The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 8 No. 40 - June 25, 2008


Swapping your home for another paradise

Those of us who live on or near Anna Maria Island are always saying we live in paradise. In fact, we say it so often that I worry it will start to lose its real meaning. Well a few weeks ago while anchored near a sandbar off of Bean Point, a group of us felt that what we were experiencing that day went far beyond paradise. It was full fledge perfection. During the course of the afternoon someone brought up the idea of exchanging homes. If we live in paradise, then other people must too.

Home exchange is not a new idea, it’s been around since the 1950s, but in recent years, has really become mainstreamed because of Internet access. The way it works is that two members of an exchange group agree to swap their primary or secondary home for a mutually agreeable period of time.

Finding an exchange group is pretty easy. There are several with Internet Web sites, varying fees and slightly different formats, but basically they all contain detailed search engines. You can search by country, city, home size and more. The individual property listings give specifics about the home and usually enough pictures to satisfy the voyeurism in all of us as well as when and where the homeowner would like to exchange. Some of the more popular sites are: is chock full of properties to search through (some even on Anna Maria) and charges $100 for an annual fee. has been around a long time with fees starting at $110 annually. charges only $45 for an annual fee and is worth looking at just because it has a cool name; and is aimed at the luxury market with a $2,495 membership fee.

There are variations on exchanging homes. Typically you are living in someone’s home while they’re living in yours. However, if you own a second home there, is more flexibility with the ability to offer additional and more desirable time slots. You can even do something called a hospitality exchange, where you host a visitor in your home and then later they reciprocate in their home. After you find what you think is a suitable home for the city or country you want to visit, an e-mail correspondence is initiated with the hope of locking into a potential exchange.

Staying in a home provides you with more choices than staying in a hotel. You will have kitchen and possibly laundry facilities provided as well as more elbow room especially if you’re traveling with children or family members. Not to mention the benefit of living like a local if only for a short period of time.

Financially, this arrangement can’t be beat. Basically you’re not paying for your lodging. And if you’re thinking about traveling to Europe, this is an incredible deal with the pound and euro worth between 100 and 50 percent more than our dollar. Some home listings available for exchange will also include a vehicle or tickets to shows and sporting events, and some may ask you to care for plants or pets.

Exchanging homes is a dynamite way for people like me who love to travel and love to poke around real estate to get the best of both worlds. Just cruising through the Web sites can be addictive. However, swapping is not for everyone, especially if you’re not flexible and organized. If the thought of a stranger sleeping in your bed or reorganizing your books is more than you can process, better head straight for Marriott’s Web site. You’ll never be comfortable no matter how much money you save.

Since Florida is one of the most popular areas that exchangers are looking to trade for, our own little paradise should be an easy sell. Just be sure to include pictures taken on the sandbars around Anna Maria, and understand that paradise wears many different hats.

Real Estate Transactions
Closed sales between March 24 and April 19, 2008

Anna Maria

223 Oak Ave. Single Family $685,000
115 Peppertree Ln. Single Family 625,000
509 Spring Ave. Single Family 450,000
705 Fern St. Single Family 400,000
309 Spring Ave. Single Family 385,000
522 Pine Ave. #8a Condo 290,000
306 Poinsettia Rd. Lot 213,900

Bradenton Beach

506 Bay Drive S. Condo $1,250,000
200 Gulf Drive S. #7 Condo 750,000
1906 Gulf Drive N. #104Condo 540,000
210 Gulf Drive S. #C Condo 469,500
210 Gulf Drive S. #B Condo 399,000
1801 Gulf Drive N. #203Condo 240,000
2601 Gulf Drive N. #B17Mobile 200,000
1201 Gulf Drive S. #B Single Family 195,000


4031 Osprey Harbour LoopTownhouse $575,000

Holmes Beach

100 36thSt. Condo $1,550,000
521 56th St. Single Family 1,300,000
540 Key Royale Drive Single Family 1,020,000
3225 Gulf Drive Single Family 969,000
210 S. Harbor Drive Single Family 845,000
515 68th St. Single Family 835,000
208 56th St. #B Condo 588,000
7005 Holmes Blvd. Condo 560,000
2808 Ave. C Single Family 527,000
203 78th St. Single Family 500,000
214 83rd St. Single Family 485,000
504 70th St. Single Family 444,000
600 Manatee Ave. #235 Condo 439,000
305 56th St. Duplex 435,000
6250 Holmes Blvd. #35 Condo 409,000
210 84th St. Single Family 400,000
2706 Ave. B Single Family 335,000
6200 Flotilla Drive #241 Condo 320,000
6810 Palm Drive Duplex 269,900
3607 East Bay Drive #108Condo 215,000
2914 Ave. C Lot 205,000
6300 Flotilla Drive #82 Condo 200,000

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper