Category Archives: About Housesitting

Housesitting gone wrong: When an assignment turns out not to be what you expected

When Rachel and Robert were chosen for a housesitting assignment in southern Turkey, they were ecstatic. They would be looking after a house for three months in a coastal village located between popular tourist destinations of Marmaris and Fethiye. There would be no pets to take care of, either, which meant plenty of time to explore this beautiful region. A dream come true, they thought.

Sleepy cat CornigliaWhen they arrived in their new ‘home’ last month, they quickly realized that this assignment was not what they had envisioned. They confided in us all the trouble that ensued and have allowed us to share the story of their housesitting assignment gone wrong. Like all digital nomads, their only requirement for the housesit was a good Internet connection, preferably Wi-Fi, in order for Rachel to work on her freelance assignments.

The owner had assured them that a dongle (USB Wi-Fi stick) was inexpensive and would be more than enough for their needs. However, once they arrived in Turkey, they found out that it was in fact cheap to purchase a dongle but the internet usage was super expensive and became a major issue throughout the housesit – this is a nightmare of a problem for someone who relies exclusively on the internet for their income.

This would prove to be just the first trickle in a steady stream of small to medium-sized issues with the housesit, from a very basic kitchen with limited cooking supplies to missing garden tools, power outages, even water outages. The weather was extremely hot, and this subpar, rarely used home didn’t even have fans to help them cool off, except for one old fan that was falling apart. So they were stuck in the sweltering heat, at times with no water or power. Theoretically, these are all issues related to remote living and could have been handled with cooperation by the homeowner.

But the woman never replied to their emails, and when she did, it was after weeks and weeks of delay. This is often the issue when homeowners are on holiday, possibly on a cruise, in flight, or somewhere off the grid. But this woman simply lives overseas and could easily have replied to their needs at any time. Plus, she was not even there to greet them and give them a tour of the house and get them settled in, leaving Rachel and Robert guessing from the start to the finish.

MediterraneanThe question for the couple immediately became whether or not to even finish the housesit. On the one hand, they felt obligated to fulfill their promise of looking after the house for three months. They had also planned all their onward travels around the dates of this assignment and would have to scramble to arrange alternative accommodation. They had also invested in buying appliances, fans, cell phones and even a DSL line in order to have decent internet to work.

On the other hand, even once they committed to the assignment and made adjustments to create a more positive situation – things somehow managed to get even worse. New nuisances just kept coming up, including nosy neighbors, more outages, insect infestations and the stress and tension that would build after being ignored by the homeowner with each email.

Their dream summer evaporated, and the stress was causing fights between Rachel and Robert as well. Instead of the glorious three months they had envisioned, they were battling the housesit from hell and it was hard not to take their frustrations out on each other. On top of everything there was a bitter feeling of disappointment – the couple has housesat in several places around the world, and the assignments had all gone well; this one which they had been looking so forward to had them feeling trapped, instead.

They went back and forth – to leave or not to leave. What would happen if they left the house? But if they stayed, how would they handle the situation?

costa rica watching sunset.JPGLeave a housesit or not?

We talk all the time about how housesitting is a Win-Win Situation for everyone, so if the tables turn and it becomes a win-lose, you might also consider whether or not to leave your housesit. What is the breaking point where you say enough is enough? Is it ever okay to actually leave in the middle of a housesit?

The short answer is yes. If you reach your breaking point and feel that the housesit is more than you can handle, you have the right to walk away. However, there are steps you should take and things to consider before ever leaving in the middle of a housesit.

Communicate with the homeowners

First of all, before you even think about leaving, communicate your issues to the owner. Express your concerns, and don’t be afraid to ask for things to get fixed.

The last thing the homeowner wants to do is have to leave their vacation and return home, so in almost every case, they are going to want to accommodate your needs so you don’t leave.

