Dear PoP – Home Swap

Photo by PoPville flickr user oconnicole

“Dear PoP,

I am wondering if any of your readers in Columbia Heights and Petworth (and beyond) have used their homes for home exchanges and/or short term rentals. I am thinking about doing it and would love to hear the experience of others.”

8 Comment

  • I haven’t done it since I’ve moved to Petworth, but I rented out my basement apartment on the Hill last summer for 6 weeks, and I did it every summer while in grad school in Winston Salem, NC. I found the renters on Craigslist and used my gut and references and haven’t had a problem. Usually I require a months rent check as security that I just give back to them at the end, and ask them to pay the utilites as they come, though sometimes I paid the internet to sweeten the deal. Nobody ever broke or stole anything and its all insured anyway.

    I’ll be needing a renter again this summer, but now its a nicer two bedroom condo with awesome parking so I’m not too worried about finding someone. Good luck!

  • Do some research – check out,, and the vacation rental section on CL (search on DC specific words like “Smithsonian” or “Capitol” to weed out all the non-DC places.)

    Depends on your location and set up, but I’ve been doing short-stay vacation rentals in CH for 3 years – with 90% occupancy year-round. Never had a problem and met a lot of cool people.

    Also, there are often people looking for 4-6 week stays for classes, internships, research visits or to apt. hunt.

  • I use Airbnb all the time for my spare room. great folks who use it.

  • We are thinking of doing it too! I think you want to be honest about the “feel” of your block, e.g. if you think that country bumpkins wouldn’t enjoy it.

    Rented in St Michael’s last summer through VRBO…

  • Haven’t tried it yet, but I might.

  • I thought about it – I imagined swapping my Petworth rowhouse for a nice Tuscany farmhouse…then I remembered that I live in Petworth. Then I remembered I have a lot of pets. Then I just decided to stay in a hotel!

    In theory it’s a nice idea anyway…

  • My parents in Bethesda have used Intervac three times and loved it. It has a high membership fee, but I think that makes everyone think that everyone’s legitimate, and no one’s going to rob your place or send you to some non-existent address. And even though Bethesda’s the suburbs, they managed a swap with a family that has a condo in Paris – a further out arrondissement, but still in the city. When I get some money, I’m definitely considering using Intervac.

  • My parents did a house exchange with a family in Dupont/Logan and were really pleased with how things turned out.

    I know they are looking for other house swap opportunities with people in DC…If you have any interest in a house swap in either Scotland or Ireland, please let me know.

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