Keep up to date on the latest news from HomeSwapper.
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In a bid to address the lack of a national service to facilitate moving households in urgent need of re-housing, HomeSwapper, thanks to its size and track record, have today launched an Urgent Moves Service (UMS).
HomeSwapper's new Urgent Moves Service is a free tool for partnering landlords enabling them to help move households in urgent need of re-housing. A service allowing landlords to blend the power of HomeSwapper's automated matching with the need for urgent moves.
John Carthew, Managing Director of HomeSwapper explains: "Not since the demise of the HOMES Mobility Scheme in 2007 has there been a national scheme to facilitate households who need to move urgently. However demand never went away from both tenants and landlords."
"HomeSwapper records 17,000 swaps a year, that's three times the amount of moves achieved by the old Homeswap mutual exchange scheme; now we want to do the same with a replacement to the HOMES Mobility Scheme, but we're using our expertise to make it better."
"Due to our considerable success over the past few years HomeSwapper is best positioned to ensure a UMS service will succeed – our social landlord partner cover 60% of UK social rented housing."
"UMS is not only easy, but effective too. Partnering landlords will still be able to refer UMS cases to other landlords however; the key difference of the new service is that landlords have the power to make moves happen with little or even no help from other landlords."
"Harnessing the power of mutual exchange, HomeSwapper will immediately show landlords up to the minute mutual exchange matches for their UMS tenants. This will enable them to identify a suitable new home from readily available homes registered on HomeSwapper. If UMS tenant's home isn't attractive to the person whose home they want their landlords could elect to offer a void home nearby to make the move happen."
"The key benefit of HomeSwapper's Urgent Moves Service is the transformational effect on the lives of tenants who need to move urgently, and in some cases in those they are moving to support and as a business driven by an ethos "to make a difference in people's lives by blending commercial and social strategies", we're delighted to launch our Urgent Moves Service as a free housing option to all of our partnering RSLs."
Over the summer we've seen a 30% increase in the number of swaps HomeSwapper has achieved.
This means that we're now seeing over 16,000 swaps a year – that's equivalent to 63 households moving every working day of the year!
Get the latest news, offers and updates from HomeSwapper by following our twitter at www.twitter.com/homeswapperteam or join our HomeSwapper Facebook group.
Leading mutual exchange service HomeSwapper.co.uk is celebrating its latest milestone – 100,000 live members!.
Having seen nearly a quarter of a million social tenants register with the service in a little over two years, coupled with today's news that there are currently 100,000 live members actively looking for swaps; HomeSwapper.co.uk has become the largest mutual exchange service in the UK.
With the help of our fantastic members and other fund-raising HomeSwapper raised over £650 for Comic Relief.
Comic Relief supports long-term projects which help people to help themselves across the UK and Africa.
A big "Thank you" to everyone who helped!
The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) launched the National Conversation in January. The aim is to find out what is important to social housing customers and use the findings to raise standards across the board.
The National Conversation is your chance to tell The Tenants Services Authority (TSA) what services are most important to you as a tenant of a housing association, council, co-op or ALMO. This will help the TSA set standards that will make sure your landlord gives you excellent service. Take part by filling out a questionnaire, going to an event in your area or by holding your own event. Read moreHave your say Speak up!
The National Conversation is about you, your neighbourhood and your community and you can make a real difference to the future of all three. Getting involved is easy, simply visit the site now and take part - http://www.nationalconversation.co.uk/Home.aspx
With over 430 landlord partners and more than 84,000 tenant members, HomeSwapper really has become the number one choice in mutual exchange in social housing.
This week, HomeSwapper reached another milestone – the service has facilitated over 3 million property matches since its launch.
Kevin Gilhooly, Head of Partnership development commented: "With the amount of members using HomeSwapper growing, the potential for tenants to find a match increases week by week. We currently have over 84,000 registered members who are actively seeking to find a new home and receive an average of 45 potential matches. "
"It is a service which works effectively for our members and allows great flexibility of use. Once tenants register with HomeSwapper they receive automated matches via email, often within 24 hours. If they cannot easily access the internet they can opt to receive matches by text to their mobile phone. For the more proactive members there is a search facility and multi swap function on the site that allows them to actively search for their next home. To date HomeSwapper has helped over 9,500 families swap homes throughout the UK".
