Sher and Luke Bruun have outgrown their two-bedroom Apple Valley townhouse and are itching to get into a house with more room for their family.
Since May, they've tried to sell the house on their own by using real estate websites, but with six other townhouses for sale on their street, they've had little luck. So they're looking for someone willing to trade a larger house for their smaller one.
With buyers in short supply, more people are choosing to explore house swaps. Many of them have to sell because of a job change, or because they need more -- or less -- space. Many aren't interested in becoming landlords and renting their homes. And for some, a swap is their last attempt at avoiding foreclosure.
With hundreds of thousands of homes for sale advertised on traditional real estate listing services, house swapping is a small niche of the market, but it is growing. Craigslist, a free classified advertisement website, added a "Housing Swap" category about two years ago in response to user demand. It logged 11,000 listings nationwide in June and the company said numbers have doubled from last year.
Homeowners post a description of the property they're trying to sell and of the type of home they're seeking. When there's a successful match, the owners negotiate to buy each other's homes. The sale and purchase of the two properties is typically done at the same time, so no one is left paying two mortgages.
Photo by woodsy.