House sitting – The Free Ultimate Guide

Recently we have been getting lots of questions on how to get a dream house sit, so we thought it was time to produce the Ultimate Guide to House sitting – explaining 5 simple steps to help you get your first house sit and a few other top tips.

So far house sitting has taken us to a pretty woodland village in Scotland, way off the beaten track with our own private beach in the Mexican Jungle, and now in the beautiful cobbled café culture streets of San Miguel De Allende, with a few more lined up in the not too distant future…

House-sit-in-ParadiseOur house sit in the Mexican Jungle

What is house sitting?

Very simple indeed, homeowners need someone to look after their home and pets, meaning house sitters can travel the world or take a holiday almost anywhere in return for caring for pets and homes.

It’s not just for long term travellers, house sits range from just a few days to years.

 

Why House sit?

Just over a year ago I had barely heard of house sitting, but now it has revolutionised the way Kellie and me travel here’s why:

Stay in dream destinations for free!

A free holiday? Yes please! Basically you can go anywhere, beach paradises, city breaks, country retreats, house boats. If you can name, it probably exists.

We have saved thousands of pounds travelling around the world doing what we love, which is caring for pets and exploring new places. Sure it comes with responsibility, but we think it’s a great deal.

It stops you burning out

For me being on the move constantly is not appealing, house sits allow you to travel slowly giving you time to recharge your batteries before heading off on the next adventure. It’s been great having home comforts and really getting to know the areas we’ve stayed in.

You get to look after cute pets and local insider tips!

An obvious one I guess, but we are massive pet fans and would definitely own several if we weren’t travelling, we get the best of both worlds – Travel AND pets!

Plus the homeowner often gives you the lowdown on the best restaurants and must-sees in the local area.

Cute-dogsHouse sit with two cute dogs, private beach and dock.

 

Who Can Do It?

Anyone! Families, couples, singles, people with pets, retirees, travellers, holiday makers, the list goes on…

Obviously people are trusting you with their beloved homes and pets (in most cases), so you need to be a responsible person and liking animals is a must, but besides that pretty much anyone can do it…

 

Who we use

Trustedhousesitters.com $90 or £53 per year

Housecarers.com $50 or £30 per year

If you click these two links above and join them we get a little bit of welcome income. Thanks, that’s very kind of you!!

We have gained over 7 months constant house sitting experience (Seriously, over half a year rent free!) through them and basically they are ace!!

There are lots of other house sitting website, but so far we’ve been completely happy with these two, they offer a simple way to advertise, low membership costs and have many house sits all over the world.

Main-house-XcalakJungle House sit

5 steps to landing your dream house sit:

1. Kickass profile

The key thing to remember is that the homeowner is probably going to be receiving many applications so you need to get across how great and trustful you are.

We treat it almost as a job application, covering why we want to house sit and what experience and skills we can offer for the homeowner.

– You want your profile to be straight to the point and relevant, but also reflect your personality.

– Make it as easy as possible for the homeowner by adding your own titles where necessary.

– Break the information up; nobody wants to read long paragraphs of rambling information.

Add nice pretty pictures and even videos.

You can check out our Trustedhousesitters.com profile and our Housecarers.com profile to see what works.

2. References

If you have done previous house sits that’s great! You can get them to give you beaming references. If not, don’t worry there are many other ways you can get reference.

Have you looked after a friend’s cat, dog or ferret?

Does your boss think you’re amazing?

Do you check on your neighbour’s house when they are away?

Rack your brains; I’m sure there is someone who can give you a great character reference. Start from there and build on it once you get your first house sit.

3. Sign up for email updates & specific destinations

Remember, the world of house sitting can be a competitive place, so being on top of the latest house sits is vital.

We have applied for house sits less than an hour after they were posted, only to find they have already been filled!