Rosanna, her husband and their two children aged fourteen and nine, wanted a swap to move nearer to their children's schools. After only a few months on HomeSwapper Rosanna found the perfect house and could not believe the property was previously lived in by her husband's parents.
"The fact that my husband grew up in this house is amazing. We were beginning to think we wouldn't find an exchange, then one day I received a match and it turned out to be this house."
"My husband's parents died just under 2 years ago but had lived in the house before my husband was born. He grew up here and holds many memories; there is still the original fireplace that he helped his dad build."
"We have moved into another three bedroom house and have remained in Maidstone and with our same Landlord, Maidstone Housing Trust. "
"The lady we exchanged with now lives up the road from her parents which has helped her out a lot and our new home has made my husband very happy, as his children can grow up in the same house as he did."
Tenants looking to increase the chance of swapping their homes for something more suitable are being urged to take photographs of their home. HomeSwapper has found that registrants with photos are 2 ½ times more likely to get a swap.
"We found HomeSwapper to be an excellent service for swapping our home. Photographs really do help, as people can get a look at your property before they get in contact with you". Mark
"We were only on HomeSwapper for a month we had loads of interest in our property and we found our ideal house. Advice to other home swappers put pictures of your property on your pages you will find your ideal swap quicker. Thanks HomeSwapper." Lisa
Nigel Carter, HomeSwapper Development Manager said "This is proof that a picture really does paint a thousand words! Photographs used to advertise a tenant's home can really catch the eye and increase the amount of interest from other members. We've also helped our members to make the most of this feature by making the process as simple as possible and increasing the size and the number of photos that they can upload. It really is very simple and members can use either a digital camera or the camera on their mobile phone. Some members have really embraced the idea and have also added links to their own online photo albums such as Flickr."
With an increasing number of tenants looking to move, HomeSwapper advice for registrants is get clicking.
HomeSwapper is unique as an online mutual exchange service because it allows tenants to include not only local areas they may wish to move to, but also areas outside of their current district. As our recent statistics show:
These statistics dispel the myth that most people only want to move within a short distance of where they currently live. Other mutual exchange services are only able to offer local exchanges whereas HomeSwapper is a national scheme and supports mobility throughout the UK as well as for those just wanting to move nearby.
Many landlords also benefit from using "HomeSwapper Lists" – these printed versions of the register allow tenants without internet access to browse through the details of swappers throughout the UK who wish to move IN, WITHIN or OUT of the landlord's area.
New Charter Housing Trust tenant, Esther, a former Gatwick based air stewardess, lived with her partner Ray and young son Lewis in Manchester. Having lived close to her parents whilst Lewis was a baby, Esther was missing the capital and decided that she wanted to return to London so it would be easier for her to return to work and to be closer to Ray's family.
"I knew finding a move from Manchester to London would take some time as so many people want to live in London but I joined HomeSwapper with my fingers crossed, I'd seen some fantastic real-life stories of people who had swapped with the service and knew it could work for us too."
"Having put my ad up on HomeSwapper in September 2007 I was matched with a few properties but nothing really fitted the bill. A year later we were matched with a two bed first floor flat in Richmond, we saw the property and it was perfect."
"Within weeks of being matched to the property we were making the move back to London. Our new home is perfect, the area is lovely, the apartment is part of a newly built block in a lovely area and it is very secure – I know Lewis will be safe here. We also get to see family more frequently and are both so, so much happier."
"Thank you HomeSwapper, it was certainly worth the wait."
In an eventful 19 months since its launch, HomeSwapper has become the mutual exchange service of choice for both landlords and tenants. HomeSwapper has attracted over 170,000 registrations, 390 landlord partners and has helped over 10,000 families find new homes.
As a service designed to support landlords with their mobility services, HomeSwapper relies on feedback from its partners. To this end, HomeSwapper organised its first North of England landlord focus group co-hosted by Guinness Northern Counties.