If you have an unresponsive homeowner like Rachel and Robert did, then you need to make clear that the lack of communication is going to be the reason you leave. It is not a threat, but you must draw the line and make clear that the assignment is beyond what you are comfortable with, and if it is not fixed, you will leave.

Give them enough time to fix the situation, or to find a replacement, if you still decide you need to leave.

los angeles neighborhoodHere are the things we recommend you consider before leaving:

Pets

The most important consideration for any housesit is always going to be the pets. Are there pets involved? We would personally never leave a pet alone, no matter how bad the situation is and recommend that if there are pets involved that you make their safety and happiness your number one task if you do decide to leave a housesit. If you decide to leave while the owners are vacationing halfway around the world, make sure to arrange for the pet to be looked after before leaving.

Comfort

How much would you have to invest to improve the situation? If there are only a few appliances missing, you might be able to make the home more livable with little money. A few cozy pillows, a blender, and a fan might make a huge difference already.

Costs

How much will it cost to leave the housesit vs making the best out of a bad situation? What do flights cost to return home or to fly somewhere else? Are there other potential housesits nearby?

Isolation

If you are housesitting by yourself, it is much harder to make a bad housesitting experience into something you can endure. If there is no internet for example, even though it had been promised to you, and you are all by yourself with no local connections, you’d probably make yourself miserable for the duration of the housesit. Remember: there is no need to do this. It is supposed to be an enjoyable experience for you, too, especially as the odds are you are not being paid for this.

Deserted BeachHow to improve a bad housesitting experience

Rachel and Robert decided to stay because they invested a lot of money to fly to Turkey specifically for the housesit, and because they made travel arrangements in the region for after the assignment. How do you handle a housesit gone wrong when you decide to stay?

Ask the owner for assistance

Again, communicating your discomfort and dissatisfaction with the owners is key. Most owners are understanding and will offer to fix certain things. We had a housesit with an insufficient internet data package once and when we told the owner we couldn’t run our business with so little data, they upgraded to a better data package in order to ensure that we stayed.

Enjoy the surroundings

You most likely chose a housesit not only for the home, but also for the surrounding area. So get out and explore – in Mica and Mike’s case, they had enough beaches nearby, Lycian ruins, hamams and other sights. Make the travel experience as positive as possible, so you get the most out of it

Improve the living situation

Like Rachel and Robert did, buy or repair things in the house that are subpar or non-existent. We always buy a coffee pot when there isn’t one (we need our coffee!), but even installing internet or purchasing other appliances to make the most of the housesit can radically improve the situation. You might be thinking that you shouldn’t have to make these purchases, and in a way, you are right. But when you weigh the costs of leaving, rearranging your travel plans and then of course paying for accommodation – which you are not as a housesitter – you can see that most of these costs are far less than leaving the housesit.

housesit dogIf you do decide to leave a housesit

If you have communicated all the issues and your needs to the homeowner and things have not improved to a point that you can live with, then give the owner advanced notice that you are leaving. Even if that is just five days or so, give them a chance to find a new housesitter. Make sure that a caretaker or a friendly neighbor also know you are leaving, but be cautious of who you tell. You don’t want the neighborhood to all know that the house is being left vacant. We advise this not only because it is the right thing to do, but you don’t want to be held responsible should a break-in occur in your absence.

Again, the most important thing to do is make sure the pets are cared for in the best way possible. Don’t let the pets suffer just because of an issue between humans!

Lastly, leave the house in as good a condition as possible. Even if you are angry, kill them with kindness. Clean up, make sure everything is put back exactly the way it was before you arrived. That way you leave looking as professional as possible and have done so covering all the bases in the appropriate way.

Have you experienced a bad housesit? What did you do to improve the situation, or did you leave?

Break Free: The Ultimate Guide To Housesitting

Break Free in 2017: How to afford the trip of your lifetime through housesitting

Are you still not convinced that housesitting is the key to breaking free in 2017, allowing you to travel longer for less, or allowing you to travel at all, because you don’t have to worry about your pets and house?

