Home Sweet Swapping: The Power of a Paperclip

The struggle to climb the housing ladder is real. Millennials have been labeled ‘Generation Rent’ as recent figures claim up to a third of these young buyers have no other option than to rent a home.

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Their parents were lucky when it came to property wealth, as 50% of UK Baby Boomers (born between 1946 – 1965) owned a home by age 30, compared to just 30% of Millennials today. 

Not a first-time buyer? Don’t fret! Here at Mashroom we can help you reduce the mortgage on the dwelling of your dreams. Book a call with us to find out if there’s a better deal out there for you.

Data reveals that half of the young workforce in the UK today are anxious or stressed. According to Deloitte’s 10th annual Millennial and Gen Z survey, many leading causes include long-term financial concerns for the future or the welfare of their families, and a large part of that anxiety is about securing a home. 

But owning a property of your own may be easier than you think. If you’re keen on climbing the ladder the traditional way, try using our helpful mortgage calculator to find out how much you could borrow. 

Millennials are taking the lead in finding new ways to climb the ladder of home ownership, and something called ‘home swapping’ has got young homeowners buzzing, as dreams become a reality through the power of a paperclip.

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Swap Shopping for a Home

What is swap shopping? It’s a bit like up-cycling, but you’re up-trading by turning someone’s trash into someone else’s treasure. 

Demi Skipper of San Francisco is one of those bright young things who began an initiative called The Trade Me project on TikTok. During the pandemic, she watched a TedxVienna video by Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald. 

Kyle grew up playing a game called ‘Bigger and Better’ starting off with something small and trading it for something big. He casually referred to his red paperclip as the reason for the start of this wacky and wild journey, joking that he would make a continuous chain of up-trades until he got a house. 

Or an island. Or a house on an island. You get the idea.

Through odd adventures that took him in directions he hadn’t imagined, Kyle found his home-sweet-home through the Canadian council whilst making a final swap that included an exchange for a movie role. But objects weren’t the only focus, as Kyle said the experiences and new folks he encountered along the way were truly inspiring. 

It was all about the people saying yes, let’s build something together, let’s collaborate. If I hadn’t traded that paperclip, I would have just been a guy at a desk sitting there with a paperclip wondering what would happen if I did something with it. 

This bizarre yet intriguing story inspired swapper Demi to begin her journey with her now-famous bobby pin. As of now, her most recent trade includes an off-the-grid trailer running on solar power and a Tesla Powerwall worth $10,000 alone. 

In her previous trade she opted for a sought-after Mexican Grill Chipotle celebrity card that gave its owner unlimited Chipotle for a year. 

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Millennial Dream vs. Mortgage Scheme 

But is this really a better alternative to traditional mortgages? Our advisors are here to help if you’re not sure, so book a call with us for some unbiased advice and we will gladly guide you through the entire process as we help you access over 12,000 products from over 90 lenders.

There are pros and cons to everything, but with swapping, it’s not always going to be easy:

  • It can be very time-consuming, as many swappers have spent months waiting for the right swap to come along.
  • Be prepared for pitfalls, as swapping can also unfortunately be expensive. It may sound amazing to grab that deal, but keep in mind it could include a pricey trek to the owner’s location to collect!
  • Your options will be limited. If you do reach the level of actually owning a home, you won’t have a ton of options because you only get what someone is willing to give you.

Despite all that, it can be a really positive experience:

  • There’s no need for a deposit! 
  • You can share your story online and earn some cash via social media. If you really catch attention, you could also negotiate some sponsorships!
  • You could get really lucky and end up with something more amazing than you’ve ever imagined and wouldn’t be able to afford with a traditional mortgage.

If you are into spontaneous projects, by all means give it a go, as it could be well worth the adventure!

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5 Swapping Tips 

Whether you’d like to start the journey on your own, or you’re considering cutting down the cost by buying with friends, start your own quest by reading the tips and tricks below: 

  1. Look Local. Look for people who are giving away free stuff in your neighbourhood. Use trusty social networking services as you never know what potential goldmines you could stumble upon!
  2. Be Safe.  If you’re going to pick up an item, meet in a public place and go with a friend as a general rule of safety. If you do choose to swap via an app, see if the platform offers protection to ensure both parties are safe when swapping. 
  3. Play fair. No one wants to be cat-fished and nobody likes a rip-off transaction. Be honest about any scuffs or scratches in the description you’re trading for and do your best to document it honestly. It creates a smooth and simple swap for the both of you. 
  4. Budget Well. Don’t forget to consider your budget – decide if that expensive train ticket really is worth what you’ll be picking up at the end of your journey. 
  5. Plan B. Always have a plan B – speak to a mortgage advisor, as it doesn’t hurt to be working on the traditional route as well!

People are always looking for new ways to do old things, but the old ways are tried and true. Will swapping go mainstream? While it seems unlikely, it’s up to you.

If you start with something small and think big, you could be on a remarkable journey with the power of a paperclip or the first few pounds towards your deposit.

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