Last Updated on May 25, 2020
You’re likely wondering what is house sitting and how do I take advantage of it? This article is about exactly how to become a house sitter, from choosing the right service to creating a winning profile.
You’ll also find out if becoming a house sitter is right for you; it may not be and we’ll tell you why. If you’re ready to consider this you need to know where and how to find house sitting jobs. We’ll cover all of this plus how to sign up with TrustedHousesitters, the service we use.
This is a big responsibility – are you ready to take it on? How do you choose the best house sitting service for you? Will you choose an assignment that’s right for you? This article also highlights how to ace an interview with a homeowner and how to give yourself an edge over the competition.
What is a House Sitter?
So, what is house sitting and what does a house sitter do? In a nutshell, house sitters stay in someone’s home whilst the owner is away. Many homeowners prefer to keep a presence at their property when they’re gone – this provides peace of mind for the owner and gives the sitter a base to settle in and relax while exploring a new place. Whether you’re a traveller or not, house sitting is a service providing a wide range of benefits for all involved.
What Does Becoming a House Sitter Involve?
Most sits involve minding the resident pets; this may include furry/feathered/scaly and/or shelled family members. Homeowners choose to keep their pets at home rather than in a kennel while they’re gone and that means a house sitter is needed to provide the basics of care as well as companionship.
Often, miscellaneous maintenance duties are involved with the house sit. These are normally mentioned in the listing and tend to include watering houseplants and gardens, hot tub and/or pool maintenance, filling wild bird feeders, etc…
Remember, the majority of listings are for house and pet sitters. It’s rare to strictly find a house sit not involving pets, however these do exist. Keep this in mind before committing your money, time and effort into signing up for a house sitting service.
We’ve performed over 24 house sits and this has been a great way to save money as we travel. As sitters we also get to enjoy the creature comforts of a home, but the best part is the friendships we’ve formed with many homeowners and their pets. So read through this article, take our advice and find out how to be a house sitter, from sign-up all the way through interviewing with homeowners.
Is Becoming a House Sitter Right for You?
The idea of free accommodation throughout the world sounds great, and it is! However, being a house sitter involves plenty of responsibilities – are you ready for them? Are you prepared to devote time into looking after things aside from your own needs?
We highly recommend house sitting as a way to supplement travel. Having said that, we don’t recommend this for all types of travellers. Your age, travel style and flexibility are going to determine whether house sitting is right for you.
Note: You will not get paid to house sit if you use any of the online services mentioned within this article. Always check the terms and conditions before participating with any online house sitting service.
Do You Have The Means to Become a House Sitter?
Are you able to make it to your house sitting job? Can you afford any transportation involved in getting there? Have you looked into any visa or vaccination requirements needed for travel? Have you enough money to feed yourself while you’re there? Are you prepared to possibly pay for utilities? House sitting provides free accommodation, however you must spend some money to make it happen. Also, do you have a way of moving on once the homeowners return?
Do You Enjoy Being Around Pets?
Most house sitting jobs include the responsibility of looking after pets. It’s quite rare to find a homeowner without a resident pet or pets, so ask yourself if that’s right for you. Dogs need to be walked or let out first thing in the morning and last thing at night – are you prepared to do this? All types of pets must be cleaned up after and fed – are you ready for the full-on responsibility of caring for someone’s animals?
Are Your Travel Plans Flexible?
Anticipate that plans may change and be prepared when they do. Homeowners may experience disruptions on their end; that affects you when this happens. Can you show up a day or two early (or late) for the sit? Do you have somewhere else to stay if that happens? Will you be able to extend your sit? Sudden changes involving a homeowner’s before and after plans have affected us on more than one occasion…
Are You a Twentysomething Gap Year Traveller?
House sitting is likely not for you in this case – check if age restrictions apply with certain services. What’s more, homeowners may prefer sitters of a more mature age, so keep that in mind. Although house sitting provides free accommodation it’s not something young backpackers should rely on to supplement travel. In short, homeowners may overlook younger applicants in favour of those with more all-around experience.
Are You a Long-Term Traveller?