Watch the book trailer for Break Free – The Ultimate Guide To Housesitting and get inspired to become a part of this unique travel trend!

You can download our 120+ page book on housesitting, packed with pictures and three bonus print-outs that will ensure you a successful housesitting experience, plus a 20% discount to one of the world’s top housesitting websites for $8.99 right here.

You can pick up the Kindle version for $9.99 on Amazon (same great 20% discount, but no print-out bonuses) so you can read it on the go!

A special offer for readers of UltimateHousesittingGuide:

Join TrustedHousesitters.com today and get 20% off your membership fee! Click here to sign up now!

Break Free is now available on Amazon.com and in color!

Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting is now available for Kindle on Amazon.com (Note: The Kindle edition can also be read if you do not own a Kindle, using the free Kindle reading app by Amazon.com) and in color as pdf download!

This ebook is packed with everything you need to know in order to afford to take your trip of a lifetime!


What is housesitting? 

On a basic level, when a homeowner plans a trip and needs someone to care for their house and pets, they have a housesitter come in whose primary responsibility is to maintain the house and keep the pets healthy and happy until the homeowner returns.

House and pet sittingIn reality, however, housesitting is so much more than that, as we often talk about right here on UltimateHousesittingGuide.com. This simple arrangement allows people from around the world to break free from so many of the barriers that keep them from traveling longer and ultimately living a more fulfilling life.

Who is Break Free for?

For travelers looking for an alternative to sterile hotels and visits to the same old ‘must see’ sights, Break Free will help you target destinations you have always wanted to visit and live authentically as a local.

For people who own a home and pets who wish they had the flexibility to get out and travel, Break Free offers you a step-by-step guide to handpicking the right housesitter for you.

For people who own a second or vacation home, Break Free discusses the issues of keeping your homeowner’s insurance valid as well as creating the kind of detailed checklists to make sure your housesitters can handle all emergencies in your absence.

housesitting around the worldThe book is jam-packed with everything you will ever need to know to have success with housesitting, such as:

  • How to find housesitting opportunities
  • How write a stellar profile
  • How to get a housesit, even with no experience
  • How to find the right housesitter
  • How to get your housesitter up to speed and in charge before leaving for your trip
  • How to deal with issues of homeowner’s insurance, contracts and emergencies

The book also contains an entire section of samples for you to model your own profiles, applications and housesit ads after, plus full checklists that both housesitters and homeowners can use (and print!) to make sure everything is covered before, during and after the housesit.

We also keep the book entertaining! The stories of our own experience during the over a dozen housesits we have done in just over two years give you an inside look at how housesitting can help you Break Free!

The book is available in Kindle format on Amazon, you can pick it up for $9.99 here.

If you prefer a colorful pdf download, you can get instant access to the book here for only $11.99.

Break Free: The Ultimate Guide To HousesittingWhat readers say:

Thank you to everyone who has left a review on Amazon.com so far! We are truly overwhelmed by the throughout positive feedback.

Break Free was exactly what I wanted in the housesitting guide–and then it went beyond and offered information and samples beyond what I expected. When I read Break Free, I loved how the book took me patiently through every step of the process (steps that were more painless than I had been imagining), and detailed the how and why of each part of the process. Then, they added in personal anecdotes, stories and photos throughout the book in just the right dose to keep the material engaging and interesting alongside all of the information they manage to pack into the guide.Shannon

Break Free really deserves its subtitle as the ultimate guide to housesitting. It answers every question or concern you could possibly have about housesitting–both from a sitters and a homeowner’s perspective. – Erin

The book is full of practical information like what questions homeowners and housesitters should ask each other before committing and during the “handover.”Kate

Break Free is a comprehensive guide that will tell you everything you could want to know about house-sitting. – Tina

How to live like a local when housesitting

The opportunity to live like a local is our favorite aspect of housesitting!

