real estate

Can't sell? Try swapping your home for another

"Nobody's flexible," he says. "They're just desperate and don't want to drop their price, so they try and swap to get what they want, but they still want what they want ... Sometimes I think you have less chance of swapping a home than you do of winning the million-dollar lottery."

Moskowitz says he has no way of tracking exactly how many trades have been brokered through DomuSwap, but he knows of about four that have taken place. The slumping real estate market is making it harder to swap, he added, because most traders want small, affordable properties, rather than the high-dollar homes that seem to be everywhere on the site.

"We're seeing a lot of users who are really looking to downsize dramatically," Moskowitz says. "When you have a large percentage of people who are only looking to downsize, you can't arrange trades. Right now, a lot of people might have foreclosure in the backs of their minds. That's not the ideal scenario for trading."

One thing that might help generate more successful real estate trades is simply having more homes listed on swapping sites. There are more than 4 million homes for sale in the U.S., but only 5,000 on DomuSwap, which is "a drop in the bucket," Moskowitz says.

Runge is still skeptical.

"Say there's a million houses listed," he says. "You have to want the one they have. They have to want the one you have. I think the probabilities are a million times a million."

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