House sitting is great for people with time and flexibility, so it’s perfect for long-term travellers. Many sitters/long-term travellers choose their next travel destination based on sits which appeal to them. Tired of being in the mountains? How about applying for a house sit on the beach in Mexico instead? With a bit of experience and luck you can even form a circuit of repeat house sits all over the world, or your own country.
Are You Only Interested in a Short Holiday/Vacation?
This is the perfect situation for being a house sitter! You may have a short trip to the city in mind, or a relaxing stay in a cottage in the countryside. If so, consider the variety of options many online sitting services provide and find the perfect accommodation type just for you. House sitting jobs offer a comfortable and private way to take that much-needed break almost anywhere you want to go.
Interested in House Sitting as a Couple?
Two sitters are very often preferred by homeowners. Teamwork goes a long way and house sitting as a couple makes perfect sense. Two people can share the responsibilities of minding a house much easier. Also, two sets of eyes, ears and hands are better than one when it comes to being a presence in the house and many homeowners know this.
Are You Retired?
Many retirees use sitting in the same way as long-term travellers do. With time and flexibility, house sitting makes sense as a way of spending time in warmer climates throughout the year. Active retirees who also enjoy cultural pursuits will find plenty of choices for assignments. What could be better than picking wherever you wish to go whilst enjoying free accommodation?
Travelling as a Family?
Certain house sits are ideal for families travelling long-term together. Minding pets and helping around the house is a good way to keep children engaged and teach them responsibilities. On this note, families on shorter holidays/vacations should consider exactly how much is involved with the house sit – are you there to mind pets all day, or would your family prefer a less-involved assignment?
How to Be a House Sitter
The best and easiest way of becoming a house sitter is with a reputable online agency whose job is to introduce homeowners and sitters from across the world. However, not all online agencies are the same; some focus on certain countries and others offer enhanced levels of member verification. We’ll highlight some popular house sitting agencies later in this article.
After much online research we chose TrustedHousesitters in August, 2017 and we’ve been with them ever since. To get you started we’ll walk you through the sign-up process with TrustedHousesitters. Next we’ll focus on creating a profile, then applying and interviewing for house sits.
Signing Up With and Joining TrustedHousesitters
Our experience with TrustedHousesitters has thus far been very positive. We highly recommend them to anyone because their support is great and nobody offers more assignments than TrustedHousesitters. Agents are available via chat; this isn’t available 24/7, however representatives will quickly respond to your questions via email. See their support page for more details.
Unlike other online services, you must create a free account with TrustedHousesitters to browse available assignments. Joining this community for free gives you a chance to click on house sits and get familiar with what homeowners are looking for.
Creating a Free Account With TrustedHousesitters
Simply click Join Now in the upper right corner of the TrustedHousesitters website, then choose the Sitter Membership option. From there either sign up with Facebook, or provide your first name, email and password. Once your account is created you’re given access to every available sit on the website. Where do you want to go?
Choose which country, city, state or province you’re interested in and select a sit. From here you’ll see photos of the house and the pet(s). You’ll also see an introduction from the homeowner along with information on the house, it’s location and sitter responsibilities. However you cannot apply for a house sit until you pay for a one-year membership – this step is covered more below.
In addition to browsing house sitting jobs around the world, creating a free account allows you to read past reviews from house sitters and homeowners. This is great for gaining more insight about assignments. You can also look at profiles of other house sitters. These give you an idea of what your profile should look like – homeowners look closely at these.
Paying For Membership with Trusted Housesitters
Now it’s time to get serious and start building your profile and applying for house sitting jobs! This requires paying annually for membership with TrustedHousesitters for $129 USD/£99 GBP/€99 EUR. You must be 21 years of age or older for a paid membership with TrustedHousesitters.
Travelling and House Sitting as a Couple or Family?
One paid membership is all that’s needed in this case!
We are affiliates with TrustedHousesitters. If you sign up for TrustedHousesitters using our special 25% discount code below we receive a nominal commission. This deep discount is good for your first year and covers both sitter and *homeowner memberships.
*Members can sign up as house sitters or as homeowners seeking a sitter. A Combined Membership with TrustedHousesitters allows you to use the service as both a pet sitter and as a homeowner. This membership costs $189 USD/£149 GBP/€149 EUR per year.