Longer stays allow you to experience cities and towns around the world the way the people who live there actually do, not the way that guide books and the hotel concierge suggest. The experiences you have are truly authentic and meaningful this way.

You might be further away from the main attractions or downtown center than if you had booked a hotel, but because you have plenty of time, all you really need is a plan. Here are our hard-earned tips and tricks to traveling locally when housesitting.

Pre-trip research is key

The first thing we always do before arriving in the area is to research the destination as much as possible. That means using sites like Wikitravel.org, Tripadvisor.com and a whole host of travel blogs and websites to find out about major attractions and off-the-beaten path things to do within a day’s reach, always keeping in mind what kind of pets we will be caring for at each particular housesit. For example, if we are caring for cats, then we can be gone for longer periods of time thanks to feline self-sufficiency, whereas if we have dogs at home, we either figure out how many of the attractions we can take the dog(s) to, or shorten the number of hours we can be away from the house.

The homeowner is your local concierge

niagara wine country & lake

A visit to the Niagara Wine Country had been recommended to us by the homeowners of the house we were looking after in Canada.

When we arrive to each housesit, we ask the homeowners their advice on what to do. In many cases, the people who have housesitters are also avid travelers, since they are leaving you with their house as they go travel for weeks or months at a time. On a handful of occasions, homeowners have actually had a big box filled with guidebooks, maps and tons of brochures covering everything there is to do in the area. Homeowners have given us great tips, like nearby waterfalls, hikes or river views not mentioned in any guidebooks.

Even when the homeowners are not so travel savvy, we still try to solicit useful local knowledge from them, such as must-try food and drinks native to the area. For example, when we were in Canada, we were told that we not only had to sample Poutine (which we already knew), but also Beaver Tails, a delicious pastry which we had never heard of. In Italy, we focused our attention on local wine (of course!) but also checking out trattorias that only locals in our small village ate in.

Let the dog be your ambassador

If there is a dog in your care while housesitting, let him or her sniff out their human friends and introduce you. The neighbors or people in the dog park recognize the dog and come over to you for a chat. This is a great way for more local travel tips and also the chance to make a few local friends as well.

If you are cat-sitting you won’t be out on any walks with them, obviously, but that won’t keep you from meeting the neighbors. Hopefully the homeowner has introduced you or at least left you the contact details for friends in the area. We have also been known to invite people over to the house and make pizza or snacks (as long as the housesitters have said it is okay to have the neighbors over – ask first!). In one housesit, we made friends with someone nearby whose son was in a band, and she invited us to see him play in a bar that we wouldn’t have thought to go into. We had a blast. Another time, we spent an afternoon telling stories and talking travel with a fascinating neighbor who has had nine lives and lived to tell about them all.

Bring your hobbies along

jess and millie in saguaro national park

Hiking is something that you can also enjoy with the pets you are caring for. In Arizona we hiked in the Saguaro National Park.

But let’s say you don’t really get along with the neighbors. There are plenty of other ways to get entrenched in local life. If you are an avid reader, you might ask around or do a Google search to find out about a book club. There are also running, walking or hiking clubs, or if you are housesitting in a foreign country, you can sign up to a language course. You can even go for the extra private classes, since you are saving so much money on accommodation! This is a great way to make local friends and really get to know an area in such a more intimate way and make new friends.

Be a part of the community

One of the things we love most about housesitting is that because we are somewhere for an extended period of time, we can become a part of the local fabric. We buy fruits and vegetables from the same vendor and strike up conversations with the locals in our favorite bakery or the coffee shop we visit a few times a week. You can pick up the paper from the man on the corner and wave to the grandma who leans out the window watching the kids on their way to school in the morning. In this way, you temporarily become a part of the community in a city or village you may have never even traveled to if it weren’t for the housesitting opportunity.

 

The advantages of housesitting: The housesitter’s perspective

In Part I of this 2-part series, we have outlined the advantages of housesitting for homeowners. In Part II, we are sharing why housesitting is a win-win situation for both sides and how housesitters benefit from caring for somebody else’s house.

