House Swap?

October 15, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga-(WTVM)-You've heard about trading in your car, but what about your house?

Home trading programs seem to be growing in popularity these days.  Local realtor Skip Davidson explains how the process works.

"When we go to the closing table, we swap keys," says Davidson.

His company's huge billboards are hard to miss and so are the yard signs, especially for anxious buyers and sellers looking to move their property in a tight market.

"What we do is, we'll come into your home and do an evaluation on your home, we'll do comparable houses in your area and tell you what we think your house is worth," says Davidson of Gordon and Associates.

The homeowner then keeps the equity in their house and moves into the new one.  Trading usually takes place when there's a sizeable price gap.  For example, when someone is moving "up" into a larger, more expensive home or downsizing.

The bonus for the builder or real estate company is that they get to move some of their existing inventory and buy another property at a slightly cheaper price, fix it up and sell it.

As for the homeowner, trading cuts out the middle man and the fees involved.

"It allows the homeowner to eliminate the process of selling their home, going through the process and sometimes painful process of selling their home," says Davidson.

A process Davidson says his company has been using for years, but is becoming more popular these days.

"In the market like it is now, you've got to be creative and we try to be, stay ahead of the curve."

Home trading actually isn't a new trend, it's an old one that tends to gain popularity when the market is slow.

The most important factor in a trade is that both parties are comfortable with the price offered in the swap.

Another thing to consider is that there are several websites out that allow homeowners to literally "swap" houses with one another, but be leary, because you may not know what you're really getting.