Building a Profile on TrustedHousesitters
After becoming a member you’re now ready to put together that all-important profile. This is the introduction homeowners see from interested house sitters. Your profile contains information about you, some photos and any references you may have.
References aren’t required for signing up with TrustedHousesitters, however having them is handy for creating a marketable profile. Have you ever looked after your friend’s or neighbour’s place? If so, ask them to write you a reference. Even if you’ve never house sat before ensure you have at least a couple of character references in your standing.
On the Profile page next to your name choose Verifications from the dropdown menu, then choose Request Now and provide the details. This generates an email which TrustedHousesitters sends to you. Send this email to your referring party to fill out. Your referrer then sends this back to TrustedHousesitters to be added into your profile. See their Reference page for much more information on this process.
Verification is optional, however we highly recommend this for several reasons. First, this service is done at no cost to you by an independent third party group, Evident. You’ll scan several official documents which Evident verifies. Again, this step is absolutely optional and it’s included at no cost with your paid one-year TrustedHousesitters membership.
Second, we recommend verification because this provides peace of mind to homeowners looking for a sitter, as you can imagine. Verification is a one-and-done process – it doesn’t need updated when renewing your TrustedHousesitters membership.
Creating Your Profile on TrustedHousesitters
You’ve found a sit and you’re ready to apply for it. The first thing a homeowner looks at is your profile. How do you create one that stands out and sells you? Make it interesting, funny, eye-catching and unique but do not exaggerate or fib. Here are some things to consider adding to your official TrustedHousesitters profile:
- All About You: Let the homeowner know who you are and where you’re from.
- Why You Want to House Sit: You obviously love pets, so let them know that. Say you love travel and house sitting is a great way to see the world.
- Experience: Did you grow up with pets? If so, what kind? Have you done any sitting in the past before joining TrustedHousesitters?
- Website or Social Media: Mention these if you have any; adding a link to our travel blog gives homeowners another chance to see who we are.
- Provide Photos: Add several current photos of yourself along with some photos of any pets you had.
- Put a Video on Your Profile: Say hello to the homeowners with a brief introductory video and tell them why they should choose you.
How to Get House Sitting Jobs: Applying and Interviewing 101
Now it’s time to really start thinking about where you want to go; the more desirable the location the tougher the competition. If you’ve already planned a three-week trip to Italy, why not start by looking at house sits in Rome or Florence? Perhaps you’re taking a road trip in the U.S. and want to apply for sits as you go?
How to Find House Sitting Jobs With Trusted HouseSitters
Enter the country, state or province of your choice and have a look. Once you’ve found that perfect sit simply click the big green Apply Now button. This brings you to the TrustedHousesitters Application page; send a personal message to the homeowner here expressing interest in the sit. Here are some simple tips to make your application stand out:
- Make it Personal: Simply address the homeowner by name. Each house sit lists the name of the homeowner, so use it!
- Mention the Pets: Include their names as well. Homeowners introduce their pets on the want-ad so make sure you acknowledge them.
- Similarities: Mention anything you may have in common with the homeowner – their listing may reveal a common bond you both share. For example, acknowledge any common ground or interests you may have with the homeowner; maybe you’re both expats from the same home country! Perhaps the homeowner is preparing for a trip to a country you’ve been to? Make that personal connection with them!
Interviewing With Homeowners
Homeowners respond to you through the website; the Inbox on your dashboard lets you know when a reply is waiting. Communication continues through the website until you and the homeowner decide to interview either by phone, video chat or in person. TrustedHousesitters also has a great app for your mobile devices for getting those notifications on the go!
Here are some tips for that all-important interview:
- Be Prepared: Have any of your own questions written down. Write down any answers the homeowner provides.
- Mention the Pets Again: The homeowner wants to know you’re interested in the pets so focus on them, too.
- Mention Your Skills: Are you handy around the house? Do you have a green thumb? Mention this extra experience to the homeowner!
End the interview by asking the homeowner if they have any further questions. Thank them for their time and let them know you wish to be considered further. Homeowners likely won’t offer you the sit right away so give them time to make their decision.
