Trading Places

Trading homes is not a new idea, but in this economy it is becoming a more valuable option. I know a builder that had a custom home for sale last year. Some potential buyers wanted it but needed to sell their home first. The builder took a look at the buyers’ home, liked it, bought it and moved into it. The buyers took the new custom home and paid the builder the difference. This wasn’t exactly an even trade, but a trade plus cash can work just fine in this environment as well.

It all sounds good, doesn’t it? But it’s sometimes tough to find compatible parties. The people on the other side of the transaction not only have to be looking to move into your neighborhood, but they also need to share your taste in homes and be in the right price range for the trade to work effectively. That’s a lot of variables that must come together at the right time and place to pull off a trade.

As one might expect, a number of Web sites aimed at connecting people willing to trade homes have popped up in the last several years, and these sites report record traffic as more and more folks find it harder to sell their homes. HomeExchange.com, OnlineHouseTrading.com and GoSwap.org are just a few that play matchmaker. Of course these aren’t the only places you can find people looking to trade. Your local newspaper is another source. Or try Craig’s List and Google Base.

As with any real estate transaction, it’s probably a good idea to get some help. Trading can be complicated and can have sticky tax and legal implications. If you’re serious about giving it a try, either a professional real estate agent with some trading experience or a seasoned real estate attorney are wise investments.

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