Do’s and Don’ts
From the earliest part of the discussions (either face-to-face or in emails) it is advisable to establish parameters. These include hands-off rooms or closets, use of computers, cars, etc. It is good to be specific on matters such as who will foot the utility payments and other things like minor accidents using the appliances and the like.
Confirmations on all the agreed-on matter are very important. And they are useful if written down. People forget. Records stay on paper. Confirmations are also important on the final details of your arrangement.
Telling the neighbors
It is always good policy to inform the neighbors that you are lending your home to guests for the time you are away. Aside from potential untoward incidents or animosities, neighbors can be a big help to your guests.
Instructions and notes
Write down emergency numbers of local doctors and local police for the benefit of your exchange partners. Include written guides and other instructions on how to operate appliances and other equipments or anything else that need some explanation.
If you are the guests and there will be an addition to your party, it is common courtesy that you inform your hosts. A friend or a relative or two might pop up and join you at the last minute either for part or all of your stay. Tell your hosts at once and if the home can accommodate the addition, in most cases it shall be accepted.
Clean up after you
You owe it to your hosts to put the home back to its original state: clean bed sheets on the bed, clean towels in the bathroom, washed and dried dishes in their racks, scrubbed oven, etc.
Replace items that you used up, like washing powder, sugar, cooking oil, etc. If you swapped cars as well, be sure to leave it with a full tank of gas.
The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule might serve as a good reminder that while you are at your home exchange partner’s home, he is also living in yours. What you would expect him to do with your house, he expects you to do the same to his.