Top
Travel for free and like a local - house sitting guide blog

Disclosure: To ensure that our content can be free to everyone, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we may earn a commission if you make a purchase. This comes at no additional cost to you and we will never link anything that we don't genuinely recommend.

In the post we’ll be sharing a secret that has completely transformed our life over the last year, allowing us to travel for free and experience living like a local almost anywhere in the world – that secret is house sitting!

 

You might be wondering how that’s even possible, and trust us we had the same scepticism when we first heard about it – but once we got started with house sitting, there was no turning back. We’ll be honest – getting started wasn’t a walk in the park, like most things, it required some planning, preparation and a bit of determination to get your first house sit – but luckily for you, you’ve come to the right place to learn.

What is house sitting

House sitting is a unique and mutually beneficial agreement between homeowners and house sitters like us that will completely change the way you travel. The way it works is homeowners, before heading off on their own adventures or vacations, look for reliable individuals to care for their homes, plants, and beloved pets while they are away.

 

That’s where we, the house sitters, come into the picture. In exchange for “free” accommodation, we offer our house sitting services, taking up the responsibility of maintaining the house and providing love and care to the adorable furry (and sometimes feathery) friends left behind.

 

Advantages of house sitting for sitters & home owners

You might wonder, why would anyone trust strangers with their homes? Well, there are actually numerous reasons why homeowners would want to opt for house sitting arrangement. Firstly, it provides them with a sense of security, knowing someone is looking after their property while they’re away alleviates worries about potential break-ins or damage. Plus, having someone take care of their pets means they can avoid the stress of leaving their furry companions in unfamiliar surroundings.

 

For house sitters like us, the perks are pretty clear, the most obvious benefit is the opportunity to travel and explore new places without the hefty accommodation expenses. Imagine waking up in the heart of Paris, London, or Sydney, with all the comforts of home! House sitting allows us to truly immerse ourselves in the local culture and lifestyle, sometimes for weeks on end, experiencing destinations in a way that tourists rarely do.

cat and dog house sitting pets

Photo by Krista Mangulsone

And if you’re animal lovers like us, house sitting presents a chance to make plenty of four-legged friends along the way, from playful pups and cuddly cats to quirky reptiles and even the occasional farm animal – every house sit comes with a unique set of adorable companions.

how does house sitting work

Now that we’ve piqued your interest, let’s talk a bit more about how this arrangement actually happens. House sitting platforms and websites are at the centre of of the house sitting community, acting as a matchmaking platform to connect homeowners with prospective house sitters from all around the world.

 

As a house sitter, you’ll create an appealing profile that showcases your experience, skills, and, most importantly, your genuine love for animals and responsible housekeeping. The more captivating your profile, the higher your chances of landing your dream house sit.

 

On the other side of the equation, homeowners will post house sitting opportunities, detailing the dates they need a house sitter, the responsibilities involved, and, of course, information about their home and pets. As a house sitter, you get to browse through these opportunities, searching for the perfect match based on your preferences, location, and availability.

 

Once you find a suitable house sit, it’s time to apply! Crafting a personalized and heartfelt application that addresses the homeowner’s specific needs and concerns can significantly increase your chances of being selected.

Photo by Jared Rice

is house sitting safe

House sitting offers an incredible opportunity for long-term budget travel, but you might be wondering about the safety of it all. This section addresses common safety concerns and insights into ensuring a safe and comfortable house sitting experience. Here’s how you can navigate safety considerations and make informed decisions as a house sitter:

 

  • Reputable Platforms – Consider opting for well-established and reputable house sitting platforms (like Trusted Housesitters), they will often have verification processes for both homeowners and house sitters, conducting background checks and identity verifications to ensure the authenticity of their members.

 

  • Transparent Communication: Whenever possible, consider conducting virtual interviews with homeowners before finalizing the house sit arrangement. Video calls can provide insights into the homeowner’s personality and the condition of their home. Discuss expectations, responsibilities, and any concerns you may have and clarify details about pet care, home maintenance, and emergency procedures.

 

  • References & Testimonials: As a house sitter or homeowner, you can request references before you commit to anything and most platforms will actually include a dedicated review system, making it easier for both parties to make an informed decision.

 

  • Personal Safety – Inform a friend or family member about your house sitting plans, including the location, duration of the sit and provide them with contact information for the homeowner. Make sure you have the homeowner’s contact details, as well as local emergency numbers, nearby medical facilities, and veterinarians, in case of unforeseen situations.

We recently has the opportunity to experience new city in Brisbane, Australia on 3 week house sit.