Held in Oldham and attended by 16 landlords including Berneslai Homes, Plus Dane Group, Northwards Housing, City West Housing, Manchester City Council and Mosscare Housing, the group met to share best practice ideas. Landlords discussed the various ways of marketing HomeSwapper to different groups of tenants, fed back their user experience of the service and learnt about new developments on HomeSwapper.
Paul Weaver, Marketing and Brand Manager added: "We were very pleased with all the positive feedback we gained from the meeting and took away some interesting ideas from landlords on how we can continue to develop the service for them."
Debbie and her partner Peter not only wanted to find a property closer to her parents but were looking for a fresh start. Having heard about HomeSwapper through her landlord, Chelmer Housing Partnership, Debbie started looking for a new location to live.
"As it is just me and my husband, we were looking to swap for a fresh start and to be closer to my parents. We were on the site for three months when we found a swap with a couple who were only on there for two days!"
"When the other couple came to look at our property we felt like we had known them for years, as they were such a nice couple to get on with. After a second visit we decided it was the one and we have now moved to New Milton in Hampshire."
"The new flat will benefit us both, not only it is nearer my parents but it has disabled facilities suitable for my husband. It also gives us the opportunity to meet new people and explore better job opportunities."
In just over fifteen months since landlord functionality went live, HomeSwapper marks the news that we have 100% renewals on all landlords who joined the UK's leading Mutual Exchange service since its launch last year.
This news not only means that over 360 landlords are offering tenants additional housing options through HomeSwapper but 1.5 million of those landlords' tenants can also use the popular service for free.
Kevin Gilhooly, Head of Partnership Development at HomeSwapper added: "Our partnership team have had a fantastic first year working hard with landlords and the success of HomeSwapper with their tenants in a short space of time is reflected in the achievement of 100% renewals. The team is continuing to work closely with landlords who are keen to join HomeSwapper and provide an accessible and free service for their tenants."
"What's more, thanks to partnering landlords, 1.5 million households now have access to a completely free additional housing option – a choice that really does work!"
HomeSwapper is only 18 months old but already has the largest database of it's kind in the UK!
As well as having more homes than anyone else, what makes us unique is that we constantly search our database for potential swaps ("matches") saving you the time and effort. We then send you the details by email or SMS message.
Here's some great statistics:
HomeSwapper4Sale.co.uk launched this week responding to growing demand for a service as quick and effective as HomeSwapper... but with homes for sale!
HomeSwapper moves 600 families each month; compare that to just 5 sales a month for the average estate agency in summer 2008.
Following the affects of the credit crunch in the US, home swapping, property exchanges and house swaps became very popular, and HomeSwapper4Sale.co.uk aims to be the dominant site within the UK market offering this type of service. Over the last 12-18 months selling by swapping has become a popular way of moving or exchanging your home. These moves are happening through NEW services like HomeSwapper4Sale.co.uk.
Families in the UK desperate to move need a way of making this happen and HomeSwapper4Sale.co.uk is here to help – with an introductory offer of FREE registration.
Two HomeSwapper staff members took the challenge of cycling from the capital to the coast to raise funds for the largest charity cycle event of its kind in Europe.
The 54-mile event is the British Heart Foundations’ biggest fundraising event, raising over £3.9m in 2007. The hope this year is to raise even more to help continue the charities lifesaving work, the HomeSwapper Team managed to raise an impressive £500.
Ian Thompson, one of the peddlers said: "The hardest part of the 54-miles was ascending Ditchling Beacon. I was one of the 5% of people who cycled it but got overtaken by most of the people walking and pushing their bikes up it."
After a family day out to London, Lydia her partner, his sister and their two children started to get the bug for city living. Having discussed the career opportunities available to them in London as well as considering the many fun things they could do as a family in the capital city Lydia set out to find a suitable home in a bid to move away from their home town of Llandudno in North Wales.
"Within hours of joining HomeSwapper we had received plenty of offers but a certain house caught my eye – it was in the perfect location, beautifully maintained and seemed spacious – I wanted it!"
