A question that is often asked by new home swappers, is how they should exchange keys with their home swap guests. The good news is, there are various simple solutions!
Options for exchanging keys:
Leave with neighbours, family or friends
This is the easiest solution for a swap host, and by far the cheapest of all options – after you factor in the ‘thank you’ bottle of wine for their efforts, of course! You just need to ensure that your trusted key-provider will arrive at the agreed meeting place on time, and that they are contactable by phone or email for both you and your guest.
However, leaving keys with someone can have its downsides. Sometimes (especially with international home swaps) your guests may be arriving in the early hours of the morning, which may make handing over keys difficult and inconvenient. You also need a back-up plan in case your neighbour isn’t home when your guests arrive.
This approach works well if you only home swap once or twice a year. However, if you’re home swapping any more than that, you may want to look at other options. Which leads us to…
Invest in an outdoor code lock box
Key boxes allow your guests to access the keys when no one will be there to greet them. This is a great option if you plan to take part in a large amount of home swaps, if you live in a rural area, or if you are planning a Points Swap or non-simultaneous swap.
Lock boxes are a very affordable way to hand over keys, with a one-off payment starting from as little as £20. They work by keeping your keys in a secure box, accessed only by a pin code that your guests will be able to use to retrieve the keys upon their arrival. When departing, all your guests have to do is put the keys back in the box – ready for the next person.
Although affordable, key boxes can pose a potential break-in risk if they’re not used properly. For this reason, ensure that guests always securely close the box after leaving your home, and invest in a system that automatically resets the code after each guest’s stay.
Use a key exchange service
With the rise of home-sharing, there has been a growth in services helping accommodate hosts and their guests. The right provider for you will depend on the country you are based in, and where you live within that country.
Key Nest is a great option and is currently available in many areas across Europe and North America.
Another good key holding service is Key Café, who have over 800 pick-up locations in 40+ cities. The service is controlled through an app that also includes real-time ID verification, so you can see exactly who is accessing your home and when.