We sign up for email updates; you can even choose particular countries and towns to focus on. As soon as a house sit is released it appears in our inbox, if it appeals to us we get straight on it with the application…

4. First message – First impressions

When you see a house sit you like, you send a message to the owner. The first contact message is very important, you want get the homeowner interested, but at the same time you don’t want to over do it with info and bore them to death.

First and foremost for us is the pets and home. Do they have two Jack Russells and a pool? If coincidentally as a child you grew up looking after the same breed and worked at the local swimming pool, tell them this…

Basically strive to find relevant experience so they click on your profile and discover you’re the perfect sitter for them.

Show personality they can connect with. They live in the mountains in Colorado – in the summer you love hiking through Scotland and jetting off to such a beautiful part of America is your idea of heaven.

Don’t bombard then with millions of questions in your opener, just peak their interest. If it’s the right house sit you can iron out the details once you get chatting.

5. Look local at first

We specifically looked for local house sits (within a few hours of our previous home in the UK) before we set off long term travelling.

Besides not being able to afford a holiday as we were madly saving every penny, the aim was to build up experience and references making it easier to find house sits when on the road. Plus it’s a really fun way to explore your homeland.

We even offered to meet up with the house owners so we’d be less of a risk than leaving their pets and home with a complete stranger.

House sit-laidback-SashaCute Sasha taking one of many naps

 

They say yes! Well done… What’s next?

 

Making sure it’s the right house sit for you.

Remember it’s a two-way thing; homeowners are getting a good deal too, so make sure you are happy and both your expectations match.

What’s important to you?

Is the house sit for 6 months on and Island with no internet and 6 other inhabitants? Do you have an online business and love meeting people? If so it’s probably not for you… on the other hand if you want to escape civilisation. GO FOR IT!

Also iron out the details, will you need your own transport?

Are there any bills to cover?

Are there other duties involved?  Cleaning, gardening etc

If so, how many hours per day? How big is the property etc

Be realistic, do you want to do these things and does it feel right to you? If not you can always say no and look for the next place…

 

You’ve said Yes -Keep in contact with the owners

Once you have said yes keep in contact. Skype, email, Facebook  etc, it’s easy to keep in touch nowadays, choose whatever way suits all of you.

You may have lined up a house sit several months in advance, so sending the homeowners a courtesy email every once in a while to let them know you still exist and are excited puts their mind at ease.

San-Miguel-De-Allende-House-SitExploring the cobbled streets of San Miguel De Allende in our latest house sit

 

A few other points to consider

For us house sitting offers the perfect balance of travel, pets and stability, but there are a few things you might want to consider:

– Many homeowners reasonably ask you not to leave overnight.

– Fixed travel plans may make it difficult. We are completely flexible, but if you have to be in a certain place at a certain time you may find it more difficult to find a house sit.

– It can be hard work –cleaning up poo, walking dogs, gardening etc. These are all things we are more than happy to do, but if your idea of a perfect holiday is sitting by the pool and not moving then maybe it’s not for you.

Don’t give up if you don’t find one straightaway. We know folks who have landed on their feet immediately, where as others have applied for many before the right one came along.

That’s it! With these simple steps you will be well on the way to finding your dream house sit.

It’s a great way to see the world, cheaply and with the added bonus of home comforts and pets. It’s definitely our favourite way to travel. If you have any other questions feel free to just give us a shout…

We use Housecarers.com and Trustedhousesitters.com to find our house sits.

25 Replies to “House sitting – The Free Ultimate Guide”

  1. Great introduction to housesitting – one of the better ones we’ve seen! Anaïs and I haven’t done one yet, but we keep seeing posts like this and reviews of sits that people have done and it looks like an amazing way to really get to know a locale.

    We’re still thrilled with our plans to keep up our current pace, but once our RTW is over, housesitting looks like an awesome opportunity.

