How do you exchange houses for sale

Real estate swap: useful or not?

Seniors are selling their homes to downsize. Young families, on the other hand, want to expand. A real estate swap could be the solution - with the advantage that buying and selling can be handled in parallel. How does this idea work?

Real estate swap: useful or not?
Real estate swap: useful or not?

Over 65-year-olds mostly live in their own home - but rarely barrier-free. LBS brokers are observing a trend: more and more senior citizens are thinking of swapping their old house for a new one.

"In fact, we are finding that more and more people are willing to sell their house in the countryside in old age," says Roland Hustert, Managing Director of LBS Immobilien NordWest. "This will then be free for a young family. A broker can bring both parties together for an exchange - but only if they offer exactly what the other is looking for. "That sounds like a good idea.

When is the best time to swap property?

When swapping property, the right time is important for seniors. This has come when homeowners find out after their children have moved out, for example: The house is too big or too far away from leisure activities. And not just when they have to move years later due to health reasons and time is of the essence. Because: A property swap can sometimes take a long time.

Find a house or apartment to swap property

Relevant online portals include both apartments and houses that are being offered for real estate swap. This alternative is interesting for owners who want to change their living situation: Couples who want to start a family, for example, would be good exchange partners for senior citizens who want to downsize after their children have moved out. Or to put it another way: If a couple is divorced and is planning to swap their apartment for two separate ones, that would be a good swap deal for lovers who want to move in from their single apartments. But what sounds good in theory is not that easy to implement in practice.

Obstacles to property swapping

A property swap can be a win-win situation for both sides. However, there are some hurdles in the implementation. Seniors who sit down smaller almost always want to buy new apartments and rarely want to buy existing properties. On the other hand, there are families who want to expand. However, these often have nothing to swap because they have rented them up to now. And if it does, other criteria must also fit, for example location, layout, value. Accordingly, it is difficult and takes a long time to find a suitable swap partner.

Real estate swap: advantages and disadvantages at a glance


  • If a loan has to be taken out, this is less than when buying a normal house, as the own property is offset as an exchange value.
  • Bridging finance is easier to get for seniors than a home loan for those aged 50 and over.
  • Commissioning a real estate agent to swap real estate saves a lot of time and nerves.


  • It takes time to find suitable swap partners.
  • The parties have to agree on the value of their real estate.
  • Rental apartments may only be offered for exchange with the landlord's permission.
  • It is de facto a house purchase with all additional purchase costs and formalities.

Real estate swap in your own family

The swap within a family is more common because it is easier to thread: senior citizens, for example, move into their son's condominium, and the son, in turn, takes over his former parents' house. Due to the degree of relationship, both parties save the real estate transfer tax, which would be due as part of the ancillary purchase costs in the case of foreign exchange partners.

Tax tip for family property swaps

If both properties remain in the family and parents and child mutually transfer the property to each other without further additional payment, there is an exchange transaction against payment, such as Vereinigte Lohnsteuerhilfe e. V. informed. Neither of them have to pay any taxes due to the property exchange. There are only the notary costs for the transfer of the land register. As a rule, these are borne by each “purchaser” themselves. If the real estate is not of the same value, a donation is made to the person who receives the more valuable property. If the exemptions are insufficient, this may be subject to gift tax.

Financing tips for real estate swaps

If two partners have found each other to swap the property, the purchase price will soon be due. Young families who want to buy instead of rent get normal financing that is tailored to their individual needs.

It is more problematic for seniors: Financing will be difficult and your own money is still in the old house. Bridging finance can fill the void until the sales proceeds are available. "Anyone who offers a marketable property often has the money within three months," says Hustert as a guideline. In shrinking regions, it can be advisable to sell first - and to regulate the transition phase together until the move. Seniors can, for example, agree with the buyer to temporarily rent their own house.

Real estate swap with professionals

When it comes to real estate swaps, real estate and financing consultants from the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe work hand in hand. They help to optimally coordinate buying and selling. As a prospective buyer, the customer regularly receives information from the broker about suitable properties, and as a seller, they receive help with the valuation and marketing of their previous home - for example when creating the perfect advertisement for the real estate portal. The financing professional from Sparkasse or LBS will, if necessary, provide the perfect (interim) financing. Roland Hustert is increasingly accompanying seniors who want to swap their old property for a new one: "30 percent of our new-build condominiums go to people who sit down as they get older."

This is what brokers do when swapping property

For the seller

  • Determination of value
  • Preparation of exposés
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Credit check
  • Visits with interested parties
  • price negotiations
  • Preparation, coordination and accompaniment of the notary appointment
  • Cooperation with partners, for example for the creation of the energy certificate

For the buyer

Special cases: swap rental and holiday apartments

Rental apartments and holiday apartments are also advertised for real estate swaps. Theoretically it is possible and offers advantages - in practice, however, the disadvantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Real estate exchange of rental apartments

In the case of rental apartments, the exchange principle only works with the consent of the landlord. If a swap partner is found, you can possibly suspend the three-month notice period and save double rental costs, provided that both moves can be organized promptly. Which is not exactly easy, after all, both the repairs and the relocations have to take place in parallel. In addition, the landlord has a say in the choice of the new tenant or, in this case, an exchange partner.

Real estate exchange of holiday homes

There is also real estate swap for those who love to travel: With this model, your own apartment is offered as a holiday apartment, while you go on holiday yourself in the apartment of your exchange partner. However, this is only possible under certain conditions: The other owner must also like their own apartment and the surrounding area and both must go on vacation at the same time. It is usually easier to rent a normal holiday apartment.