Where to find house sitting jobs

One of the most reputable and popular platforms in the world for house sitting is a website called “Trusted House Sitters.” Trusted House Sitters is a well-established and trusted platform connecting homeowners and house sitters from around the world. The platform boasts a vast network of house sits in various destinations, making it an excellent place to start your house sitting journey.

 

How it works

Start by create a unique house sitter profile on Trusted House Sitters (more on this later), showcasing your experience, love for pets, and responsible nature. Browse through a wide array ofhouse sitting opportunities in locations around the world, and apply for the ones that resonate with your preferences.

Membership

Trusted House Sitters offers a paid membership-based system. Once you become a member, you gain access to unlimited house sits and can apply to as many opportunities as you wish.

 

Trusted house sitters includes basic, standard and premium plan options for both house sitters and home owners. Some benefits of the more expensive plans include cancellation & home content insurance, 24/7 vet advice line and airport lounge passes.

Trusted house sitters membership plans

Money Saving Tip: If you want to save some money on the subscription fee, make sure that you use the discount code “THS12SAVER”

Alternatives to trusted house sitters

  • House Sitters AmericaIf you’re specifically interested in house sits within the US, House Sitters America is an excellent platform with a huge number of listings within the US. They also have location specific platforms for Australia, NZ, UK & Canada.

 

  • MindMyHouse – Mind my house is a cheaper alternative to Trusted House Sitters with house sitting opportunities around the world. The only downside is a much smaller number of listings than some other platforms.

 

  • Facebook Groups – You’ll find that most places will have free Facebook groups for advertising house sits or house sitting services. Although this is the best free option for house sitting, it has the disadvantage of high competition and lack of any review or verification system.

 

  • Local Connections – Reach out to friends and family and let them know about your interest in house sitting. They might have connections or acquaintances in need of a trustworthy house sitter that will give you some experience.

How to get your first house sit

One you’ve chosen your platform to find your first house sit, proper preparation is the key to success. And don’t expect it to be easy, especially starting from zero reviews – but trust us, it’s absolutely worth seeing it through as once you’ve got that first review it should get much easier!

 

Define you house sitting goals

Before you start browsing through house sitting opportunities, take a moment to reflect on your house sitting preferences and goals. Think about the destinations you’re most eager to explore – whether it’s the bustling streets of a city, a quaint countryside retreat, or a coastal paradise.

 

Consider the type of properties you feel most comfortable caring for – from cozy apartments to sprawling houses with gardens. Determine the ideal duration of house sits that aligns with your travel plans – be it short-term weekend sits or long-term adventures spanning several months.

 

Just try not to be too fussy at first, prioritise securing your first few sits first and earn the right to be fussy later!

 

Building you house sitting profile 

Step 1 – Craft your sitter bio

Your house sitter bio is your chance to introduce yourself warmly to homeowners so try and be as genuine and personable in your writing as possible. Highlight any previous house sitting experience you may have had, as it shows that you’re familiar with the responsibilities and expectations of the role. If you’re inexperienced, don’t worry – emphasize your love for animals and mention any relevant skills or background that make you a great house sitter. Homeowners appreciate responsible and reliable individuals, so mention any traits that showcase these qualities.

 

Step 2 – Choose the right profile pictures

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s especially true for your house sitting profile pictures. Choose clear, high-quality images that reflect your personality and passion for house sitting. If you have pictures of yourself with pets you’ve cared for or engaging in responsible activities, include them in your profile. A warm, friendly smile in your photos can go a long way in building trust and making a positive impression on potential homeowners.

 

Step 3 – Gathering References & Recommendations

Building trust as a house sitter often relies on references and recommendations. If you’ve previously house sat for friends, family, or acquaintances, ask them to provide a reference that highlights your reliability and care for the property and pets. Even if you haven’t house sat before, you can gather relevant references from previous employers, colleagues, or supervisors who can vouch for your responsible and dependable character.

 

If you have experience caring for pets – whether through pet sitting, volunteering at shelters, or even as a pet owner yourself – reach out to those whose animals you’ve cared for and ask for a recommendation. Homeowners want assurance that their beloved pets will be in good hands, and positive references can be a significant factor in their decision to choose you as their house sitter.

house sitter profile example

Understand your house sitting platform

Take the time to explore your house sitting platform, read reviews and testimonials from other house sitters, and choose the ones that best suit your strengths. Familiarize yourself with the platform’s interface, search options, and messaging system to make the most of your house sit search. We would definitely recommend that you consider platforms with premium memberships (like trusted house sitter) over free Facebook pages, as there will generally be much less competition and with a trusted platform there’s much less that can go wrong.

Write the perfect house sitting application message

When applying for a house sitting opportunity, crafting the perfect application message can make all the difference in catching the homeowner’s attention and securing the house sit.