Whether you are a long-term traveler or just looking for affordable accommodation, housesitting is the perfect way to go – here are the main advantages of housesitting:

1. Free accommodation

That’s right – free. When you housesit, you stay in a proper house in exchange for caring for the house and pets.
ontario dogs letterbox

2. Living as a local 

You will stay in a local neighborhood, shop at the local store, eat at local restaurants see a place through a lens you otherwise never would have staying in a hotel.

3. Cook for yourself 

This is a major advantage for long-term travelers. Rather than relying on restaurant food, you can cook up recipes using ingredients from local stores. If you are simply ‘on vacation’ while housesitting, meaning you are only there to relax, you might not want to cook for yourself. In this case you can always go out or even have food delivered. But cooking for yourself is cheaper, takes less time than waiting for restaurant service and is an utter blessing to be in complete control of your diet.

4. Privacy 

Even if you stay in a great hotel suite, you have maids to deal with and anything you want to do outside of the room takes place out in public. When you housesit, you have an entire house or apartment to yourself. We love this for working out, having drinks out on the terrace, even just watching TV in the living room on the couch.
Canadian beer

5. Being home without going home

Traveling can be tiring, and a housesit allows stability and the use of a comfortable house for a few weeks or months at a time. At first you might not miss certain things, but after a couple of months on the road, having a couch, a washing machine, reliable internet, maybe even the use of a car for shopping and sightseeing are such a relief.

6. Puppy love

There are housesits out there that don’t require pet care, but most homeowners who invite house sitters in to their homes have pets they love dearly. Caring for dogs, cats, goldfish, and in rarer (and more rural cases) chickens, horses or sheep is often part of the deal.  Cuddling up with the pets is so heartwarming, but as to be completely mobile, it doesn’t make sense to have our own. House and pet sitting allows time with furry four legged friends on a temporary basis.

HouseCarers banner

The advantages of housesitting: The homeowners’ perspective

Housesitting: An all-around Win-Win 

The thing that makes us the most enthusiastic about housesitting is the fact that, when done correctly, everyone wins.

This is the first of a two-part post on all the advantages that housesitting offers – for housesitters and for homeowners.

Advantages for homeowners:

1. Take a longer vacation

You own a home. You have roots and responsibilities. You can’t just go away for a longer period of time, can you? Yes! If you invite a housesitter to stay in your house, suddenly all those longer trips you wanted to take become possible. That month in Europe you never took in your early 20s or a return trip to see how things have changed since then. Take that trip around the country in an RV camper van, spend two weeks in Peru hiking Macchu Picchu, or even six months on the beaches of Thailand. You make the rules and only those housesitters who fit the description apply.
iano sunset with champagne

2. Peace of mind 

Knowing someone is in the house while you are away means a stress free getaway. Whether you take that long trip or your family is just taking the annual vacation, you know your house is safe, and that if anything goes wrong, someone is there to deal with it.

3. Save money

You don’t need to pay the neighbor boy to come pick up the paper, the mail, walk and the dog and mow the lawn. Housesitters do all that, plus deal with any packages, workers and issues that arise. All for free.

4. Keep your pets happy

You also save the cost and stress of kenneling your pets. You can be happy knowing that while you are on holiday, your pets are happy and healthy at home, rather than in a kennel missing you. Housesitters feed, pet and play with your animals, give them medicine, remove ticks and keep them happy while you’re away.

5. Safe House

Simply put – having a housesitter is just about the best theft-deterrent out there. You leave, but your house is still lived in. Forget automatic timers on lights. Instead, you have people coming in and out all the time. Rather than becoming a target, your house remains off the radar to thieves who take advantage of empty house.

Read on to find out why a housesitter would want to stay in your home in Part II of this post.

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

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.

