I got a great response to last week's column about the caring sharing community nature of Lewes. This week it has got so neighbourly here that I bought a car from the folks at No. 18 in my street (I live at No. 22) and now, the people at No. 23 have bought my house and I am buying theirs. We are doing a house swap which perfectly meets our up/down sizing requirements. The only shame about the house swap is that the estate agents were involved and get such a whopping fee. They did their job and sold both houses, so we shouldn't really feel so sore about the double commission. My neighbours didn't know my house was up for sale until the board went up. Then they commissioned the agents to sell their house in order to buy mine. The agent called me and suggested the swap. While he was on the phone I had a ring on the door from the man from No.23 who had just had the same idea. If he had had it about ten minutes earlier then he would have saved thousands.

House swaps are great though. They reduce costs and stress and keep the Londoners out. Now I am doing it, I think everyone should. A quick ring round the agents suggests that we are all at it anyway - about half their business is within the town borders. So seriously, someone should set up a house swap agency or Viva Lewes should put up a house swap noticeboard. Hey, we could charge a fee, raise cash for something or maybe I should personally charge 1.5% commission as it was my idea and then I could get really rich and buy several houses in my street and swap them all the time. JW


Downsize, upsize: swapping houses turns a chain into a loop