Online house trades growing

Diane Peek needed to move from Georgia to central Florida, but for six months no one even showed interest in the house she and her husband built outside Atlanta.

MIAMI — Diane Peek needed to move from Georgia to central Florida, but for six months no one even showed interest in the house she and her husband built outside Atlanta.

In suburban Orlando, Andrew Bou needed to sell his family home to move to Atlanta, but also no luck. Peek and Bou each joined a website that matches people willing to trade their homes. They punched in their needs, their likes and dislikes and like two singles finding love on a dating site, they became a match. About seven months later, they swapped homes.

Peek and Bou are part of a small but growing number of homeowners who are turning to the Internet to swap properties. The sites — there are about a dozen — allow interested homeowners to browse potential swaps narrowed by giving preferences like price range, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and city of choice. The homeowner also creates an account with the same information for others to browse.

“It was a wonderful experience for us,” Peek said. “To me it’s just a great thing with the housing market the way it is right now. It’s a great way to hold on to your equity if you have to move.”

But some experts say they don’t expect online house trading to become a major trend because in most cases it’s usually simpler to sell one’s home, move to the other city and house hunt. Swapping also limits choices because the traders have to be swapping regions.

Brian Stroka, owner of onlinehousetrading.com, the site Peek used to swap her home, said the swaps aren’t pure trades — it’s a little more complicated than that. Each party buys the other’s home, getting a new mortgage. That gives a bit more flexibility as the homes can be of widely differing values.

On his site, it’s free to post a proposed trade, profile and to look at properties. There is a US$29.95 one-time fee for advanced searches and he makes money from advertising.

The Tampa entrepreneur has no way of tracking successful trades unless someone writes to thank him. He says his site is growing fast. He founded it in June 2007 and it has more than 50,000 profiles and gets about 75 new ones a day. He said he started his site after the “market started to get worse and worse and people couldn’t sell their homes.”

That’s why Megan Seitz, a Detroit real estate agent, launched mkhomeswap.com in February. It has 270 registered users, who for a fee ranging from $20-$150 can trade, rent or sell their homes.

“Let’s say they found another home who was listed for swap, they could contact each other. It’s completed like a normal transaction,” she said.

Michael Pastushkov, owner of besthouseswap.com, said the main difference between old-fashioned home buying and online swapping is “you cut out the middle man,” often saving agent commissions.

But real estate agents use the method too.

Jose Bribiesca, owner of JB Realty Group Inc., in North Miami Beach, said that during Florida’s housing boom sellers could name their price for their property, he said. There was no need to trade.

“Now there is huge supply and a low demand,” he said.

He specializes in trading, posting his ads on Craigslist and other sites. He takes a commission if he is able to trade a property.

Just Posted

Parenting: Every woman will have a different pregnancy experience

Wife whose hormones are unbalanced can be unpleasant experience

Men posing as repo men attempt to steal vehicle in Red Deer County

Two men attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a Red Deer… Continue reading

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Bowden baby in need of surgery

“Help for Alexis” Go Fund Me account

PHOTO: First Rider bus safety in Red Deer

Central Alberta students learned bus safety in the Notre Dame High School… Continue reading

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Woman has finger ripped off at West Edmonton Mall waterslide

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan woman says she lost a finger after her… Continue reading

Uncertainty looms over Canada’s cannabis tourism, but ambitions are high

TORONTO — Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven… Continue reading

Feds mulling safeguards to prevent ‘surge’ of cheap steel imports into Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government extended an olive branch of sorts to… Continue reading

Ontario govt caps off summer session by passing bill to cut Toronto council size

TORONTO — The Ontario government passed a controversial bill to slash the… Continue reading

Updated:Italian bridge collapse sends cars plunging, killing 26

MILAN — A 51-year-old highway bridge in the Italian port city of… Continue reading

Saudi Arabia spat affecting Canadians embarking on hajj, community members say

TORONTO — Members of Canada’s Muslim community say recent tensions between Ottawa… Continue reading

Tug carrying up to 22,000 litres of fuel capsizes in Fraser River off Vancouver

VANCOUVER — The smell of diesel filled the air as crews worked… Continue reading

Nebraska executes first inmate using fentanyl

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska carried out its first execution in more than… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month