  2. Hooray for housesitting! We are signed up to TrustedHousesitters and HouseCarers but also MindMyHouse, which we’ve found our first housesit in Sweden through. We didn’t have any luck finding something in South America while we were there all last year, because the idea doesn’t really seem to have take off there. Now, though, I’m looking at multiple housesits in Europe every day that we could possibly (or just wish we could) do. It’s such a great idea, and I’m really looking forward to getting started with it. Oh, and our tip for references: since we don’t have any on the sites we are members of yet, I usually link homeowners to my Airbnb profile which has several references on it saying how clean and tidy and what a nice guest I was (!). It’s not quite the same, but it shows I’m not a total slob and/or idiot…I hope!

    1. It is a bit trickier in South America to find places, Central America has lots because of the large number of expats, and there are masses of them all over Europe which we keep spying too! It’s definitely exciting for future house sits.

      Good reference tip by the way, I think that would be a big boost to your profile.

  3. So much great information here, guys, so thank you for sharing it! Tony & I would really like to dip our toes into the HouseSitting pool in the future, although it will likely be loads more difficult for us as we’ll have two dogs of our own that we’ll need to take care of. I have heard of some people who manage to still secure housesitting gigs even with their own pets in tow, but I imagine it must be a lot more difficult. Still, it seems like a great way to travel & really get to know a place as a local would, so I do hope we’ll be able to give it a go.

    1. Glad it’s helpful Steph. It does make it more difficult having pets, but we have met a few house sitters who bring along their own dogs. I guess it reduces the options, but there are still people out their who accept others pets. Good luck with it 🙂

  4. This is a fantastic guide – we’ve really been keen on housesitting but also felt a bit overwhelmed at signing up and knowing what to do. You’ve calmed some of our nerves and worries!

    1. Cheers Emily, it really is pretty simple once you get going, we made a couple of little mistakes when we first started with applications but hopefully this stops others making them 🙂 I would definitely say go for it if it tickles your fancy!

  5. I am so amazed by this! We are moving abroad to teach English for a year and I’m wondering if I had known this was an opportunity if we might have tried this instead! I’m very excited about our upcoming adventure….but this sounds so amazing too!

    1. The good thing is that house sitting is really taking off and I can’t see it going away, so you could have your Korean adventure and house sitting could be another escapade if you fancy it 🙂

  6. Thanks for this awesome downlow on house sitting! I totally can’t wait to get started… we’re probably going to make a pet friendly video with our cat and sister’s dog to show that we love animals. 😀 The previous commenter had a good idea about linking up other profiles like couchsurfing and Air BnB to show reviews of ourselves. Keep the good advice comin’! 😀

    1. Thanks, you are very much welcome Vanessa, the vid is a good idea as are the references, basically anything that can back up your profile is a great idea! Whereabouts do you want to house sit?

  7. I’ve never done this, but it sounds like such a great idea. I’m also trying to persuade my dad to try it as he’s retired and it would be a great way for him to see more of the world. I’ll send him the link!

    1. We love it, I like to think we are semi-retired at the age of 33… My mum and dad are also tempted by it, but I may have to do the internet stuff for them bless em 🙂

  8. Brilliant tips Rob! We think we’ve really landed a great house sit in London with one of the cutest puppies around and with a £100 Tesco giftcard too, not to mention putting me on their car insurance! Having no references made it pretty difficult but as you recommended we were persistent and it worked out; we even have another lined up straight after this one. Getting the profile right really helps, anything that you may think is relevant is worth adding; we volunteered at a dog rescue project in Thailand and that really helped us out. 🙂

    1. Sweet! That sounds like an awesome deal mate, well done. Glad to hear it’s going well. Now that you have got your first one under your belt it makes things easier, but persistence is definitely the key, it took a lot of searching before we got going, now we are on a roll! Do you think you will do it again?

  9. I really love house sitting – you’re right, and it’s something I never thought to write, but it really does stop your burning out! Great points 🙂

    1. House sitting is awesome. Such a simple idea, but it makes so much sense. We’ve had some great house sits and have a few more lined up. Exciting!

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