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How to set up the perfect housesitting profile

Your housesitting profile is the first thing a homeowner sees about you, so you if you want to win a housesit, make sure it attracts homeowners’ attention in a way that reveals you as trustworthy and reliable.

Here are our tips on how to set up a great housesitting profile.

Photo

Most housesitting websites allow homeowners to scroll through the profiles of housesitters that include their area as a possible housesitting location. Most listings immediately display profile pictures, before the homeowners even click on a profile.

No matter what housesitting website you sign up with, there are always going to be more housesitters than homeowners, making competition pretty fierce. In order to get the homeowners to click on your profile, first impressions count for everything! If you are a couple, have at least one picture of the two of you and show your faces – don’t hide it behind sunglasses or underneath a hat. Whether you are single or a couple, have a picture that shows you with a pet, too, as most housesitting involvements involve pet-sitting responsibilities, so that immediately associates you as good with pets.

Most websites also let you upload several photos, so take advantage of that and show yourself in a variety of situations – at home, with your pet, and maybe a nice photo that was taken on a vacation. If you have a nice garden, feel free to show this is a picture as well. Just make sure to upload photos that already give an idea of your personality.

Good examples:

housesitting profile photos good

Bad examples:

housesitting profile photos bad examples

Headline

The headline is the second most important thing. How can you describe yourself in one sentence without being too centered on you but pointing out what you can bring to the assignment.

Some good examples are:

  • Reliable, animal loving adult to care for your home or pet/s
  • Experienced Housesitter couple with references
  • Retired professional firefighter and wife available for house and pet sit. Trustworthy, clean, non smokers. Currently with homes in England and France
  • Charismatic, multilingual entrepreneur animal-loving couple
  • Reliable and trustworthy house/ pet sitter looks forward to care for your house
  • Honest, reliable, and experienced housesitter available

Some not so good examples:

  • Semi retired Canadian couple – not interesting enough to make homeowners click.
  • Warm greetings from Holland – also nothing that catches a homeowner’s attention
  • Looking to housesit/petsit for 1 week April 2013 – too inflexible. It is unlikely that they will be contacted by a homeowner with such a narrow time frame.

Some bad examples we have seen:

  • “eat, pray, love” sabbatical & retrieve – It should be beneficial for the homeowners, not self-centered.
  • Two friends looking for work and adventure! – Again, nothing stated that the homeowner could benefit from, plus friends have less committment to each other than couples, feels less reliable.
  • Let me handle it for you, whatever “it” may be.. – Too vague
  • Brother and Sister – looking to see the world – self-centered
  • Young professional looking to travel – self-centered
  • WeRHere4U

This is the one sentence a homeowner sees before deciding whether or not to click on your profile. Keep it simple, sell yourself on how you can help them.

housesitting profile headlines

Be personal

It is important to be personal in your profile. Give any homeowner who visits your profile the chance to get an idea of who you are in a few short sentences, but remember that this isn’t about you. The homeowner is looking for someone they can trust with their house, their pets, their life while they are away. This process is entirely about them, no matter how you benefit from it.

Introduce yourself shortly – your occupation (or what your career was if you’re retired), what your interests are and why you housesit. If you are a couple, tell the homeowners something about you and your partner. Point out what you can bring to a housesitting assignment – are you a dog person? Do you enjoy gardening? Have you owned a home for twenty years? If you have dealt with any major home improvement projects or solved emergencies successfully, it is a good idea to include examples for that, too. Focus on the things that matter to a homeowner and refrain from stating the things that you want from a housesitting assignment – these things can still be discussed once a homeowner gets in touch.

Experience

You cannot list enough relevant experience in your profile. Line out previous housesits that you have done, the pets you’ve looked after and all the other responsibilities that came with the assignment(s). If you are new to housesitting and have not had a housesitting gig yet, you can still give examples of your experience with pets – what kind of pets you’ve owned, how long, how many, etc. Also, for new housesitters, because you have no references yet, include reasons why you think you’d be a good housesitter and why you would enjoy it.

References

We don’t recommend including references directly in your profile, for the privacy of the other homeowners you have housesat for,  but definitely mention that you have them. If you have had housesits that went very well and you know that the owners will give you a glowing reference, point out that you have ‘excellent references available immediately’, if you have housesat in several countries, mention that you have ‘references from country X and country X’ (especially if you are looking to housesit abroad).

