The weather is getting chillier, Christmas presents are appearing in shop windows and it won’t be too long before the Christmas street lights start going up… the countdown to the 25th December is officially on!
At this time of year we do tend to see a little less activity on HomeSwapper, with swappers focusing more on the upcoming festivities. This of course, means fewer matches being made on the site.
But don’t lose heart! This quieter period is a great opportunity to get your home looking at its best. It’s also the perfect time to spring clean your HomeSwapper dashboard and make sure that come January, it’s in the best possible shape to show off your home and find that match. We’ve listed some of the things that you might want to think about doing to get ready for the New Year rush:
For your advert:
• Update your photos – has it been a while since you first took the photos on your advert? If the rooms look different now to when you first signed up, it might be worth snapping a few more recent ones so that other swappers have a better idea of what to expect when they come for viewings. Remember, adverts with good photos on get much more interest from other swappers! For advice on how to take great photos, you can take a look at our article here.
• Check your rent amount – make sure you’ve put the full amount of rent on your advert. If you receive housing benefit as a ‘top up’ on your rent, then what you pay won’t be the total amount. The person who moves in may not receive this, so they’ll need to know the total rent to know for sure if they can afford it. We’d hate to see a swap fall through because finances weren’t clear before!
• Spruce up your advert description – take a look over your advert description with fresh eyes. It’s probably been a while since you first wrote it, so try to read it as though it’s someone else’s description. What could make your home sound better? Have you used enough positive words? Write about what you really love about the property and someone else is sure to love it too! If you’re nervous about writing, then just ask a friend or family member to take a look over it for you. Or if there’s no one to hand, you could also write it out in Word first, which will do an automatic spellcheck on your description for you. For more tips on writing a great description, take a look at our article here.
For your matches:
• Check your locations – if it’s been a while since you first set up your account, you might want to revisit your preferences for what you’re looking for. One of the biggest reasons that swappers get matches for areas they haven’t selected is because they’ve included a very wide area around the locations they’d like to move to.
Go to My details at the top of your Dashboard and then click on The home I want. In the first section on this page you’ll be able to see all the locations you’ve chosen to live in and how far outside of that location you’re happy to live. Check over all the locations listed to see if you still really want to live there and then have a look at the bar underneath that shows the distance around that area. If you’re really set on a very specific location, make sure this distance is set fairly low. Then click on Next and your new preferences will be saved.
• Clear your messages – you will have noticed that we recently updated the system so that if there are un-replied messages in your inbox, your account will be locked and you won’t be able to interact with other swappers until you’ve replied to them all. Take this time to go back through your messages, in both your inbox and your deleted message folder, replying to any coloured red. Read more on this update here.
Once your account is unlocked it might also be a good idea to give your inbox a spring clean, deleting any conversations that have come to an end in order to give yourself a clear view going forward of any messages you need to respond to.