroom house on Runaway Bay canal

Runaway Bay is a northern Gold Coast suburb with a reputation for great fishing. Your home here is on a colorful canal with fishing right outside your door. The master bedroom upstairs has an en-suite bathroom and a balcony overlooking the pool and canal. There is a second bedroom upstairs, and two downstairs. The main living area, dining room and fully equipped kitchen are downstairs facing the canal and pool.

Home exchange # 0868 -- Two bedroom apartment near the beach
Another Runaway Bay jewel, this cozy apartment is in easy walking distance to the water, a shopping centre, and a boardwalk and bike path leading to Surfer’s Paradise. Convenient bus service is right outside the door, or you can use the host’s car for just two extra credits. The apartment has all modern conveniences, plus a lovely courtyard with barbecue grill.

Home Swap Property #0276

This quiet, elegant apartment in the sky is in Pivotal Point, a new residential resort complex overlooking the Gold Coast Harbour and the Pacific Ocean. It offers incredible views from large picture windows and three spacious balconies where you can entertain or just relax and watch the pulse of the city and the harbour below. The apartment features luxury furniture, high ceilings, a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, home-entertainment equipment galore, and secure carpark and elevator access. There is a gymnasium on the ground floor along with a heated pool, playground area, spa, sauna and entertainment deck.

For additional photos and information on any of these exciting accommodations in Gold Coast, click the home exchange properties above.

If you own a vacation rental or second home and are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange, find out about the unique ways you can take advantage of holiday retreats around the world. Visit us at International Vacation Home Exchange

Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima

Was that Home Exchange or House Swap?

You say Vacation, I say Holiday.

Summer vacations are here, why not have a bit of fun in your travels and live like a local? 

We all have out ways of saying things, the following is a bit of fun on ‘speaking the same language for vacations and Holiday. 

Ring … Ring …  Ring…

Cecil:  Hello.
Jeb:      Hello there. I read your message about doing a home exchange – my log cabin in the mountains of Georgia for your place in Hampstead – is that right?

Cecil:    Correct, sir.  I saw your listing on the (International Vacation Home Exchange) web site and the exchange coordinator arranged for us to communicate.  

Jeb:      Great, we’ve wanted to do a direct vacation swap someplace where they speak English.  Do you mind if I ask you a few questions first?

Cecil:    Not at all. And I’ll have a few for you.

Jeb:      Okay, you say your place is a flat in Hampstead – a flat what?

Cecil:    A guess you would call it an apartment.

Jeb:      Oh, a flat apartment?  No stairs?

Cecil:    It’s a split level.

Jeb:      So, it’s not flat?  Kinda step-uppy?

Cecil:    I suppose. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

Jeb:      Let ‘er rip.

Cecil:    You say its two and a half bath?  Sorry, but what is a “half bath”?

Jeb:      The third bathroom doesn’t have a bath.

Cecil:    So, it’s a lavatory without a tub or a shower?

Jeb:      Yeah, that, but there is a sink and a commode.

Cecil:    Right. Indoors, I presume?

Jeb:      You betcha.  We upgraded last fall.

Cecil:  Did someone fall in your lavatory?  Oh, dear.

Jeb:      No, we put in indoor plumbing when the leaves started to turn.

Cecil:  Oh, I see.  Last autumn.

Jeb:      Yep. Say, do you have one of those spray things next to the toilet?

Cecil:    If you mean a bidet, yes we do, in the master bedroom ensuite.

Jeb:      Ellie May, my cousin Buella’s girl, warned us about them. She got turbo charged in all the wrong places when she used one at a fancy hotel in Vegas.

Cecil:    It is quite safe, sir. We’ll leave a diagram and instructions on how to use it.

Jeb:      Great. So, okay, your not-so-flat apartment is located on High Street? How high is it?

Cecil:    That would be the main street in town, and it’s not high at all.       

Jeb:      Then why do you call it … never mind. 

Cecil:    Shall we talk about your kitchen?

Jeb:      Okee dokee.

Cecil:    What kind of cooker do you have?

Jeb:      My old lady most of the time, but she doesn’t come with the house.

Cecil:    I mean the appliance – gas?  Electric?  Wood burning?

Jeb:      Yes.

Cecil:    And in the bedroom, do you have a wardrobe?

Jeb:      I do. Mostly denim pants and flannel shirts. Why?

Cecil:  Your underwear is denim?  Never mind, where do you keep your, er, wardrobe?

Jeb:      In a chifferobe, big ol’ cedar one. Makes your pants smell real good.

Cecil:  I’m sure.

Jeb:      Okay, my turn.  Are you close to a subway?

Cecil:    Yes, actually.  You can catch one right across the street.

Jeb:      Great.  I love their sandwiches.

Cecil:    I mean there is a tube station across the street. You won’t need a car to get around.

Jeb:      Wouldn’t want one.  You guys still drive on the left, huh?

Cecil:    You’re right.  You wouldn’t want one. Does your car have a spare tyre under your bonnet just in case?

Jeb:      No, my spare tire is over my belt buckle.   My old lady wears a bonnet when she works in the garden, but there’s nothing under it … wait a minute, did I say that?

