Canada is leading the way with the promotion of a relatively new idea in the real estate world…property swapping.  In these tough economic times developers and agents are looking at new ways to shift real estate stock, and one way that’s caught the interest of homeowners in Canada is swapping homes.

For those who want to upsize or downscale, and for those who simply want to trade city or rural locations, the idea is absolutely ideal.  You simply find the alternative home you want on a property swapping database – of which there are now a few – and you set the exchange process in motion.  There are even estate agents in Canada who have taken on the model in an attempt to offload their own stock.

But we were thinking, property swapping could be your way into a property abroad.  House swaps for vacation purposes are already increasing in popularity globally, but what about advertising your own home for a more permanent swap with someone who currently lives abroad?

Whilst you may not find someone who wants to relocate to old Blighty indefinitely, you may well have the option of swapping homes with someone who, like you, wants to try out another nation for size.  Alternatively, if you have a property within commutable distance of any large towns or cities in the UK, you may be able to swap with a professional coming on a sabbatical to the UK.

This could give you a best of all worlds situation – whereby you don’t lose your rights to your home in the UK, but you do hand over the upkeep and maintenance of it for a period of time while you live abroad.  You can live the expat lifestyle in a home from home, determine whether you like the setting and even the lifestyle itself, and when the temporary swap of six months or a year ends, you can then choose to either sell your home in the UK and make your move a more permanent one, or swap back again and return to living in Great Britain.

Mind you, there are those who take these things a stage further – we’ve heard of one successful business person who wants to trade their Caribbean island for a Gulfstream jet.  Oh, if only we had a spare jet, for I don’t know about you, but I’d love to own my very own Caribbean retreat.

It may of course be possible to make a home swap abroad a permanent one, you just have to be careful and selective about those you approach through home exchange websites and thoroughly research the home you’re thinking of taking on.  With Canadians seemingly swap happy at the moment, maybe there are some who would like to leave the cold winters behind in favour of damp dark ones and relocate to Great Britain.  Who knows?  For more information about home swapping, try the following websites: –