"I contacted the tenants who told me they were looking to move to Cambridge – so I set about finding them a property. The very next day I found a suitable property but the tenants there were looking to move to rural middle England. Having got this far I got back online and searched for a suitable property for them – luckily I found a beautiful village home in Leicestershire and having contacted the tenants there they were interested in my property – success and it had only taken me 3 days!"
"Within the week we’d all viewed each other’s homes and agreed to a 4-way swap – this was in March, on the 7th June we all moved into our new homes – it was certainly a smooth and successful 4-way swap."
"We now live in a beautiful 4-bed, three story house in St John’s Wood. We have a front and back garden which is very much enjoyed by our rabbit Roger and have a fruit and veg market on the doorstep. My daughters have got into wonderful new schools and as a family we are just so much happier."
"Swapping homes with HomeSwapper has been like winning the lottery; I can’t believe that we found the house of our dreams for only £6.95. Thank you for changing our lives!"
During the first week of June, HomeSwapper hit an all new tenant milestone – 50,000 tenants were live, registered members of the service.
Already that figure has increased to 54,000 and grows by the week.
This news cements the service's place as the tenants' number one choice for mutual exchange; especially as a total of over 127,000 tenants have registered since its launch last year.
What's more, 62% of live members are using HomeSwapper for free thanks to their partnering landlord.
Kevin Gilhooly, Head of Partnership Development at HomeSwapper commented: "With the amount of members using HomeSwapper growing, the potential for tenants to find a match increases week by week. We currently have 54,000 properties being advertised online meaning that 77% of tenants will be successfully matched to a potential swap within 24 hours of joining."
Living in a two-bed house with her seven year old daughter, Michelle, a tenant of City of Edinburgh Council , used HomeSwapper to find an exchange from the hustle and bustle of city life for a quieter way of life in Dunfermline .
Michelle was shocked to have so much interest in her home and so quickly - sometimes having three or four viewings a week. "I couldn't believe how easy it was to find matches and those matches were incredible."
"Despite having a large choice of swaps, it wasn't long before I found my ultimate dream home in Wellwood. It is located next to a large golf course and surrounded by beautiful areas to walk in with big open fields; our new puppy loves it!"
Michelle's new home is a mere 30 minutes away from her previous house but a whole world away from the humdrum of a big City.
"HomeSwapper.co.uk was brilliant, it is a great site and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a swap."
In a year since landlord functionality went live HomeSwapper's latest sign up the London Borough of Wandsworth, marks the news that 13 of the 33 London boroughs are now partnered with HomeSwapper.
This news not only means that 40% of London's councils are offering tenants additional housing options through HomeSwapper but those tenants can also use the popular service for free.
Landlord's partnering HomeSwapper throughout London include the London Borough's of Camden, Islington and Hillingdon, Ealing and Tower Hamlets Borough Councils, London and Quadrant and Kensington and Chelsea TMO.
Kevin Gilhooly, Head of Partnership Development at HomeSwapper said: "Due to the general lack of available social housing stock throughout London HomeSwapper certainly gives tenants a new and reliable housing option. We have already seen many successful swaps within the area and are getting positive feedback from landlords on the difference HomeSwapper is making to their service provision."
One of the key benefits that has attracted over 300 landlords to partner with HomeSwapper is that with no hidden costs, no IT procurement and no lengthy training HomeSwapper really can be up and running in days.
Andrew Myatt, Head of Neighbourhoods at Wiltshire based Selwood Housing, said: "We have been very impressed with HomeSwapper. Going live with the service was almost immediate. The process was simple and seamless meaning we had access to a new tenant housing option within a few short days.
"Having only used HomeSwapper for a couple of months our neighbourhood managers can't be more enthusiastic about the service and its ease of use."
Kevin Gilhooly, Head of Partnership Development at HomeSwapper added: "Knowing the time pressures facing housing office staff we designed HomeSwapper to be as straight forward and easy to use as possible thus giving landlords a useful additional housing option rather than a new administrative nightmare."
