Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does it work?
Home Exchange is very simple: you exchange your home with someone else´s home during your vacations. You both save tons of money on hotel bills and enjoy the comfort and space of a real house. It is a trend that has grown considerably in recent years, reducing by more than half your holiday costs and allowing people to travel more and enjoy an authentic and sustainable experience.
2. Can I create a free account?
Yes, you can create a free account and use all of our website’s resources without providing any financial data. You will only be charged an annual fee when closing an exchange, after all the details of your exchange have been finalized.
3. Why choose BeLocal?
You can travel more and spend less, with comfort and safety, while joining a community of people who, like you, love to travel and have had their data verified. You can communicate through our safe system that keeps all your data protected and hidden until you have established a trusting relationship with your exchange partner. - We have a team of representatives to answer all your questions. We can help you close your exchange agreements, share agreement templates, and provide guidance and tips to make sure you have unforgettable vacations. You can also receive customized suggestions and help finding exchange partners. We have thought of everything to make your exchange easier: automatic translation, ready and reusable messages, agreement templates, guest instruction templates, tips on how to be a good guest and a good host, and everything else we could imagine to make your interactions with other members easier and faster. - Every two weeks, we will send you a list of customized suggestions featuring your preferred destinations or homes in your preferred categories. You can search either by destination or category (beach, city, mountain, off the beaten track, gourmet, bring the kids, long periods, art and culture, adventure sports, ski, diving, and surf). To receive more offers, select Open to Offers on your profile. - We know how precious your time is, so we developed special features to make your search faster. Our ring button allows you to verify someone’s interest in exchanging with you with a single click. Simply click on the bell button in the profile of a home page, and the member will receive an automated message. You can also save time by saving a standard message to present yourself and your family to interested members and to describe your home. This message can be reused with any of your contacts, saving you even more time. -You only pay when you find an ideal exchange partner. No hidden fees
4. Do I need to provide my credit card number to register?
Absolutely not. You can try the website for free. Your credit card will only be requested after you find your exchange partner.
5. Does BeLocal also offer vacation rentals?
Yes, BeLocal offers vacation rentals, but it is essentially an exchange website, and all of our rentals must be directly agreed upon by guest and host. BeLocal only charges an annual fee from the renter after the first rental is closed every year.
6. I already have my ad on another exchange or vacation rental website. Why would I register on BeLocal as well?
Because it is free and we can facilitate your registration. You only pay if you find a home exchange for your next vacation. No commitment or risks. We also save you time by uploading all your data and photos to BeLocal. All you need to do is email us a link to your properties at belocal@belocalexchange.com. Simple, easy, and free!
7. How can I change my email or my data contact?
This is easy, login and go to Profile section. At Confidential information, edit your contact details. Then verify if all your information is correct and just click on Confirm. You will receive an email informing that your data has been changed.
8. How can I add photos of my home?
You can go to My Home, click on Upload, and locate photos on your computer, or you can select a group of photos, drag them to the Drag and drop your photos here area, and then click Upload. . Your photos will be resized, and the brightness might be adjusted if needed to improve visibility.
9. How can I edit my preferred destination?
You can edit all your profile´s information whenever you want. Click on Edit next to the information you would like to change. All your information is automatically saved.
10. How can I create a list of favorites?
You can create your list of favorites by navigating through our homes and clicking on the heart icon right below the member´s profile photo. This is a great list to use when you like a home but you’re not sure you want to contact the member. When you click on the heart icon to include the home in your Favorites, you can consult it later, compare it with other options, and show it to relatives and friends who will be travelling with you. To see your Favorites, just click on Favorites at the top of your profile photo. You can also use the Who selected me as a favorite button to see who chose you as a favorite.
11. How can I leave my review about homes and hosts with whom I have exchanged?
When you return from your exchange trip, you will receive feedback from your partner, and you will also be able to provide feedback about them. This is an excellent practice to maintain a high level of quality in our community.
12. How can I send messages to other members?
We know your time is precious, and we do everything possible to make the process as fast and simple as possible. There are two ways to contact other members:
a) You can use the bell button to send a quick message to other members. The member will receive the following email:
Hello,
Would you like to exchange with us? Please visit our profile to see our home. We would love to discuss an exchange with you. Thank you ,
To increase your chances of success, write a personal message.
b) You can click on the envelope and write a personal message that introduces you and your family and explains your vacation plans, with specific dates, etc.
13. Why is my personal information only released after I agree on an exchange?
We want to protect your personal information by prohibiting contact outside of our protected message system until you’ve officially agreed upon an exchange.
14. Is it possible to send messages to several members at the same time?
We want to avoid mass emails, and we do not want our members to be overloaded with email messages. For this reason, we want to make sure that all messages are always sent individually and personally. However, you can click Save message as a template to save time and avoid writing the same message over and over again. All you need to do is click on Use my saved message and make the necessary changes.