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The housesitting directory: An overview of all major housesitting websites

There are well over twenty websites that match homeowners with housesitters. Below you can find a listing of all major housesitting websites including their annual fees, which countries they are good for, and some general information.

Global housesits

We have found found most of our housesitting gigs through Housecarers.com, including housesits in Costa Rica, Canada, Thailand,the U.S. and Mexico.

There are plenty of new housesits on the site every single day – primarily for the U.S.A. and Australia, followed by Canada and New Zealand, and a smaller number of housesits from all over the world. Make sure to sign up for daily email alerts for the countries you’re interested in so that you get notifications of new assignments every day.

Annual fee: US$50.00 for housesitters, free for homeowners

We have found housesitting gigs in Germany, Malaysia and Italy on Mindmyhouse.com. The site is the best source for housesitting gigs in Europe – especially the UK, but there are also assignments for the U.S. and Canada, and some assignments for the rest of the world (we have come across some great gigs for Costa Rica and Ecuador here).

Annual fee: US$20.00 for housesitters, free for homeowners

We have found mainly housesitting assignments in the UK on Trustedhousesitters. To a smaller account there are housesits in the rest of Europe, like Italy, Spain and France, and occasionally there are assignments in the U.S., Canada and in New Zealand.

Note: If you join TrustedHousesitters with this referral code, you’ll get 20% off your membership fee!

Annual fee: US$99.00 for both housesitters and homeowners

Nomador is a fast growing housesitting platform with currently just under 25,000 members. The site allows you to send three applications for free before committing to a membership and the homes listed are spread all over the globe – I saw housesits for Peru, Malaysia, England, France, Canada and the U.S. (to name just a few) when I was browsing the site. Since Nomador is France-based, it has the highest number of housesits in France I’ve seen on any of the housesitting websites!

Annual fee: $89, but 3 applications can be sent before committing to an annual membership.

Australia

HousesitWorld Australia is the part of HousesitWorld that was started in Australia in 1999. You can find housesits all over Australia. Housesitters can put up an ad for the location they are looking to housesit in, and homeowners can scroll through the listings and contact potential housesitters directly or put an ad up and wait for applications.

Annual fee: AUD50.00 for housesitters, free for homeowners

Happy House Sitters Australia focuses on housesitting in Australia. The family-run service has been online since 1999, and users can choose to sign up for all of Australia or only the state they are looking to housesit in. Homeowners can either place a free ad or look through the housesitter listings for a suitable candidate. Housesitters can choose to either reply to ads or wait to be contacted directly by a homeowner.

Annual fee: AUD69.00 per year for housesitters, free for homeowners

AussieHousesitters  has primarily housesitting assignments in Australia, but also some in New Zealand. Homeowners can put up an ad with the details of the housesit, or search for housesitters by state. Housesitters can search for a housesit by location, length or latest assignments or wait to be contacted by a homeowner.

Annual fee: AUD65.00 for housesitters, free for homeowners

HousesittersAustralia is dedicated to housesitting in Australia. Homeowners can sign up for free and place an ad or simply look in the housesitter database for a suitable candidate. Housesitters are able to search for housesits by state and apply for a sit or wait to be contacted by a homeowner directly.

Annual fee: AUD15.00 – special offer, limited time only! for housesitters, free for homeowners

MindAHome connects homeowners and housesitters in Australia. Housesitters can search for housesits by state once they have registered, and homeowners can either put up an ad or look for suitable housesitters by location on the website.

Annual fee: AUD49.00 for housesitters, free for homeowners

Australian Housesitter is another website dedicated to housesitting in Australia. Homeowners can register for free and put up an ad for the housesitting assignment, and housesitters can set up a profile with their availability, experience and location. Housesitters can either scroll through the listings or be contacted by homeowners directly.