Comparing House Sitting Services and Facebook Groups
Don’t forget to research other house sitting services before choosing. Some services will simply suit you better than others, so shop around before deciding. Other agencies will cost more (or less), offer unique features, focus on certain countries and so on. We’ll take an introductory look at some popular online services below and discuss house sitting groups in general on Facebook.
So, how does TrustedHousesitters compare to similar online services? Read our brief reviews below:
Price: $129 USD/€99 EUR/£99 GBP
Although more expensive than services mentioned below, TrustedHousesitters simply cannot be beat in terms of available assignments throughout the world. Your annual renewal rate is locked-in as long as you keep your membership current. We like the fact you can let your paid-membership lapse for up to two years and TrustedHousesitters will retain your profile and references, meaning you won’t lose reviews from past sits.
A feature of their website allows members to view past sits which are no longer available. This seems odd but it gives members an idea of assignments which may pop up in the future. You can also read reviews of other sitters, too. TrustedHousesitters also has a great filter to search for the perfect sit; look only for sits based on local attractions, type of pets, duration and home or apartment settings, if you wish.
Price: $89 USD/€65 EUR/$99 AUD per year
This Australian-based house sitting agency was launched in 2014 and features some unique features. We found the user interface a bit clunky several years ago, however their website has been overhauled since then and looks better these days. Nomador offers a limited no-cost Discovery Membership. Free is always good, even if it comes with limitations. Their Confidence Membership comes at a great price, though…
You can also browse their sits without the Discovery Membership. An interesting feature with this service is the Stopover option. Members of the Nomador community use Stopovers to stay with other members while in between sits or just passing through. As a member you can also offer a Stopover to other Nomadors as well.
Price: $20.00 USD per year
You can’t beat the price of a one-year membership with this community. Similar to Nomador, browsing house sits requires no registration, which is good. However, we haven’t found Mind My House to be the most prolific when it comes to sits. We like their handy About Our Members page.
Still, the price is right and their newly-designed website is easy to use and full of helpful information to get you going. Want to know what other Mind My House members have to say? Their Community page is full of surveys, testimonials, stories and even poems from devoted participants.
Price: $50.00 USD per year
The original online sitting service, founded in 2000, offers a no-cost membership. Simply create a profile with the free membership; this is then seen by homeowners who may contact you. However, you cannot see the entire (potential) message from the homeowner or apply for the sit, or any sit, unless you pay for full membership. Browsing sits without registering is good, however House Carers free “membership” seems pointless.
The website interface is cumbersome and a community blog section, featuring past experiences from members, has been abandoned over the last several years. Still, it’s great to browse house sits without the need to provide your email address, so have a go and get a brief feel for their service before committing – you have nothing to lose!
Price: $79.00 USD per year
This is a great example of a country-specific house sitting service to consider. These location-specific services may be best for homeowners, though. Competition may be smaller than with international house sitting groups like those mentioned above, but this comes with things to consider for the sitter – more on that below. This group seems expensive compared to services providing a broader range of potential assignments.
House Sit Mexico acknowledges most of their homeowner members are expats from the United States and Canada. This can mean a very large portion of house sits are only available during summertime; many “snow birders” are included in this group of expat homeowners. We feel too many seasonal sits, especially in just one country, may increase competition among house sitters.
You’ll also find scores of free Facebook groups connecting homeowners and house sitters. We recommend approaching these with some caution; there’s little or no vetting of anyone and often very little information to go by with these Facebook groups. Reviews and photographs of the home and/or pets are often lacking within these groups, so be aware of that.
Again, use Facebook house sitting groups with caution. Perhaps sign up with several and keep an eye on postings first. Get a good feel for how members interact and what reviews they provide for each other. Also, see how engaged moderators are within these groups. Finally, reach out directly to other sitters in the group and ask them what they think and get some of your other questions answered.
Until you have reviews behind you, it helps to be flexible with your time and selection of house sits. Remember, the competition is fierce for those highly sought after gigs. If you apply for several house sitting jobs and they don’t pan out, just keep trying.
So there you have it! If you’ve ever wondered how to get house sitting jobs, we hope this article helped – are you ready for the responsibility? If you decide to choose TrustedHousesitters you now know how to create a great profile and how to nail that interview with a homeowner. Check out as many online sitting services as you can and choose which works best for you.