Home exchanges are a great way to save money, travel like a local and enjoy more privacy than you would in a hotel room. All great house swaps start with a detailed home manual. This checklist will ensure your guests get the most out of their stay and that your home is returned to you in good working order!
HOME EXCHANGE CHECKLIST
We’re glad to be house-swapping this summer! Here is the operating manual for our house, and our neighborhood _____________________________________, issue ___________(YEAR).
Parent(s) names and cell phone numbers: Your contact information in case of any issues.
Neighbors: Names, phone numbers, comments (if they are aware of the house-swap, etc.).
Babysitters: Names, phone numbers, comments, parent’s names of younger babysitters.
Pediatrician: Name, location and how to contact your pediatrician in case of emergencies.
Closest Hospital: Name and how to find.
Poison Control: Leave the number to your local poison control agency in a prominent location and note where to find in the manual.
Keys/Codes: Clearly mark them and note in the manual where to find them. Is there a gate code or alarm system code that your visitors need?
Parking: Is a garage available? Driveway? What are the rules for on-street parking?
Street Cleaning/Snow Plowing : When and how this affects guest parking.
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Garage/Outdoor equipment: Provide instructions for use of bikes, scooters, hose, toys.
Trash/Recycling: When to put out, which cans are used for which trash. If all cans look alike, label them.
Plants/Landscaping: Provide a watering and/or landscaper schedule.
Mail & Newspapers: Where do you want your guests to place the mail?
Pool/Spa/Hot Tub: Is there one? If so, how to uncover/cover, how deep, is it fenced, what are local rules that apply?
Rules & Technical Stuff
House Rules: For example, no food in living room, no food near computers, etc.
Food: List what’s offered in the kitchen/fridge and what’s off-limits.
Bedrooms: Clear out at least one drawer and some space in each closet for your guest. Describe in the manual where that space is and where not to use. Tip: Leave at least 10 empty hangars in each closet for your guest.
Linens/Towels: Make sure beds are made up with clean linens and clean towels are hung and available. Make sure guests know where to find extras if necessary.
Housekeeper: Who, how often, who pays. Tip: To avoid confusion, confirm this via email ahead of the visit.
Technical stuff: Provide plumbing notes, location of circuit breakers, modem, routers.
Heating/AC: Where is the thermostat? How to adjust if necessary.
Fireplace: Is there one? Gas or wood? Make sure guests know whether they can build a fire, where to find firewood, kindling, etc.
Local laws: Car seats, helmets, cellphone use while driving, masks, marijuana, hemp.
Your Pets: Are your pets boarded or will they be in the home? Do guests need to feed/walk/clean/care for any pets? If so, leave detailed instructions on what to do, how often, and where to find everything.
Guest’s Pets: Are guests able to bring pets? Make sure you have ground rules set as to where pets are allowed or not allowed, and any other rules you want to set regarding pets.
Appliances & Electronics
Laundry: Where are the washer and dryer located? Leave detailed instructions on how to use them.
Appliances: Instructions, even if you think your guest will know, how to use the stove, microwave, dishwasher, trash compactor, disposal, air fryer, toaster oven, coffee maker, grill. Tip: Local teas and coffees make a great welcome gift!
Electronics: List of television remotes with DETAILED instructions for all. TV, Blu-ray, DVD, Stereo, CDPlayer. Tip: do not try to write this from memory, you will forget simple details that will frustrate your guest or mess up your remote. Create these instructions while actually using the remotes to watch TV.
Streaming Services: Is your TV connected to the Internet? Do your guests have streaming services available for their use, and if so, which ones and how to access?
Gaming Systems: How to use, what is off limits.
Computer: Wifi passwords, rules, parental controls.
Printer: Is there one available? If so, where is it and how to connect. Where are extra paper and ink located?
Beach trips: Easiest route, best beach, gear. Tip: Pack a beach bag ready for guest use (toys, beach towels, sunscreen).
Grocery shopping/wine store: Directions to your favorites.
Entertainment: Include community events, local favorites, stuff your family likes to do.
Local Restaurants: Provide a range of options: Kid-friendly, breakfast, casual, upscale, pizza, specialties of the area.
Miscellaneous: Movie Theaters, Malls, Aquarium, Zoo, Skate parks.