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She hopes to land a deal by trading her 'floating condo'

June 29, 2008|Frank Nelson | Special to The Times

As people warm to the idea of home swapping, some are taking the creative concept to the next level.

"Many of our visitors have posted land, boats and even an airplane to be swapped for a piece of property," said Sergei Naumov, founder of GoSwap.org, who's also had people trying to swap cars for land and land for cars.

Angel Alger, who's owned sailboats and cruisers for about 15 years and currently has two, is trying to exchange a 30-foot Carver motor yacht for a toehold in the property market.

The boat, which she describes as a "floating condo," is moored in the Dana Point marina. Built in 1981, it comes with rebuilt engines, a remodeled interior, an aft cabin with two beds, a custom-built entertainment center and has a 2007 estimated market value of $41,000.

"Make me an offer or let me consider a trade for your real estate," runs Alger's advertisement on GoSwap, which has sparked a few replies but to date no deal.

Though swapping such a boat for real estate might seem a stretch, especially in expensive Southern California, Alger, who rents in Carlsbad and owns a retail business in Long Beach, sees possibilities.

The 48-year-old said she might be able to swap for a house in the Midwest that she could rent out, trade for a lot or be lucky enough to find an owner willing to help finance her end of a more expensive deal.

Alger once owned a single-family home in Mission Viejo but, caught in the property downdraft of the early '90s, lost money when she sold it. She's been watching the market and reckons this is a good time to get back into real estate.

"It's definitely not easy," said Alger, who moved to California from her native Indiana when she was 18.

"You have to be very open-minded and creative."

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