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Good Photos Make Good Exchanges

Good Photos Make Good Exchanges

Photo source: flickr, Ralph Bijker
The Golden Rule for home exchangers is simple: Convince me through pictures that your property is special and I will do the same with mine.

As a guest, you want to SEE that where you might be spending your IVHE home swap credits and your precious vacation time is a place that will make you feel comfortable and at-home.

As a host, you want your potential guest to SEE the elements of your property that make it attractive -- intangible elements like ambience and vibe, and solidly real things like comfort, cleanliness, convenience, and scenery.

The Home Exchangers' Golden Rule applies to personal profile pictures as well. Many home swap members choose not to include them, but personal pictures are an important part of your listing. They give it personality and satisfy a natural curiosity. Show me your happy, smiling face and I'll show you mine. Hopefully, you will be able to tell that I am not a crack-smoking skinhead raver (credits-rich though I may be), and I'll be able to tell that you are not a Voodoo priest who might sacrifice chickens in my living room (even though you do have a verifiable telephone number).

How important is showing and not just telling? How important are pictures in your IVHE listing? They're critical. It may be time to take a second look at the photos you have posted.

Pretend for a moment that you are trying to sell your property and that you're working with a rather fussy real estate agent. She calls and wants to bring a client couple 'round to take a look. She reminds you again, for the hundredth time, to clean up the place, put things away, get rid of the clutter, open the shades, turn on the lights, make it look light and airy, and put the cat outside. You do all that  and, without being told, put out fresh flowers and fruit as a nice extra touch.

She arrives with the clients. As they approach your house, the agent remarks, "Look at this stunning view" as she gestures at the vista before them. Then she turns to the house and says, "Isn't this architecture amazing?" and comments in glowing terms on the exterior. As they enter the front door, she'll say something like, "Oh my, can't you just feel the love?" The tour of the house begins, and she grows more breathless in each room. The living room, the kitchen, the bathrooms, the patio -- she encourages her clients to envision themselves in each room, and damn near passes out when they get to the master bedroom.

Take your photo tips from the way a real estate agent shows a house. Stage your shots for the best appeal, and include the view, the exterior, bedrooms, bathrooms, lounge areas, kitchen -- the more you show the more assured your prospect will feel.

Quality images, high resolution, will showcase your property beautifully. Use a professional photographer, if possible. It will be well worth the cost. Or, if you are handy with your own camera and savvy about lighting and composition, go for it. Check the images on your computer and upload the best ones to your IVHE home exchange listing. Use captions to describe if you think they're necessary.

To edit your photos, log into the members area of the IVHE home swap site, click on your property, then - Edit - Photos - choose a File - Upload. Once they are in, they can be dragged and dropped into any order.

If you wish to add a personal profile picture, you can chose to have it viewed by the public, by IVHE members only, or just by those members you are communicating with regarding an exchange or trade.  

The old adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" is oh so true. Pictures speak for themselves without embellishing the truth. What you see is what you get. And isn't that the kind of honesty you want when you engage in a home exchange?

If you are not a member of the International Vacation Home Exchange and would like to learn more, go to and picture the possibilities.


  1. We agree! We did a home exchange in Spain this past summer and enjoyed it (with some caveats we wrote about on our blog) but it's amazing how many places show unmade beds, piles of clutter and other things from real life that don't belong there! :)


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