After last weeks post about it being cheaper to travel than live at home, I’ve been asked been ask to write some more about the world of house sitting. We’re by no means experts and it you want to learn more I suggest you check out Nat and Jodie’s fantastic House Sitting Academy – its really helped us.
After 2 successful house sits and 2 more coming up this is what we’ve learnt, so far.
First what is House Sitting? Well, when people want to go away for a holiday or some family reason etc. they often don’t want to put their pets in care or leave their house for a long time without any one in it. This creates a great opportunity for you to go to new places and have free accommodation (in return for you watching the pets and house).
It’s a win win situation really!
The house/pet owner gets peace of mind because their pets haven’t had to be uprooted from home and their house is being taken care of and they don’t have to pay expensive kennel fees! For the house sitter they get to visit a new place & have the comforts of home including pets to love and look after, on top of free accommodation!
There are house sits available all over the world, so you can potentially travel around the world and not ‘pay’ for accommodation. In fact we know a number of people who are doing just that at the moment and are booked solid.
How do you find house sits?
This is such a growing industry now that a number of websites have popped up to connect home owners with house sitters. It was through one of these sites that we’ve found 2 of our house-sits, the other two were from word of mouth. Its amazing how often word of mouth comes through once you start heading in a certain direction and actually ‘tell people’ that you’re looking to house-sit 🙂
Back to the websites – a Google search for house-sitting will bring most of them up. The most popular at the moment is Trusted House sitters (http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/us/us/), but the reality is, its a growing market and although the bigger platforms may have more houses to apply to they also have a lot more competition for houses. The other factor to consider is that each website specialises in different areas of the world – we even had some luck with an Australian site when we were there (http://www.aussiehousesitters.com.au/).
Here is a list to get you started:
Most of them allow you to search for house sitting jobs but you can’t contact the owner or apply of the job unless you pay and sign up to the website – monthly and annual fees are the norm. The fees range from $20 to over $100 per year – just look around.
How can you appear attractive to home owners? Great question 🙂
If you put yourself in the home owners feet its not too hard to work out the kind of things a home owner would like to know about you. Making your profile on each platform attractive is a start (think a little about the picture you use of yourself/family) – of course everyone will say they are clean and reliable, so you need to find a way to say that creatively! Its also highly recommended that you create a video where you talk to the camera and introduce your self, its much easier to feel comfortable with someone when you can see them actually speaking – theres a whole lot of body language to look at too 🙂
Many people who take house sitting seriously also create a website specifically for their house sitting service – we’ve just added a page to our travel blog to give more details about us, you can see it here: Up Sticks and Go House Sitting (http://upsticksandgo.com/house-sitting/). We don’t have a video on there yet, but we do have a heap of videos on our site where we’re all talking.
When you actually go to apply for a house sit, my biggest recommendation would be to talk about their animals, refer to them by name if you can – these home owners are looking for people they can trust with their most precious loved ones (apart from their children if they have any) and with often their biggest asset (their house) – often in that order. So if you can put their minds to rest by expressing your desire to care for their pets (and house) as if it were your own, you’ll go a long way. Please don’t expect to get every house-sit you apply for – its a game of numbers – the more you apply for they more likely you’ll get one eventually.
Being a family discounts us from many house sitting opportunities but when talking to single friends we’ve found that they too are restricted to the number of jobs they can apply for. Being a couple does seem to give you the most scope and I would even say that being an older couple gives you even more scope – my father and step-mum have just applied for their first house-sit so they can spend a bit of time with my sister who just had a baby. They got the first one they applied for – they’re semi-retired, own their own house and would be considered very responsible 🙂
However in saying that, when we’ve been accepted for a sitting position, its been “because” we’re a family and there are often lots of animals that need lots of love – who better to do that than 3 kids who just love animals? Its funny when we’re at home feeding the animals seems to be a chore for the kids, but when we’re house sitting they just love looking after the animals! There are house sits for everyone 🙂
I hope thats enough detail to get you started? You don’t have to travel a long way to start house sitting – many people house sit in their neighbourhood/state/county first and then travel further afield. the trick is to get started so you can start gathering testimonials which are like gold when applying for house sits! Good luck and let us know how you get on?
Latest posts by Michelle (see all)
- ABC radio interview – What scared us into leaving Italy 8 months early? - November 25, 2015
- Things can change on a dime - November 2, 2015
- Revealed – the tragedy of our first couple of house sits! - October 13, 2015