TrustedHousesitters.com gives housesitters the option to request references from homeowners through their very own system. This gives them the choice whether or not they want their info displayed. This is good not only for your previous housesit references, but also can be sent to landlords, employers, family members or other people who would vouch for you (important for those with limited experience). On TrustedHousesitters.com, these references will be shown right on your profile.

break free the ultimate guide to housesitting bookGet started housesitting now – our housesitting book Break Free – The Ultimate Guide To Housesitting is now on sale for $8.99 in pdf format or for $9.99 on Amazon for your Kindle! Both versions of the book include a 25 % membership discount to TrustedHousesitters.com, free bonus print-outs and over 120 pages packed with everything you need to know about housesitting!

Housesitting: A Pet’s Perspective

Hi there. My name’s Rex. My brother Rufus and I are our parents’ favorite children. When they and our two human brothers go on vacation, though, we have to stay behind. Even though we miss them when they are gone, we are happy they let us live at home. One time we spent three weeks in a kennel, but we slept on a cold, hard floor, Rufus got bit by another dog, and the food was just ‘blech’.

Our mom cried the whole time they dropped us off at the kennel, and again when they finally picked us back up. They never brought us there again. Once they had our aunt come over every day, which was better, but one day she had a meeting and didn’t come to feed us until almost midnight! We ignored her for a whole day after that.

housesit dog

Ever since then, we have friends come stay with us called housesitters. They live in our house with us full time and we get to show them around the neighborhood on little tours every day. They feed us, and play with us, and even though it’s not the same as with our parents, we usually have a really good time with them. Plus, we sleep in our normal spots right at the foot of the bed on the warm carpet eat our delicious food and hang out with the other dogs in the ‘hood.

(Hey guys, this is Rufus here. I just wanted to pipe in and say that Rex sure sounds like he loves having housesitters but he was a big baby the first time we had them and tried to sneak up on the couch almost every day, even though we know better. But know our parents warn the housesitters beforehand about us being on the furniture, so he doesn’t get away with that any more. I let him think he’s giving the tours in the neighborhood so he feels important, but it’s really me they’re following around.)

Apparently, we are a ‘handful’. We do need a lot of attention. Only true animal lovers are allowed to stay in the house, and people have to prove it before they can come care for us. We take two long walks a day and drag whoever is home out into the yard for another hour and make them throw a Frisbee around. We also love to give shout outs to our friends whenever they pass by the house and Rufus and I compete to see who can say ‘Hi’ the loudest. Mom says we’re very ‘full on’. I say we’re pretty much the best dogs on earth.

housesit dog mexicoOh, and we love to eat. I mean we inhale that first bowl of food in the morning and usually get fed again when you have dinner. We don’t beg too much, but give us a nice rawhide bone and we’ll leave you in peace for a good hour while we gnaw it down.

By the way, everybody thinks we don’t understand you, but we know when you don’t really like us. We sense it and Rufus lost his appetite once for a week when a housesitter we had treated us like a pain in the neck, and he even ran away once to our friend’s house hoping to play there until our parents came back (they made him come home again, though).

So, if you want to be our housesitter, please remember how important it is to us that you really love animals, and in our case big, lovable dogs, and you’re willing to take on all the responsibility that comes with caring for us before applying to come stay at our house – we are the most important part of the housesit, after all.

Having fun with the puppyOur housesitting book BREAK FREE – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HOUSESITTING includes an entire section for homeowners on how to find the perfect sitter for their precious pets and what to consider before selecting a candidate. Plus, we share everything you need to know to prepare your housesitter the best way possible and how to make your sitters feel welcome in your home for the time they are looking after your pets!

Break Free 2.0

Housesitting 101: How to be chosen for a housesit

You’re serious about getting a housesit. You’ve registered with a housesitting website, and you have started to apply for housesitting positions. You have optimized your profile, and now you finally have a message in your inbox: a homeowner liked your application and would like to chat with you.

How exciting! But this is just a start, and there are probably at least a few other candidates on a short list. In fact, the whole process is similar to a job application – you apply for the ‘role’, you are selected as one of the most fitting candidates, and now it is all about convincing the homeowners that you are the best applicant to fill the position.

Here are our tips to get an advantage over other housesit candidates.

Housesitting References

If they were not included in the original application, send through your references from your previous housesits, or, if you lack experience, have references from friends, family and others who can vouch for you. Include email addresses and phone numbers of your references along with a quick explanation of who they are/how they know you.

Get personal

Reply to their email thanking them and then suggest a Skype chat to ‘meet each other’. In the rest of the email, emphasize that you are still keen to care for the house, and how you are good for the role. If you are a huge cat lover and this housesit has three cats, make sure to emphasize that in your reply. If the housesitting assignment comes with a big garden and you have a ‘green thumb’ use that to your advantage. Always make sure to include examples for the statements you make. Be modest though don’t exaggerate, and be honest – don’t claim to be anything that you are not.