Based in Kent, mum of three Carol, a tenant of Bexley Churches Housing Association, was often unable to attend events at her son's school due to the problems she had with parking on her road. This and a wish to be within walking distance of the school prompted her to join HomeSwapper.
Within two months Carol found her perfect swap: "The house we are moving to is very similar to the home we're in now but it has a driveway and garage and more importantly, it is closer to my son's special needs school.
"There are often after school events and activities on for parents and children and we were usually unable to go as it was difficult to get there from our house in Bexley, now, thanks to HomeSwapper.co.uk, the school is going to be right on the doorstep!"
"It is the perfect swap the person we are swapping with doesn't own a car and wants to live closer to the public transport links, shops and her son's college – all of which are on the doorstep of our old home!"
HomeSwapper's popularity is continuing to grow amongst tenants and the popular mutual exchange service is now managing an average of 250 new tenant membership sign-ups each and every day. With many happy swappers spreading the word amongst their friends and family almost a quarter of new members come to HomeSwapper on a friend's recommendation.
Kevin Gilhooly, Head of Partnership Development at HomeSwapper, said: 'It is not only encouraging to see such a high level of membership applications each and every day but it is heartening to see that more than half of these new members are benefitting from free membership thanks to their partnering landlord.
Tenants in the South West region are set to benefit following the news that, to date, 31 landlords including Guinness, Devon and Cornwall Housing Association, Teign Housing, Carrick Housing, Exeter City Council and Tarka have all partnered the UK's leading mutual exchange service - HomeSwapper. This means that, thanks to their partnering landlords, over 150,000 tenants in the South West are able to use HomeSwapper for free – giving them a more suitable housing option than waiting on a transfer list.
Ian Thompson, Regional Manager for HomeSwapper in the South West said: "We've had a fantastic response from landlords in the South West interested in extending their mobility options and using HomeSwapper as an additional housing option for their tenants."
"With tenants reporting successful swaps throughout the region along with our simple pricing structures, landlords in the area really can see the benefits of partnering HomeSwapper."
HomeSwapper is today celebrating the news that in only one short week, six landlords with more than 100,000 in social rented stock have joined the popular Mutual Exchange service.
In just over a year HomeSwapper has gone from launch to the UK's most popular Mutual Exchange service amongst both tenants and landlords. And with over 285 landlords representing almost 30% of the UK's social rented stock partnering the service, its success really does speak for itself.
Kevin Gilhooly, Head of Partnership Development at HomeSwapper, said: "We are delighted to welcome another six partnering landlords to our popular service and know they will see the benefit of their partnership with us over the forthcoming weeks and months. I'm also extremely pleased to be able to welcome aboard two leading landlords like L&Q and Southern Housing but it is worth noting that HomeSwapper is for RSLs of any size, many partnering landlords have just a few hundred homes."
"The first quarter of 2008 has certainly been busy and we're gathering momentum daily. Better still, for the first time since HomeSwapper launched we now have more tenants using the service for free than we have tenants paying for it – a huge leap in the right direction for mobility services."
In only a year HomeSwapper has gone from launch to the UK's most popular Mutual Exchange service amongst both tenants and landlords. What's more, social tenants in over 1 million homes can now join the service for free thanks to their partnering landlord.
In its first year HomeSwapper has attracted more than 90,000 registrations, over 250 landlord partners and has helped around 5,500 families find a new, more suitable home. And, with 50% of current members using the service free of charge it really has become THE mutual exchange service of choice.
John Carthew, Managing Director of Scout Solutions, the company behind HomeSwapper, said: "We launched HomeSwapper with the aim of making the lives of the many social tenants looking to swap home a little easier whilst offering landlords an excellent new housing option."
"Already over 50% of our members benefit from HomeSwapper as a free service, ultimately we'd like to see all registered social landlords in the UK partnering HomeSwapper, that way it becomes a free service to every tenant living in one of the UK's 4 million social rented homes. I am however delighted that after only a year in operation HomeSwapper is already free to 1 million of those tenants – a huge step in the right direction."
