Dear HomeLink Member,
As the end of 2015 draws near, we begin looking toward our next year’s adventures or perhaps a last minute holiday adventure! It’s a time when Members are updating their listing(s), so remember to visit the website at www.homelink.org and change your “Dates and Destinations” if necessary.
It is also time to think about exchange details that are important to you. You might consider making a list of these items in advance, so when it is time to arrange your next exchange you will be better equipped to address all items of importance to avoid any surprises. Our “Just a Reminder…” section contains a cautionary tale along with the link to our home swap guide to help with arranging your next exchange.
We continue working on our new website and are happy to report we have recently hired an additional programmer for a more efficient implementation of website improvements. Our priority remains on improving the search function while tending to other issues from our member feedback.
With this being the season of giving thanks, we want to take special care in letting you know how much we appreciate your continued and constructive feedback, which is an integral part of our ongoing improvement process. Most important, we are grateful you have all stayed with us during this transition year to the new site and look forward to the new year bringing a website we will all enjoy using at every level!
We wish you well and look forward to a productive and successful home exchange season.
Karl & Katie
Receiving Various Notifications from HomeLink: Some Members have been reporting they are not receiving our various notifications sent to your personal email address.
Currently, we send:
- Message notifications, informing you have received a message at your HomeLink inbox. You can reply to the actual message sent by clicking the blue “Reply” link found within the contents of the notification.
TIP: We recommend the next time you log into our site, http://www.homelink.org, you select the “Remember me” option. Then you will be sent directly to the message to reply to instead of having to log in whenever you click the “Reply” link mentioned above.
- Renewal Reminders sent 30 days prior to your renewal date.
- Listing Alerts notifying you of new listings, listings that have recently updated their Dates & Destinations and previous listings that have been renewed. These are discussed more in our “IT Update…” section below.
In case your mail server is recognizing any of these notifications as spam, please add the following email addresses to your contact list or address book for your email account:
Just A Reminder…
Exchange Etiquette: Although we appreciate our fellow HomeLinkers accept that home swapping comes with its own idiosyncrasies and adapt to most reasonable scenarios during their exchanges, we continue receiving reports of circumstances that are not acceptable. Therefore, we believe it our responsibility to include this as a reminder of proper exchange etiquette.
The most recent report pertains to what not to do during and after an exchange and is being shared as a cautionary tale to keep in mind while arranging and during your future exchanges. To summarize, our members had a most enjoyable exchange while traveling abroad, however upon their return, they were faced with a number of unfortunate issues. Specifically, their Exchange Partners had consumed several bottles of their wine and most all of their beer without replacing any of it. Further, they didn’t replace the full tank of gas left as a courtesy for their car exchange. They also apparently borrowed some outerwear that cannot be found.
We currently have our 10 Principles For A Successful Exchange posted on both our local and central websites. However, we have not included the specific recommendations to replace what you consume (within reason) and return any borrowed gear, as this is already practiced by the vast majority of our members and it is a fine line to walk when putting forth explicit, obvious guidelines without offending at least some of our Members.
To that end, we have included various “detail” fields on our Exchange Agreement Forms where you can enter specific expectations, instructions, etc. for your exchange partner. We encourage everyone to complete an Exchange Agreement Form to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises.
Reduced Renewal Fees: We wish to continue rewarding members who have been with us over the years, so to ensure you benefit from lower member rates, please renew BEFORE your listing expires online. When you login, use the “Renew” link to the left of the screen on your “Dashboard” page. This renewal link first appears 90 days in advance of your renewal date.
The link below will take you to a follow-up from our last newsletter…this is just too good to make up! Thanks again, Emily for sharing your amusing tale.
We recently received the anecdote below from yet another longtime HomeLinker, enjoying their 10-year anniversary with HomeLink! Thanks for sending this to us, John & Linda and we wish you many more successful exchange!
…And The Small World Tales Continue!
Thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate that and your time. Running a business these days can be challenging and time consuming. We appreciate HomeLink and the benefits we receive. We have had some great exchanges over the years. Just one interesting anecdote, if I may. Last November we had one of our better exchanges. We went to New Orleans for the National Association of Realtors® Conference. It was great. This past March we had a couple come form Montenegro [to our home in Uruapan, Mexico]. After leaving Uruapan, they were going to New Orleans. Guess what? They had an exchange with the same folks we had met and [exchanged with]! Small world story.
By the way we are doing a simultaneous San Diego exchange in November and will go to the annual NAR Conference in that city….”
It is our honor to share this next story in the form of a book authored by one of our HomeLink USA Members, Fiona McDougall. Her book, Moroccan Moments illustrates her travels, where she enjoyed a home swap for part of the time in El Jadida. Thank you for sharing your amazing images with us, Fiona! We very much enjoyed seeing such an intimate portrayal of Morocco through your photos and narrative.
Fiona McDougall, OneWorld Communications, San Francisco, www.OneWorldSF.com
The book can be purchased on the Blurb website.
Our last story to share with you comes from a HomeLinker who realized true romance while on exchange…thanks for sharing this and congratulations to you and RJ, Claudia!
Home Exchanges Can Be Very Romantic!
“On a recent exchange to Cannes, France, RJ and Claudia of Carlsbad, Ca. were overcome by the romance of the area. Staying in the historic Cloistre San Louis in Avignon, RJ unexpectedly proposed. Claudia accepted. The couple says, “We either fell apart in France, or maybe we fell together.”
HomeLink Legacy Site Update: As previously reported, the downward trend of our members accessing the Legacy Site for previous correspondence, etc. continues.
Therefore, we are planning to phase this out by the end of the year, so please take some time over the next month to access your listing at the Legacy Site to transfer any exchange agreement information, messages, member contact information, etc. to your computer for your long term reference.
Access the legacy site at: http://legacy.homelink.org, you log in with your Home Link Member Number and password used at the old site. If you need this login info, please send us a request at Katie@homelink-usa.org
Listing Alerts: We have sorted out most issues related to our Listing Alerts and have sent these out over the past couple weeks to all members who have indicated they wish to receive them. We continue working on a few minor bugs reported by our members and hope to have them resolved very soon.
One particular issue: to help minimize an inconvenience when trying to view a listing from the Listing Alert email, make sure you are logged into our site through the web browser the listing opens up in after clicking into it from the Listing Alert email. This normally occurs in the default web browser set up on your computer.