By Frances Traynor
14th February 2018
Wed 20 Dec 2017 by Frances Traynor
It seems to be the perfect arrangement – buyer views prospective home and discovers seller is looking for a home just like the one the buyer currently lives in. They agree a deal and swap homes. And that's exactly what happened to two families in the town of Kinross, Fife.
David and Margaret West wanted to downsize from their three-bed detached property and listed the house on the online estate agents HouseSimple. John Davie, who was looking for a bigger home for his family, came along to view and in conversation mentioned he had a two-bed semi ready to go on the market.
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The Wests looked at Mr Davie's home and liked what they saw, while the Davie family fell for the Wests' abode. The two couples agreed they'd love to swap. Each put in an offer on the other's home and, hey presto, the deal was done and on October 12, they moved into each other's homes.
HouseSimple have described the deal as a "UK first", its founder Sophie Gosling saying: "David and John have provided a glimpse into the future of home buying."
While tenants of councils and housing associations have been able to swap homes easily, recent house swaps in the private sector have tended to be for short-term, vacation-style lets, on the likes of Airbnb. However, estate agents have been arranging similar swap deals for privately-owned homes for decades, often putting a prospective viewer in touch with a seller precisely because each has something the other wants.
It's certainly true that online estate agents have made listing a property easier than ever, and a vast majority of estate agents are able to list their properties on national sites to increase visibility. And it definitely cuts out a lot of time and potential expense if you find a place you want to buy and the seller is equally determined to buy your property from you.
What the HouseSimple transaction demonstrates is that luck often plays a part in finding the home of your dreams. And it shows that being willing to compromise and ready to think out of the box can help you make your move.
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