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!

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!

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.

Break Free 2.0

 

 

 

How to get a great housesit

You have signed up with one or maybe all the housesitting websites, but have yet to have one of your applications accepted. We feel your pain. Getting that first housesit is very difficult, so here are some tips that can help you to improve your chances of being chosen:

1. Improve your profile

After putting you in a list of possible housesitters to accept, the homeowners will most likely have a look at your profile. Make sure that your profile is as detailed as possible. Provide a well-written paragraph about yourself, your profession, where you are based/from and how old you are. It is also a good idea to explain how/why you have the mobility to be a housesitter (you work remotely, you are retired, you are on a career break).

The most important piece of information is to share your experience with house/pet-sitting. Even if you have never taken care of someone’s house (friends/family counts here), you can at least mention your experience with animals. Have you owned cats or dogs? Have you worked with horses? Make sure to include anything that might be of interest for a wide variety of homeowners, including that you have references.

Lastly, include some pictures. Select a couple of pictures that show your face, maybe you caring for a pet and most importantly the pictures should reveal your personality.

Housesitting2. Apply quickly

The best way to find out about new housesitting assignments is to sign up for daily email alerts. Most of the housesitting websites let you choose a country / several countries, and you will be notified of new housesits in these countries via email every day. As soon as you see an ad for a housesit you might possibly want, react quickly.

Write and send your application as soon as you see the ad. Homeowners get dozens of applications within the first 24 hours and housesitting positions get filled very fast. The earlier you apply, the higher the chance that the homeowners will remember your application and that the position is not filled yet – some gigs, especially in popular locations, are filled within a week of posting.

3. Make your application personal

Not much different to a cover letter for a job application, personalize your housesit application for each and every housesit you apply for. Include details that the homeowners mentioned in their ad, for example that you have experience with the type of pet they have, have spent time in the same location before, or anything else that you can show that you relate with that makes you a great choice for caring for their home.

Even though the homeowners can look at your profile, the application will most likely be their first impression of you, so introduce yourself again with a more personalized version of the information in your bio.

Another important thing to include: if you have references from previous housesitting assignments, make sure to include them right in the application letter. This makes you appear experienced, trustworthy and confident that these people have good things to say about you.

4. Get references

If you don’t have any housesitting experiences, get creative and think of who you can put down as a reference. Have you dog-sat for a family member who would agree to be your reference? Do you have a great relationship with your landlord who can confirm that you are a responsible tenant who values their home? Tell friends that you are interested in housesitting and maybe they can help spread the word so that you can housesit for friends or co-workers to get that first reference.

Homeowners just want to know that they can trust you. When we casually mentioned to a client that we were looking to housesit in the U.S., she was thrilled at our experience (which was limited at that time) and asked right away if we could house and cat sit for her in Los Angeles.

5. This application is not about you

When you apply for a housesit, the homeowners are choosing the person or couple that is best for their home and their pets, not based on who you are or what you need.

It is perfectly fine to list things the most basic things that you require – like internet, transportation, an urban environment – but both your profile and your application need to focus on what you bring to the assignment. Finding out about your needs and looking at your deal-breakers can be discussed after you have been selected as a possible housesitter.

For now, making a responsible, reliable and friendly first impression is most important and there is no better way to do that than to relate to the homeowners why choosing you will reduce their stress, make them feel their home is safe, and allow them to enjoy their time away from home.

Getting that first housesit can be tricky, but we are certain that following these steps will help make your profile and application stand out amongst the crowd.  We started in just the same way and have now had eleven housesits in two years all over the world!

HouseCarers bannerGet 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!