Cecil:    Oh, lovely. You have a garden?

Jeb:      Sure do.  We grow eggplant, zucchini, and rutabagas.

Cecil:    Are those flowers? They sound exotic.

Jeb:      Ha, ha. You’re funny.

Cecil:    We’re looking for a quiet country retreat where we can watch the sun go down over woodlands and be awakened by the cock’s crow.

Jeb:      Will roosters do?

Cecil:    Quite. And what are you really looking for?

Jeb:      A few days in a big foreign city. We want to do and see things we can’t do or see at home.

Cecil:    You’ll find endless possibilities here.

Jeb:                 So, what do you think? Your not-so-flat flat sounds good to me.  Does our little country cabin work for you?

Cecil:    Yes, I think so.  I’ll confirm the exchange on IVHE (, this sounds like fun. 

Jeb:      Sounds good. You sure do talk funny, but I like you.

Ready to experience something new and save thousands of dollars, euros, pounds or yen in the process, try home exchange and travel the world.  InternationalVacation Home Exchange ( members save an average of $2,650 for every 7 nights of vacations. 

New to the concept of home exchange or house swap, visit and download a free Home Exchange Guide to learn many hints and tips.  

Home exchange to do list

Did I turn off the coffee maker?
Photo source: flickr, Dar'ya Sipyeykina
Your long-awaited vacation time is drawing closer. You’ve booked your International Vacation Home Exchange property and personally chatted with the owner about the home and the best ways to enjoy the destination. You’ve outlined your itinerary for each day, made reservations at restaurants, ordered tickets for shows and performances, and booked escorted tours. Everything is planned to make the most of your time, and you absolutely, positively cannot wait to get there. Before you rush out the door, check your going-away to-do list one last time.

If you are venturing out on a credits trade – a non-simultaneous exchange – then your home will be left unattended. There are, of course, a myriad of things to tend to before you lock the door behind you. Checklists are helpful, but your own situation and how long you will be away should dictate what to put on it; nevertheless, here are a few key words and phrases as reminders:
  • Mail
  • Voice mail
  • Bill payments
  • Indoor plants
  • Garbage/rubbish
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Pool maintenance
  • Doors, windows and locks
  • Alarm company
  • Car care (if leaving it home)
  • Pet sitter
  • Air conditioner setting
  • Lighting timers
  • Cut off gas stove and shut off water lines
  • Unplug computer and any appliance subject to power-surge damage
  • Clean out the fridge and dry perishables bin
  • Wash dishes and coffee pot
  • Give a set of keys to someone who will be checking on your house – this person should also be given a copy of your basic travel plans and itinerary, and the land-line telephone number at your IVHE home in case of emergency.

If you are doing a direct swap – a simultaneous exchange – then your home will be occupied by a guest who will be your host in his/her home. Obviously, you will need to coordinate the time and place for key-exchanges and property orientation. If you cannot be there, then a property manager, caretaker, friend or relative should be appointed to handle the meet-and-greet and walk-through orientation. This should include a briefing on anything in the home that needs operating instructions. Don’t assume that everyone knows how to operate your TV remote.

Planning for emergencies and your guests’ safety and convenience should be as detailed as your travel and activities planning.

Emergency Contacts and Procedures
Most hosts leave emergency information in an easily accessible loose-leaf or three-ring binder. It should contain names and numbers of who to contact and procedures to follow in case of an emergency. Whoever conducts your guest orientation should point this out and review certain items with your guest.
  • Fire, police or ambulance (911 emergency number in the US)
  • Poison Control
  • Nearest Hospital
  • Nearest drug store/chemist/pharmacy
  • Nearest shop for eyeglass replacement
  • Utility company emergency numbers
  • Locations of fire extinguishers, fire escapes, water shut-off valves, fuse box or circuit-breakers.
  • How to reach you if necessary – telephone numbers, contacts. Leave a copy of your itinerary. Alternatively, the numbers for property managers, caretakers, friends or relatives who can help if needed.
  • Nearby veterinarians and animal hospitals for guests bringing pets
Helpful Information
Any helpful information you can provide your guest will be appreciated. If you were the guest, what would you add to this list?
  • Public transportation routes, stops and fares.
  • Taxi cab or car-service telephone numbers or web addresses
  • Local tourist guides, directories and web-site addresses for tourist information
  • Your recommendations for restaurants, cafes, bars and nightspots
  • Operating instructions for TV remotes, home-entertainment devices, office equipment, kitchen equipment, gas grills, air conditioning thermostats, or anything in the home that requires more than flipping the on/off switch. 
Check lists and to-do lists are all about peace of mind and giving yourself or a fellow IVHE guest a wonderful, safe vacation experience. Of course there are other travel check lists regarding your personal health, travel and financial documents, insurance, passports, credit cards, travelers checks, etc., but that’s a whole ‘nuther blog.
If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange and would like to find out more about it, visit us at .

