One of the benefits of buying a home in San Francisco is that it opens you up to lodging around the world for free! How does this happen you may wonder. One site that offers you the chance to exchange homes is called HomeExchange.com. My husband, Michael, and I have enjoyed exchanging homes with people locally and around the world for a fee of about $100 a year through this website. We have stayed in beautiful homes and apartments in Paris, Barcelona, Maine, Bodega Bay and most recently, Montreal, simply by switching places with the family who lived in these places. (The photo above is the home in Maine where we stayed). Since many people around the world want to visit San Francisco (lucky for us), there is literally an opportunity to stay in almost any country in the world (although I think I will skip North Korea).
Our home in Paris was a 14th century apartment in the 16th arrondissement near the Eiffel Tower. It was about 3000 square feet and had three bedrooms and three bathrooms with five fireplaces. The apartment exuded luxury and was filled with oil paintings and sculpture. In fact, when we opened the red velvet drapery covering the French doors and peered into the apartment, my husband looked at me and said, “We got the better end of this deal.” It had so much room that we invited my husband’s sister and her husband and daughter to join us on our Paris adventure.
Most recently, we stayed in Montreal over the holidays and exchanged with a couple who had a home in an up and coming residential neighborhood. Once again, the home was very spacious, so much so that not only did Michael’s sister’s family join us for the holidays but my brother, his wife, and son came, too. We celebrated the Christmas holiday there and explored the very French city of Montreal.
People often ask me how I feel about other people staying in my home. We always take our time in getting our place ready so that others will have a great time. We put away certain items for safe keeping but frankly we have never had any issues with anyone taking any of our things. The reason is that we would know where to find them.:) Obviously, there is a certain amount of trust involved but I am always pleasantly surprised how well kept our home is when we return. This is one of the many perks of home ownership in the City by the Bay.