Of the 250 landlords who have partnered HomeSwapper there is a unanimous feeling that the service not only offers a greater degree of choice and flexibility for tenants but is a system that requires little input and is easy to use in an ever demanding housing office.
David Hall, Regional Director (South and East) at Raglan comments: "HomeSwapper offers our residents much wider access to others looking to move home and as a result, has the potential to provide them with a greater degree of choice."
Andrea O'Callaghan, Allocations Manager at Swan Housing Association added: "Before we even had chance to promote our HomeSwapper partnership to tenants, over 70 Swan tenants had found the service whilst searching on the internet and signed themselves up, and with such an easy authorisation method, there is no impact on the team's workload."
"As HomeSwapper enters its second year, we're looking to capitalise on our success, continue to add value to our service and provide landlords with improved functionality making HomeSwapper a must for any housing office. I sincerely hope this will lead to non-paying tenant members considerably outweighing paying members in 12 months time" concludes John.
As the only mutual exchange service that is designed for any tenant and all landlords, HomeSwapper's success speaks for itself. So far this year over 66,000 tenants have registered and more than 180 landlords have partnered with the service in the last six months. These landlords represent over half a million homes, so 500,000+ households can use HomeSwapper for free thanks to their partnering landlord.
HomeSwapper is driven by the ethos of "making a difference in people's lives by blending commercial and social strategies", so the Chairman, Ralph Catto, could hardly say no when asked to participate in raising money for a charity which gives children, aged between 7 and 18, with many types of disability or special needs, the opportunity to experience a really stimulating and highly enjoyable group holiday in France.
"With a week to go, they were short of volunteers so I said I would help out" explains Ralph, "only then did I find out I had to abseil down a 160 foot building! I got a great deal of sponsorship from staff and consultants to the business; they understand the ethos so it was easy to ask them to get involved. I'm very grateful for the £1,000 raised which will allow some kids to experience their first proper holiday."
HomeSwapper currently features housing details in 13 different languages including Greek, Arabic, Chinese and Punjabi.
This service enables tenants whose first language is not English to look at basic property details in their own language. This week, having had requests from tenants and landlords alike, HomeSwapper's language options have increased to include Portuguese and Polish thus reflecting our multi-cultural society.
Following feedback from the HomeSwapper community we are proud to launch the HomeSwapper News section.
Two days after registering, HomeSwapper member Trudy Sealy found her ideal swap with a fellow member who had only registered the previous day.
Having accepted a new job as a Substance Misuse Counsellor, Trudy was finding the daily commute from Chertsey to Watford too much of a grind especially having to be at home to collect her young son from school.
"I was amazed at how quickly I was matched to a potential swap. After seeing see each other's houses my fellow swapper and I virtually agreed to swap there and then. It was perfect for both of us, my new house is only 3 miles away from my workplace and my old house was near to my fellow swapper's college – a perfect match!"
Two months after registering with HomeSwapper Trudy is happy in her new home.
With many people enjoying their summer holidays it is traditional for things to slow during the months of July and August – but not for HomeSwapper.
Over the last two months the HomeSwapper team have been busy handling the huge demand from landlords to partner with the service. During this time over 100 landlords with more than 250,000 homes partnered HomeSwapper - another successful period for HomeSwapper.
HomeSwapper now has partnership agreements with landlords representing 10% of the UK’s social rented stock - a ringing endorsement from the RSL community for HomeSwapper.
This news really does confirm HomeSwapper’s position as THE choice for landlords when it comes to mutual exchange.
HomeSwapper member Mandy Rowe is celebrating after completing a 6-way swap.
Mandy said: "I started looking for a swap last year but couldn’t find anyone who wanted to move from Woking to Birmingham.
I joined HomeSwapper when it launched and was amazed at how quick and easy it was to find people looking to swap.
Having found a house in Woking I wanted to swap to I set about helping them find a flat to move to in London - it was easy and before long I had a 3-way swap in hand. The third person in the chain didn’t like my home but it wasn’t long before we found three more people all looking for swaps and after some negotiation on move dates, we all moved home in June.
I really couldn’t have achieved something like this without thanks to HomeSwapper.