For years, many have switched homes temporarily for vacations. Today, a growing number are trading for good. It's called "House Swapping" and it's the hottest trend in real estate right now.
"That's basically the concept. I buy your house if you buy mine," said Aurora resident Greg Holt, who created Pad4Pad, a Web site specifically designed for people to swap properties.
His Web site is not alone.
"Everybody's trying to get creative, finding different ways to sell their property," said Holt. "It just seems to make sense. There are people that want to move where you live, they want what you have and you have what they want. So it's a matter of getting the two together."
Technology and access to it have made it much easier for motivated sellers in different areas to find each other to see if they are a fit to trade properties.
Jim Heckman just got a job transfer and is looking for a Coloradan who wants to move to Arizona and buy his house in Mesa. In exchange, he'll purchase their house.
"Let's swap houses. Someone in Colorado swap my house in Mesa with me and let's see if we can make this work," said Heckman.
He placed an ad on the "housing swap" section of Craigslist. In February, Heckman and his wife used a Realtor to put their home on the market for $595,000, but had no takers.
They dropped the price and still nothing. They are now willing to swap, even if it means not trading dollar for dollar. The key is that both parties are happy with the properties that are being traded.
"My house, there's been no activity on it," said Heckman. "If we have to make a concession, that would be fine. The key is to find someone who would want to trade our house with us for theirs."
There are a record number of homes on the market today and they are taking longer to sell.
As a result, homeowners are now forced to find new tactics like swapping to free themselves from their properties and the mortgages.
"I always say there's a butt for every seat, how you market it is the most important thing," said Real Estate Expert Petur Workman. "Any additional tools are always an asset in your pocket."
There are drawbacks. Searching for a swap online is like a dating service, the odds can be good, but the goods can be odd. You may not get the exact property you want and you may have to settle for something less.
Heckman has had several replies to his swapping ad, but no deal yet. He's still waiting, optimistically, for a match.
"You can end up with a beautiful home in Mesa and I can have a nice home here in Colorado," he said.
House swapping Web sites:
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