Annual fee: AUD30.00 for housesitters, free for homeowners

Easy Housesitting

Easyhousesitting is a completely free housesitting service that allows homeowner as well as housesitters to put up ads (for free). Housesitters state their available dates, the states they’d be willing to housesit in and some other information, such as an ‘About Me’, their experience, and their occupation. Homeowners say when and where they need a sitter, for how long, what kind of pets are involved and what other responsibilities are part of the assignment. Sitters and owners can set up a free account, search for available sitters/sits (filtered by dates, location, duration) and get in touch with each other directly through the site.

Annual fee: It’s FREE!

New Zealand

Kiwi Housesitters is a website dedicated to housesitting in New Zealand. Housesitters can look for housesits advertised on the website or homeowners can housesitters who are registered directly and inquire if they are available for the time they are away.

Annual fee: NZ$65.00 for housesitters, free for homeowners

Homesit NZ is a New Zealand-based housesitting service. Homeowners can request a housesitter for the time they are away, and Homesit NZ will select a couple of suitable candidates for them, from which they get to choose the one they like best.

Annual fee: Fees are paid by the homeowners and depend on the length of the assignment.

Town and country homesit is a personalized housesitting service by Lisa McFarlane Clark, who puts housesitters in touch with homeowners. Homeowners can request a housesitter for the time they are away, which Lisa selects from a pool of housesitters who are all experienced and thoroughly checked beforehand.

Annual fee: –

All House Sitters is a new housesitting platform for New Zealand, currently free of charge for both housesitters and homeowners! I saw quite a few interesting listings on the website – definitely worth checking out if you’re planning to housesit in New Zealand.

Annual fee: Currently offering 12 month membership free for housesitters; free for homeowners

United States

HousesittersAmerica is dedicated to housesitting across the United States and sitters can easily state their availability in a calendar in their profile. There are over 3,900 homeowners registered with the site and you housesitters can search for housesits by location or date.

Annual fee: US$30 for housesitters, free for homeowners

United Kingdom

Housesitters UK is a new housesitting website which focuses on the housesitting market in the UK. Housesitters can search for the latest ads and contact owners directly, or homeowners can search for suitable housesitters directly.

Annual fee: £15 for housesitters, free for homeowners

France

Nomador.com does not solely offer housesits in France, but has the highest number of housesitting opportunities available in France that I’ve seen so far. There is also a French version of the website for Francophiles!

Fee: $35 per quarter or $89 per year for sitters, free for homeowners

Portugal

A new platform for housesits exclusively in Portugal, established in 2015. I personally haven’t used it yet and there don’t seem to be a lot of sits on there right now, but it might be worth keeping an eye on the site.

Annual fee: free to register

Other sites

As the name indicates, LuxuryHousesitting focuses on the luxury house market, although we have come across many moderate houses on the website and have found housesitting assignments for houses of the same range on other housesitting websites as well.

Annual fee: US$25.00 for housesitters, free for homeowners

SabbaticalHomes is geared towards academics who are looking for housesitters while they are going home for the summer or go abroad for a semester, which is why most of the housesits are near universities / in university towns. The site also offers home exchanges, rentals and home shares for academics.

Annual fee: FREE

WorkingCouples.com is not a housesitting website per se, but offers a big selection of innkeeper positions, hotel and B&B management jobs and other jobs for couples who want to work together – free lodging is usually included, which is why we decided to include it. Be aware though that the jobs advertised on the site include more responsibilities than a normal housesit.

Annual fee: US$48.00 for housesitters

The Caretaker Gazette is primarily a source for caretaker jobs, but more and more adverts for housesits can be found here, as well. The sits are mainly in the U.S., and you can find a lot of B&B, motel or campsite sits here.

Annual fee: US$29.95

Have we missed any other websites? Please let us know in the comments below!

You can find a more in-depth overview of these twenty websites, including their pros and cons, in our book Break Free – The Ultimate Guide To Housesitting, now available as a pdf download for only $8.99! Over 120 pages packed with everything you need about housesitting, how to find a housesitter or how to get chosen for that dream housesit.

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