Win them over in the first Skype call / phone call

Trust is the most important element of a successful housesit. That first phone/Skype call is when you make that first impression and hopefully gain the homeowner’s trust. Thanks to Skype this can be done on camera, which is a way of really ‘meeting’ someone for the first time. (Download Skype here for free and you will be up and running in five minutes.)

Prepare well for the phone call. Note down all relevant facts from the advert and prepare questions to clarify what you would like to know as well. Don’t forget to read thoroughly through their homeowner profile to ensure you don’t ask anything you should know already, and you might also find something in the profile that makes it easier to connect in the first minutes. A casual comment like ‘I saw on your profile that you are a writer, too’ or ‘I saw that you and your husband also enjoy hiking’ indicates that you have something in common and can get the conversation going.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Practical information about the house, responsibilities and financial aspects such as who will cover utilities and Internet costs. You have to keep your deal breakers in mind, too, and the Skype call is a great time to learn more about the assignment. After all, you are going to be living in this house for a few weeks or even a few months, so even if they choose you, it is important to understand if this is the right housesit for you as well.

Follow up

If the call goes well and both parties still seem interested, send a follow up email thanking them for the call, that you are still interested/excited about the opportunity and you will await their reply.

Don’t be too pushy

After a quick follow up email, lay low and let the homeowners talk to your references. Also, you are likely not the only candidate, so they will be talking to and checking references for others on the short list.

Depending on how far in advance the housesit is, follow up after a week or two if you still haven’t heard from them. If this was more short notice, then you can follow up sooner as you will have to plan your trip to the house.

It didn’t work?

If you get the dreaded email that the homeowners still chose somebody else, don’t be too upset. Homeowners gets dozens, sometimes hundreds of applications, and no matter how good your references are, and even you feel like the phone call went well, another applicant might have been a better fit this time.

Email back politely. Tell them they can still get in touch for further housesitting opportunities or should the other candidate drop out for some reason. Homeowners are very likely to return to a candidate they were in touch with in the past if they go on vacation again. If the location is really interesting to you, don’t hesitate to have them pass on your details to other homeowners who might need a housesitter in the future. All the housesitting websites in the world are no match for personal recommendations between neighbors!

break free the ultimate guide to housesitting bookGet started housesitting now – our housesitting book Break Free – The Ultimate Guide To Housesitting is now on sale for $8.99 in pdf format or for $9.99 on Amazon for your Kindle! Both versions of the book include a 25 % membership discount to TrustedHousesitters.com, free bonus print-outs and over 120 pages packed with everything you need to know about housesitting!

Is housesitting right for you?

On the surface, housesitting seems like a simple enough concept. You take care of someone’s house for them while they are away. However, even if you enter in to this with the best intentions, it is important to consider some key aspects to decide whether or not housesitting is for you. If you are a homeowner thinking about hiring a housesitter, read on to the end of the article where we look at a few key factors for you to evaluate whether you’re comfortable with having a housesitter in your house while you are away.

Housesitters 

1. Experience with Animals
Most housesits involve caring for animals, and although some are chickens, sheep or goats in a rural location, most of the time you are caring for a family’s household pets. This means that the animals are members of the family. You will need to have experience at least with dogs and cats. If you accept a housesit with animals, you are agreeing to shower the pets with lots of love! There are some instances where older pets are ill or require getting daily doses of medicine. This is difficult because they require excellent care, and yet not that many possible housesitters will have that type of experience. This means that you have got to be sure whether you are willing and able to deal with this more delicate situation.

Housesitting might not be right for you if you don’t have experience with animals or are neutral toward pets.

cat sitting in germany2. Time constraints
The more flexible you are with your time, the better your chances of securing housesits. If you are open to flying abroad to care for a house in another country, that helps tremendously. If you only have a few weeks or months to travel each year and strictly set vacation times, it will be that much harder to find a housesit that fits in exactly with your needs. Having said that, we actually managed to find a perfect housesit in Tuscany over Easter for exactly the date and the amount of time we wanted to be in Italy, so it is possible – just difficult.

Housesitting might not be right for you if you have limited holiday time or want to cover a lot of ground in a small amount of time.

