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Tips on How to Get House Sitting Jobs
The house sitting lifestyle is nowadays a top searched and popular topic on the web. There are many aspects that make getting house sitting jobs quite attractive, the most obvious one is getting “free accommodations”. In addition to the rent-free benefit, there are several other ones that come with house sitting opportunities which will be highlighted in this blog post.
You get to really live like a local, enjoy long or slow travel and best of all, you get to have pets… Temporarily!
As explained by Mind My House: “Simply put, house sitting is the practice whereby a homeowner, leaving their house for a period of time, entrusts it to one or more “house sitters”, who by a mutual agreement are entitled to live there rent-free in exchange for assuming responsibilities such as taking care of the homeowner’s pets, performing general maintenance, etc.” House sitting jobs are perfect if you wish to explore different parts of the world on a budget.
Interested in learning more about housesitting opportunities, think this may fit your lifestyle? Read on…
Here’s what you’ll get from this article
Table of contents
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Discovering Melbourne, Australia through a house sitting job
Where to look for Housesitting Opportunities?
There are several websites out there, some which have particular geographical strong points such as Europe or Oceania. The membership fees vary by sites and most will let you view available listings without paying/opt in, but you’ll need to be a registered, paid member in order to fill out an application for any house-sitting job you’re interested in.
Here are some of the most popular sites
There are many other region-specific house sitting sites for Australia, New Zealand and more.
Next, you’ll need an awesome House Sitter profile
Regardless of which site(s) you plan to use, taking the time to put together an interesting and comprehensive profile will be to your utmost advantage. The competition can be high for prime locations, so putting all of your best assets forward will greatly help your chances to get into a first housesit.
Choosing the right pictures is very important:
Quality photos (minimum 2)
Preferably with animals or pets
Make sure your face is clearly visible
Pictures that are not solely about travel. You don’t want to give out the impression that you’re only interested in Free Travel
Avoid group photos
Showing that you’re comfortable with dogs of all sizes helps!
Make sure to detail your strengths and qualities. Of course, an unconditional love of animals is and should be your biggest asset, but don’t hesitate to mention you’ve owned a house or apartment condo as an example. Know how to maintain a pool? Are you handy, can you manage minor renovations? Put it all in there.
Get good references. Even if you’ve never housesat before, ask your friends, neighbours and past employers for any character references that show you at your best pet-loving way. All these little things can reassure the home owners that they’re leaving their home and pets in the best possible hands. In our case, mentioning that we work from home and that we will be spending a lot of time with their pets has helped seal the deal on a number of housesits.
Now that you’ve completed your profile, you need to think about the following before applying or saying YES to a house sitting job.
Length of the assignment: If you’re applying for a long-term house sit (longer than 2 weeks) and do take into consideration the location of where you’re applying at. Is the home in a rural or in an urban setting? Are you comfortable in that sort of setting? We personally enjoy country settings, perfect for dog walking and similar to our own living situation back home. But for certain folks, living in the suburbs or being in a remote area would drive them nuts after a few weeks.
Determine what your comfort zone is before applying. Consider a benchmark of 2-3 month length for familiar regions and 3-6 weeks max for unfamiliar ones.
Cultural integration: As exotic as some of the places you can apply for are, it’s important to consider that some cultural factors can be fun for a few days but challenging after a few months. Does the country you’re planning to housesit in have the same types of food, is the language the same, do they drive on the same side of the road? You need to think about this before you commit!
Not as free as you might think you are: Yes, you will get some free lodging but don’t forget that your job is to take care of someone’s home and their pets. You may not be able to get away to that special chateau or remote beach because of time restrictions regarding the pets.
For instance, the two Labradors we took care of in England could not be left alone for more than 3-4 hours, making remote sightseeing activities in the region challenging. Are you OK with that? Check out more house-sitting considerations here.
Transportation: Some homeowners will offer use of their vehicle but most often, assignments will state that the sitter needs a car. Which is perfectly fine if the housesit location has easy access to public transportation. But if you have a good driving record, you may be able to ask the homeowner if they do have a vehicle that you could use and if so, offer to pay any extra fees this would incur, like insurance liability.
We’ve made such arrangements and have even offered to pay the deductible if ever there was an insurance claim.
Apply quickly, you can always negotiate the details once you’re on the short list. If the time and location seem dreamy, don’t wait. Apply and ask your questions in your introduction message. Good housesits get many applicants in a very short period of time. Be attentive to details from the listing, if pet names are mentioned, do include them in your reply. Be prepared for refusals, and the fact that more than a few listers won’t even respond back.
So you made it on the short list for your first house sitting job… Now what?