15. How many times can I exchange after paying the BeLocal fee?
After paying the BeLocal fee, you have free unlimited exchanges for a period of 12 months. No extra costs.
16. When you agree on a home exchange with another member, how do you agree on the details?
When you agree on a home exchange, we provide you with a standard agreement to help you define all the details and include all of the necessary information, such as phone number, full name, and address, for you to contact each other directly if you prefer. We highly recommend that you schedule a Skype call to organize details, such as check-in and check-out times, cleaning instructions, and key exchanges.
17. How should I prepare my home for my hosts?
The home exchanging community is happy to host guests at their home, and this thoughtful and caring attitude toward guests is very rewarding. Make sure your home is clean and organized to receive your guests, but just follow your regular cleaning routine. Check out our How To Be a Good Host section.
18. Is it possible to do a non-simultaneous exchange?
Yes, there are several ways to exchange your home; you have to decide which one is more convenient for you and your exchange partner. Often, our members want to take advantage of the periods in which their homes are empty to accumulate points to exchange for another opportunity. Other times, to make the exchange possible, users who can relocate temporarily or have a second home prefer to travel at different dates because of their different school and work schedules.
19. How much will I save on my vacations?
Saving money on your vacations is one of the main advantages of home exchanging. You can travel with no hotel or rental costs. It is possible for a family of 4 on a two-week trip to save more than 50%of their total travel costs. Your savings are not limited to free accommodations; you also save on Wi-Fi, parking, and many other extras. If you prepare some of your family meals at home, you can also save on food, which will have a huge impact on the total cost of the trip.
20. Is it safe?
It is based on mutual trust and reciprocity. Home exchanging has existed for more than 50 years and started with mail catalogs long before the Internet made everything much easier and the sharing economy became popular. BeLocal offers a safe system for members to communicate until they feel they can trust each other and are ready to propose an exchange. Ask as many questions as you need about the house, the region, the neighborhood, who will be travelling with the other member, etc. Look at photos and read profiles. Agree on every detail. Introduce yourself and your family. BeLocal also offers an online verification system to make sure you travel safely. However, it is important to trust your instincts and get answers to all your questions. We also have a recommendation and review system where you can see the opinions of other members. And, if after this, you still do not feel comfortable with a certain member, refuse the invitation. You will see that our members are people just like you, who love to travel and spend time with their family and friends, are happy to have guests in their homes, enjoy a more authentic travel style, and want to cause less environmental impact on the places they visit.
21. My home is very small, do you think people will be interested?
Of course, it is not the size of your home that matters the most, if you take good care of your place and make an effort to make it comfortable and welcoming to your guests, you will receive lots of proposals.
22. My home is rented. Can I exchange it?
In general, yes. Usually, since there is no money involved, it is not considered subletting; however, we advise you to check your rental agreement or talk to your landlord.
23. How do we exchange keys?
Usually, if you are not in town, the best option is to ask a friend, relative, or trusted neighbor or employee to deliver the keys to your guests. Punctuality is essential in this case. Exchange phones to communicate delays or unexpected events.
24. I haven´t received any offers. Why?
Don´t just sit and wait. You can actively search for an exchange partner. Contact members in areas you would like to visit. Also, do not forget to upload good photos that show your home and region. Introduce yourself and your family. The more details you can provide, the more confident people will feel about contacting you. Detailed profiles receive far more proposals than incomplete profiles
25. Why is it important to add photos of your home?
Members like to see where they are going. They want to make sure your home is clean, comfortable, and well cared for. Your home is a reflection of your personality. A well-maintained, clean, and organized home will make other members more comfortable trusting their home to you during an exchange. Prepare your home for the photos. You can delete and add photos at any time.
26. Who cleans the home?
It is important that both parties agree on how to do the cleaning at the end of their stay. You can offer to hire a cleaning service suggested by your host, agree that each member will clean their own home when they return, or you can clean the home before you leave. Whatever you agree, please always take bathroom and kitchen garbage out, do not leave food leftovers in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter, and remember to treat the house as if it was your own.
27. I have received a message from another member, but I can´t understand their language. What can I do?
You can try our automatic translation button. If that does not help, please contact our representatives, and we will do our best to help you with the translation.
28. I had a problem with my exchange. Can BeLocal help me?
BeLocal is solely a platform for members to safely find home exchange partners and enjoy free accommodations on their vacations. However, it is up to our members to choose and agree on their exchanges. All issues must be solved between the exchanging parties.
29. I cannot upload my photos to the website. Can I email them to BeLocal?
Yes. If you experience any difficulties, we will be happy to upload the photos for you. Just send them to us by email or WhatsApp, and we will be glad to help.
30. How can I know if I have already contacted a certain member?
After you have contacted a member, you will see an envelope next to the main photo on his or her profile. This is just to let you know that you have contacted this member before.