Creating a home manual

A home manual is one of the most important things you should put together for your guests. It should give them instructions on the important things on and around your home. A home manual doesn’t have to be totally exhaustive, however it should be detailed enough to allow your guests to be able to work your appliances, turn on the heating and do regular household activities by themselves.

If you’re feeling adventurous you can also include maps, restaurant recommendations and hints and tips for kids activities. Don’t forget, once you have made your manual, you can re-use it over and over again.

Our Very Complete Example Manual

To get you started on your manual writing journey we have included an extremely complete manual example for an apartment on the Gold Coast of Australia. Feel free to download the manual below and edit it in Microsoft Word, Google Sheets or Macintosh Pages.


Home Manual Questions Answered

Below are a few common questions about the home manual answered. As with everything regarding home swapping, these are suggestions and may or may not apply to your property.

What headings should I include in my manual?

There is no hard and fast rule for headings, however we do recommend at the bare minimum the following:

  • Welcome – A short welcome to your guests.
  • Contact Information – Phone numbers or email addresses where you will be contactable
  • Emergency Contacts – The contact details of someone close by who could help out in an emergency.
  • Appliances – A quick “how-to” on how to operate the appliances in your home. Good examples are Dishwasher, Washing Machine and Air Conditioning or Heating.
  • Entertainment – Quick instructions on operating your TV / Game System or Netflix account.
  • Parking – Where your guests can and can’t park.
  • Local Shops – Where can your guests get their groceries? Also you can include your favorite coffee shops and restaurants that you think they may enjoy.
  • Departing Instructions – What should your guests do at the end of their stay? (Leave washing in a basket, make the beds, etc?)

Should I add my manual to my listing?

We don’t recommend adding your manual to your listing. We recommend providing the manual to your guests during your conversations with them or after you have agreed on a swap.

Should I include pictures?

I noticed in your example menu that you included pictures. Should I do this as well?

We do recommend including pictures if you can. It’s a lot easier to say “The back door key looks like this” and include a picture of it rather than trying to describe what it looks like. Pictures aren’t a must, but they will make it a lot easier for your guests in the long run.

Using your phone’s camera is always the easiest option. Snap pictures of everything you might need, then load them onto your computer. If you don’t use a photo it doesn’t matter however doing all the pictures at once will save you a lot of time!

Should I include maps?

Maps can be really helpful. However they aren’t necessary. Most people have access to maps on their cell phone these days so don’t be concerned if you decide not to add a map.