3. Self-sufficiency
By their very nature, housesits require you to be fairly self-sufficient. How many of your friends or family members live in the city center, right downtown in a city? Most housesits are located in local neighborhoods, away from the typical tourist locations. This is one of the things we love most about housesitting, but it means being willing to deal with public transportation (or paying a rental car), or if you are in a remote or rural location being comfortable fending for yourself.

Housesitting might not be right for you if you get lonely easily or have a tendency to rely on the help of others for basic needs.

4. Experience caring for homes
If you have previously owned a home yourself, you are at a great advantage when applying for a housesit. This is one reason why many homeowners opt for retired couples with homeowner experience themselves. If you have never owned a home, it can be tough to get experience dealing with the ups and downs of a home. The more housesits you do, the more experience you have, however, and in the end you may have a broader knowledge based than other housesitters who only know the one home they lived in. We have cared for city condos and beach houses entirely off the grid using solar power, houses in the Bavarian alps heated with wood burning stoves, and homes in the arid desert climate of Arizona with scorpions, tarantulas and other ‘fun’ challenges.

Housesitting might not be right for you if you have no experience with caring for homes. If you want to gain experience, offer first to housesit for friends and family, learn the basics this way with people in your inner circle, and then you will be prepared to housesit for strangers who are possibly location in an entirely different country.

5. Adapting to a routine
Caring for someone else’s house means adapting to someone else’s routine. This is especially true if there are pets involved, as you are most likely there with the main purpose of keeping the pets healthy and happy. One of our housesits took place in a very hot climate and the dog had to be walked at 6am or it was already too hot during the walk. Likewise, the afternoon walk had to fit in to that window when it was still light enough outside to play catch but just before sunset for minimum heat – this meant we were up at 5:30am and had to be available from 6:45-7:30pm for her as well. Everyday. Part of being a housesitter is being willing to eat your words and preferences and keep certain things up and running the way it does when they are not away.

dog sitting in arizonaHousesitting might not be right for you if you have trouble adapting to new routines or have a problem with ‘authority’ or following directions of others.

Housesitting might be absolutely perfect for you if you would describe yourself as curious, flexible, willing to get your hands dirty, an animal lover, enjoy living as a local and most importantly consider being welcomed into someone’s home as a privilege.

Homeowners

1. Issues with privacy
While there are plenty of ways to ensure that you can maintain your privacy, having a housesitter means they will be in your house, using your dishes, looking at pictures on the wall. They will get to know your pets, your neighbors, maybe even a few of your friends. Homeowners who are comfortable with housesitting are happy to introduce housesitters to those friends and neighbors, and welcome the relationship with the housesitter.

Housesitting might not be right for you if the thought of someone in your house while you are not there bothers you, if you think you will check-in too often or you have the instinct to want to hide way more things than are practical to still welcome a housesitter.

2. Work on the house
As we always, housesitting is a win-win situation, where the homeowner has someone in the house caring for pets and all the small issues that inevitably arise, while housesitters get free accommodation in exchange for those services. Housesitters should not be expected to do any building or major repairs on the house in exchange for accommodation. Along the same lines, maintenance and minor work in the house, especially for longer-term housesits, is fine, but if you are looking for someone to put in a garden, build a second floor or other major work, you are not looking for a housesitter. Consider looking into finding a live-in caretaker, who would be paid for those services along with staying on the property.

Housesitting might not be right for you if you are looking for someone to do major work on the house.

3. Payment
Understandably, if you are going to be away for months at a time, you might want someone to pick up the tab for rent while you are gone. If that is the case, however, then using housesitting websites and looking for a housesitter is not going to work for you. Especially for long-term housesits, housesitters often chip in to pay utilities or internet cost but do not pay rent in exchange for staying in the house. Housesitters are essentially doing you a favor by caring for your pets, your house, taking calls, giving you messages and keeping you informed on the daily goings on at the house. If you want someone to rent the house instead (and deal with clearing your belongings out and making the house/apartment fully available to a renter) it would make much more sense to advertise your property in rental listings in your town.

Housesitting might not be right for you if you expect to have rent paid in exchange for accommodation.

Homeowners who really enjoy housesitting understand the benefits of having someone in the house to keep things up and running while they are gone. 

If you think housesitting is for you, you might want to check out our housesitting directory, comparing all major housesitting websites.

break free the ultimate guide to housesitting bookGet started housesitting now – our housesitting book Break Free – The Ultimate Guide To Housesitting is now on sale for $8.99 in pdf format or for $9.99 on Amazon for your Kindle! Both versions of the book include a 25 % membership discount to TrustedHousesitters.com, free bonus print-outs and over 120 pages packed with everything you need to know about housesitting!