 

Step 1 – Personalise you message

Make sure to start your application message with a friendly and personalized greeting, address the homeowner by name if possible. Show your genuine interest in the house sit and your excitement to care for their home and pets and express enthusiasm for the opportunity to explore their location and experience the local culture. Remember to demonstrate that you’ve thoroughly read the house sitting listing by referencing specific details from it and mention any special requirements or preferences the homeowner has mentioned and show that you’re attentive to their needs.

 

Step 2 – Relevant experience & Skills

If you have previous house sitting or pet care experience, emphasize it in your application by mentioning any relevant skills or background that make you a responsible and capable house sitter. Even if you’re new to house sitting, highlight your love for animals and any other relevant experience, such as volunteering at shelters or pet sitting for friends and family.

 

You can help assure the homeowner of your responsible and reliable character by mentioning any traits or habits that showcase your ability to care for their home and pets with utmost diligence. Homeowners want to feel confident that their beloved pets and property are in trustworthy hands.

Step 3 – Honesty & trust

Honesty is crucial in your application message, so if you have any limitations or constraints, such as specific dates of availability, mention them upfront. Clear communication builds trust from the start. Additionally, if you have references or testimonials from previous house sits or pet care experiences, include them in your application. Positive feedback from satisfied homeowners or pet owners can be influential in convincing the homeowner of your credibility.

 

Step 4 – Gratitude & professionalism

Conclude your application message by thanking the homeowner for considering your application, express your hope for the opportunity to care for their home and pets and offer to provide any additional information they may need. Before hitting the send button, proofread your application message for any spelling or grammatical errors. A well-written and error-free message shows your attention to detail and professionalism.

 

Step 5 – Follow Up

After sending your application, be patient for a response. Most will respond eventually but most homeowners receive several applications and might take some time to review them. If you haven’t heard back after a reasonable period, consider sending a polite follow-up message to inquire about the status of the house sit selection process.

How to ensure a positive experience and review

Once you’ve secured your fist sit, it’s time to step into the role of a caring and responsible house sitter and make a lasting impression on both the homeowners and their furry companions.

 

Building a rapport

The beginning of the house sit is the perfect time to establish a warm and friendly rapport with the homeowners. Greet them with a smile and express your gratitude for the opportunity to care for their home and pets, take the time to have a chat, get to know them and listen to any instructions or special requirements they have for the house sit.

 

Ask about their pets’ personalities, habits, and any specific care routines they follow. Showing genuine interest in their pets will demonstrate your commitment to providing the best possible care while they’re away. If they have any preferred methods of communication, whether it’s through text messages, calls, or email, make a note of it for future updates.

 

Manging Responsibilities 

For many homeowners, their pets are their priority and their well-being will be their biggest concern. Be sure to provide dedicated care and attention to their animals by sticking to their regular feeding, exercise, medical or grooming routines, and be sure to engage in playtime and cuddles, which are essential for keeping the pets happy and comfortable during the house sit.

 

Additionally, remember to carry out any other responsibilities that come with house sitting, such as watering their plants, collecting mail, taking out the bins and maintain a clean home. Homeowners will appreciate your attentiveness to these details and the effort you put into taking care of their property.

Communication during the house sit

Make sure that you keep homeowners informed regularly about how things are going. We’ve found that sharing photos and videos of their pets along with written updates go’s a long way to reassure them that their pets are in safe and loving hands. If any unexpected situations arise, such as minor repairs or changes in the pets’ behaviour, inform the homeowners as soon as possible to discuss how best to handle the situation.

 

Before the end of the house sit, reach out to the homeowners again to express your appreciation for the experience and to update them on any significant happenings during the sit. Let them know that their pets and home have been well cared for and that you’re grateful for the opportunity to be part of their lives, even if just for a short time.

 

Leaving a positive impression 

As the house sit comes to an end, take the time to tidy up and clean the home, ensuring it is in the same condition as when you arrived. Wash dishes, vacuum floors, make the beds, and generally leave the house in a presentable state. This gesture shows your respect for the homeowners’ property and ensures they return to a welcoming and tidy home.

 

Before you leave, take the time to express your gratitude to the homeowners for trusting you with their home and pets. A simple thank-you note can go a long way in leaving a positive lasting impression. You can also share specific moments or experiences from the house sit to let them know that you genuinely enjoyed the opportunity.

 

Finally, you’ll want to politely request feedback or a profile review from the homeowners – better still do the same for them first! Not only can their insights can be valuable in improving your house sitting skills and addressing any areas of improvement, a positive review will make it much easier to secure a house sit again in the future.

 

Maintaining a positive connection with the homeowners could even lead to other house sitting opportunities in the future, even if they don’t have a need for a house sitter, keeping the communication lines open can lead to referrals to other homeowners in their network.