Blogsmith: Mike DiPrima

Cape Cod Home Exchange

Cape Cod: A Summer IVHE Place By The Sea

Photo source: flickr, NASA 

Cape Cod juts out into the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. State of Massachusetts like a muscle-flexing arm. Given its heritage of tough pioneers, sea captains, whaling ships, and steadfast lighthouses, a matcho metaphor is quite appropriate. But then along came songstress Patti Page in 1957 with her hit “Old Cape Cod” to soften the edges with romance. She sang of “sand dunes and salty air, and quaint little villages here and there.” She crooned softly about “the taste of a lobster stew served by a window with an ocean view,” and of wanting to forever stay after “watching the moonlight on Cape Cod Bay.” Tourists have been drawn to the Cape during the summer months for years, but Patti spurred it as never before. 

Vacation homes are all over the cape from Provincetown on the northeastern end to the southwest corner at Falmouth and the island of Martha’s Vineyard. From Falmouth to Provincetown is a driving distance of only 65 miles, but if you stopped at each of the 15 towns along the way (not including the small villages within each) and took in their historic places, parks, beaches, antique shops, galleries, museums and seafood restaurants, it would take you days.

Summer events are another reason to visit the Cape. The annual Pops by the Sea concert featuring the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra on the Hyannis Village Green is the Cape’s largest cultural event. The proceeds from ticket sales support The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. The 2014 concert will be held August 10. For details and ticket information, click:

There are three IVHE vacation home swap opportunities on the cape: one on the upper cape near Falmouth, one on the lower cape at Brewster, and one on Martha’s Vineyard Island near Edgartown.

Waquoit is Falmouth’s smallest village. Much of the area is open waters, marshes, barrier beaches, sand dunes, pine and oak forests, and sand plain grasslands, giving visitors a glimpse of Cape Cod before development. The visitor center at the Waquoit Bay Estuarine Research Reserve is a living laboratory in the state park system and an ideal spot to start an exploration of the natural Cape Cod.

Your home exchange in Waquoit i surrounded on three sides by conservation land and has views of the Moonakis River. But civilization is a clam’s-shell throw away. The home offers easy access to the attractions, restaurants, cafes, ice-cream parlors, and shopping of both Falmouth and Mashpee. 
It has three bedrooms, three en-suites, a half bath, and can comfortably sleep eight people. Stainless, granite and soapstone highlight the fully-equipped gourmet kitchen. There is a breakfast room with early morning sun, and a dining room with an expandable table that will seat up to ten. For outdoor entertaining and dining, you have a 60-foot deck with outdoor grill and comfortable casual furniture.


Brewster is an historic town on Cape Cod’s bay side. It has over 325 acres of beach and marshlands and several ponds over 10 acres in size. More than a third of Brewster’s land is devoted to conservation, open space, recreation and watershed protection. The drinking water is pure, the golf on two championship courses is beautifully challenging, and the outdoor recreation activities at Nickerson State Park range from trail biking, to camping to freshwater swimming, fishing and boating. Historic Route 6A, the old “King’s Highway,” runs through Brewster and is lined with art galleries, craft shops, and antique stores just made for browsing.

Property #0356: - Brewster

Your vacation property in Brewster is a spacious three- bedroom condo in Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club. You have golf, tennis, biking, indoor and outdoor pools, a private beach, and a kid’s camp for ages 4-12. Plus restaurants and bars from elegant to casual..

Private balconies highlight the spacious master and second bedrooms. A private den offers a third sleeping area with a full-size sleeper couch. The den opens up onto the deck overlooking the woods and the golf course. The living room and dining room also open up to the deck where comfortable patio furniture and an electric grill invite outdoor entertaining and relaxation.

Martha’s Vineyard/Edgartown/Katama

Martha’s Vineyard is an island about seven miles south of the southern coast of Cape Cod.. It is accessible only by air, and by ferry service departing from Falmouth and several other cities on the Cape. You can also catch a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard from Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and New York City.
The largest town on the island is Edgartown, which rose to prominence in the 19th Century as a whaling center. Today it’s not whale blubber that keeps it going, but tourism and the draw of historical attractions and beautiful beaches.

Katama, a quiet neighborhood close to downtown Edgartown, boasts an open-ocean beach that runs the entire length of the southern end of Martha’s Vineyard. The waves on South Beach at Katama can roll up on the shore with a murmur or pound it with a roar. To people with summer homes here, it’s relaxing music to their ears.

Home Exchange Property #0754: – Martha’s Vineyard/Edgartown/Katama

Your Martha’s Vineyard retreat sits on a wooded lot about half way between Edgartown and Katama Beach. It features an open living and dining areas, exposed ceilings and a wall of glass windows. Two sets of French doors open from the living area to a large front deck. The sunny south-side-facing back also has a large deck with outdoor furniture. The four bedrooms have all the amenities for a cozy family stay. The gourmet kitchen is fully equipped and features a breakfast bar, a prep island and stainless appliances.
Click the property numbers to find out more about these delightful Cape Cod homes.

If you own a second home or vacation rental, consider becoming a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange, which features a system of home exchanges based on direct swaps, or on credits that can be applied to properties around the world without coordinated exchanges. Visit for details.

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