This is where you need to ask the real questions. House sitting is a great way to travel and live rent-free but do keep in mind that this is a two-way street. You’ll be providing the home owner with a much-needed service. House and pet sitting is more than just getting ‘’free accommodations’’, it comes with responsibilities.
Make sure you clearly understand the expectations and rules of the mandate in question, but on the other hand, don’t forget your own needs during the application process. Here are some random things learned while housesitting from Above Us Only Skies.
What are the expectations: Taking care of the pets and keeping the home clean, are the obvious ones. But chores like watering the garden, mowing the grass or giving pet medication can differ from one house-sit to another. Some owners walk 30-45 minutes once or twice a day with their pets, while others do 90 minutes in the morning followed by a 45 minutes walk in the afternoon – something the dogs will expect.
Keep in mind that the main purpose of house-sitting is to make sure you maintain the animals normal routines. Are you up to maintaining it?
Keeping up with the garden crop may be requested!
If pets are involved, inquire about their personalities: Are they social, behave well with other animals, do they scratch or bite? Do they obey to voice commands (dogs), have a special routine or medication that needs to be administered? Find out how long they can be left unattended or if they can be part of your excursions, do they like to ride along?
Maintaining the pet’s routine is essential
Are you ok with giving medication to a pet who doesn’t want it?
Living arrangements: Not all housesits are created equal. Some might be in luxurious residences with a pool and stunning views, some can be very modest properties. You need to establish what levels of comforts are acceptable to you. You will be living there for a short or long period, so do ask about the wifi, air conditioning, bed size and supplied cooking equipment that may be important to you.
Utilities: Never assume that the utilities will be paid. Nothing can ruin a housesit experience like miscommunication, fellow blogger and house sitter XYU and Beyond found that out the hard way, read about when a housesit goes bad here. Personally, we’ve never been asked to pay for utilities, but some owners may want you to pay for them. Talon from 1 Dad 1 Kid states it perfectly “My feeling is this: If they wouldn’t cancel the service if we weren’t there, then I won’t pay for it.”
House sitting opportunities comes in all styles, sizes and shapes
UK dog walking regular occurence – fence crossings
Find out the exact location: Is the house really in the picturesque village stated in the application or is it 15 km away? Find out…
Ask questions ahead of time. Better be safe than sorry, you can never ask too many questions. Inquire about how much time beforehand or afterwards, you’re expected to be on site or will there be space in the freezer for your food and you may want to ask about wardrobe space for your personal use? Remember, once you’ve agreed, people will be counting on you, so preventing any potential cancellations due to miscommunication is vital and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Visiting the Cotswolds while on a UK housesit
Congratulations You landed your first house sitting job!!
OK, so you’ve got the mandate secured. You’re not done, your need to ask some more questions…
Service provider List: What if something breaks, do you know who to call? Make sure to get a list of service providers like, the veterinarian, plumbers, electricians with their contact information. Do they have friendly neighbours that can help in a pinch? Get their number and names.
Clarify right away who pays for what if an emergency repair or vet visit occurs and the time frame allocated for reimbursement of any out-of-pocket payments. Do keep receipts in a safe place to tally up such expenses when they return.
Visitors: Get the owner’s approval about visitors being allowed or not in their house? This is just plain courtesy. Again, there’s nothing like being transparent about your intentions during the stay.
With the owner’s approval, hosting a Christmas lunch for a local chapter of SERVAS was a perfect way to meet local people.
Happy Pet(s) = Happy Owner(s)
Settle in, relax or discover the area but before you leave the premise…
Treat others like you wish to be treated. Keep in touch regularly with the home owners, a good open communication is essential to a good house-sit. Usually emails will suffice but some might request FaceTime chats or sending some pics. Also, make sure the place is exactly like they left it or better.
A thorough cleanup of the house and grooming of the pets before the owner’s return makes for a splendid welcome back. This can also lead to a great review on your profile. A smart thing to do upon arrival in the new household is to take pictures, ensuring that if you move things around, you can always place them back like they were originally. No harm no foul.
Missing all of the lovely dogs cared for during house sitting jobs
Last but not least
Coming home after being away a few weeks or even a few months? What would you wish for upon your return? Some groceries, a few key staples in the fridge and maybe a quick supper ready to pop in the oven for that first evening back? These kinds of attention go a long way and never go unnoticed. If you’re staying on for the last night of the owner’s return, why not plan to cook a simple meal to end the experience on a high note!
Now that your housesit is coming to an end, you’ll want a great review. Added to your house sitter profile, this will lead to greater house sitting jobs as you build additional references.
Housesitting opportunities offer you the chance to connect with pets while slow travelling around the world in an affordable way. I hope we’ve convinced you to give housesitting jobs a try.