How to Find Your First House Sit (and save money)
Becoming a house sitter is not as hard as you might think. All over the world, there are people looking for someone to care for their homes and pets while they travel for work and vacations.
Anyone can house sit BUT it is not for everyone. You have to enjoy travelling to other places, love animals, adapt easily, and understand that you must take your house-sitting duties and responsibilities seriously.
If this is all new to you, it might be a good idea to house-sit for friends and families so you can get a feel for house-sitting and what is expected of you as the sitter.
What Does House Sitting Mean?
House sitting simply means an exchange of services – usually free accommodations in return for looking after a home and pets/plants while the owner is away. There may be other duties that the homeowner expects such as pool maintenance.
House sits can be for a long weekend, a month, 6 months, and even a year.
It is a win/win for the owner and sitter; the owner can avoid high boarding fees for their pets and have peace of mind knowing their home is looked after and pets are in a familiar environment. The sitter gets free accommodations, an amazing opportunity to travel, experience new cuisines, and save money.
Most house-sitting companies work the same way. For the purpose of this article, we are going to assume you belong to one of them. My husband and I have used both Trusted House Sitters and House Sit Mexico and have had numerous house sits.
These sites suggest you sit for free as you are getting free accommodation in return. House Sit America is ok either way – getting paid or sitting for free.
1. Sign up with a House Sitting Service
There are several house-sitting services available for you to try. Yearly membership fees will apply but I have found the pricing to be quite reasonable. Some also offer discounts for first-time users.
2. Create a profile that stands out – this is your time to shine
Write a memorable headline – short but catchy
Tell them a little about you – who you are, what you do; this is the beginning of building a relationship with them
Tell them why you want to house sit
Add your experience – even if you have not house sat professionally, I bet you have looked after your friend’s and family’s pets for them. This all counts and it is exactly how we got started.
Show your love for animals (you can specify which ones you are comfortable with – for instance, we draw the line at reptiles)
If you normally work remotely, let them know; they will be reassured that you will be spending a lot of time in the home with their pets
Share unique qualities – familiarity with the area, fluent in foreign languages, gardening experience, etc.
Add photos – In addition to your profile photo, if you have photos of the animals you have looked after, include them here. People love to see these.
3. Apply for house sits quickly
You might have lots of competition so if you really want that housesit, apply as soon as you see the listing. In most cases, this is what we do and it works for us. Most house sitting companies will allow you to set alerts so you can be notified as soon as a house sit comes up that meets your criteria.
4. Supply References
If you have lots of 5-star references share them. If you are just beginning, get references from your friends and family as long as they are true. They will be happy to help you out.
For character references, ask bosses or neighbours. Remember, you are a stranger to these homeowners so you need to provide them with a comfort level.
Here is an example. A friend of mine who we have sat for several times asked me which house sitting service we belonged to. I told her that I would gladly send her the link. She replied, “Oh, I don’t think I can trust strangers to come here. We trust you guys because we know you.”
The point is, she had to get to know us a bit before she trusted us to go into her home and take care of her three fur babies.
5. Expect to be contacted
In the majority of our house sits, the interested homeowner wants to make contact right away and will ask how they can reach you – phone number, Skype, Facebook messenger, or an email.
Have a list of questions ready. We always try and get there at least a day before. That way, we get to meet the owners and the pets and can ask lots of questions: how are the utilities, gardeners, house cleaners paid? What is the vet’s phone number? Do they have an account set up with them? Can you have guests? Can they stay overnight? How is the pool maintained?
I like the way Trusted House Sitters is set up. They provide a Welcome Guide that you can request the owner to complete, with everything from their contact info, to vet information, to restaurants and grocery stores in the area.
6. Stay in contact
Once the house sit is confirmed, stay in contact with the owners. Just a quick email or phone call to ensure them you are still on board and looking forward to sitting for them. It’s a small gesture but says a lot!
Now you are ready to house sit. Be patient but be proactive. Research the houses and areas you want to house sit in. Go FOR IT!
Go here if you would like to read some of our house-sitting experiences.