Have you ever wondered how to reduce or eliminate your living costs?
House sitting could be the answer! You receive free rent in exchange for looking after a homeowners home and pets while they are away on business or holiday.
We first started house sitting back in 2016, and for the first couple of years, we would get some strange looks, or ask if could repeat ourselves when we advised others we were getting free rent in exchange for house sitting.
House sitting has been around for as long as houses, however, until fairly recently it has still only been something that some homeowners were exploring.
Now in 2020 house sitting is as popular as ever! It’s a way that homeowners can save money and have the ultimate peace of mind – as well as the obvious great perks for the sitters.
In this article, I am going to break down and explain exactly how to get free rent in exchange for house sitting.
However, this is not just targeted at travellers looking for somewhere to stay or retirees looking to live an adventurous life. If you are looking to save for a home, a holiday or even just check out what its like to live in a different part of town this article is for you!
In this post you will learn:
- What house sitting is.
- Where you can do it.
- Your duties & responsibilities.
- Where to find the best house sitting opportunities.
An Introduction to House Sitting
Before we get to ahead of ourselves lets first understand exactly what house sitting is.
In its most basic form, house sitting is looking after someones home while they are away in exchange for free rent. This can include but is not limited to taking care of pets, gardens, mail and the general day to day running and safety of someones home.
Let’s also get this one out of the way:
Do You Get Paid For House Sitting?
This really depends on the assignment. In some countries such as the USA its is common for house sitters to be paid but in Australia and Europe it is not as common.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post we have been house sitting for around 4 years. We have looked after 37 homes (and 1 catamaran) in 14 countries and cared for almost 90 animals.
Over the 4 years that we have been house sitting, we have not paid rent once. However, we have paid for short term apartments when we decided to take a break from house sitting and get out to explore, really knuckle down to get some work done or just treat ourselves to a holiday.
Where Can I House Sit?
House sitting is not restricted to one area, you can house sit basically anywhere, providing someone needs their home looked after.
Over our 4 years house sitting we have spent time house sitting locally around Melbourne, Australia (Britts hometown), on an island in the Caribbean and even a couple of months in Montenegro to name just a few places. We find that in towns or cities that have a large expat community there is often a lot of house sitting opportunities. Like Mexico, Singapore, France and Malaysia.
However, it is not limited to the expat communities. We often get requests for house sitting assignments in Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy the UK and Ireland from locals.
If you have a quick search on Trusted House Sitters (March 2020) you will see that there are over 2000 homeowners in 62 countries currently looking for house sitters – and that is just on one of the many house sitting websites!
What Are The Duties and Responsibilities of a House Sitter?
This is a point that I want to make really clear house sitting is not a holiday, you do have a big responsibility when house sitting.
You are looking after the most important items in someones live. Their home, pets and belongings. It is important that you remember that when house sitting – it’s not just a free ride.
What Does A House Sitter Do?
Your duties as a house sitter vary from house sit to house sit, however, the basics are usually:
- Keeping the home clean and safe.
- Feeding, walking, cleaning up after and entertaining any pets.
- Maintaining gardens.
- Keeping track of mail, phone calls and deliveries.
- Watering indoor plants.
It is true that not all house sits are paid, but you do receive rent and bill free accommodation in exchange for your time and care – which we think is a really awesome deal.
So, How Do You Receive Free Rent in Exchange For House Sitting?
There are many different ways that you can obtain house sitting assignments.
If you are just starting out we recommend that you start off by house sitting locally for a friend or family member. This will let you see if house sitting is for you, gain you your first reference and make things a little bit easier because you know the homeowner, pets and the home already.
Once you have gained a little bit of experience we recommend that you head straight for a house sitting website. Which website to choose will depend on a few different factors such as location and budget.
In our detailed post all about how to become a house sitter, we break down the exact steps that you need to take to start your house sitting journey, we have put a quick version below!
The Steps to Receiving Free Rent in Exchange For House Sitting
Find the Right House Sitting Website
There are lots of house sitting sites out there. Each one has its own pros and cons. Some will specialise a certain area and some have more options than others.
We always recommend signing up for Trusted House Sitters as they have the biggest range world wide – It is the most expensive platform at $120AUD, however that is a small price to pay for potentially 1 full yers accommodation right?
We put together a really extensive review of favourite house sitting platforms to use here!
Want to see house sits available now? Click on the platform of your choice below!!
Build a Profile Showcasing Your Skills, Reference and Genuine Want To House Sit
Sure, free rent is great, but you actually have to want to look after someone home and pets. We find honesty is the best policy.
If you want to look after someone’s home locally to save for a house, say that in your profile. If you are retired and want to reduce living costs say it in your profile. Want to travel long term with all the comforts of home and an animal to explore with, say it in your profile!
You want to show the homeowner you are responsible, trustworthy, love animals and are serious about doing a good job. There can be a lot of competition for some locations so it is important that you have an eye-catching profile with all the important information.
You also want to add pictures to your profile. By pictures, I don’t mean you at a New Years Eve party. I am talking about pictures that are respectable and show your trustworthiness. Think pictures with you and animals, close up with you smiling and maybe even you doing some yard work.
If you are house sitting as a couple or family make sure you include an image of everyone. Another great tip is to make sure you are not wearing glasses and you are always smiling!
The bottom line – save your beach bikini photos and full moon party photos for your Instagram – homeowners do not want to see those.
Apply and Follow Up!
Throughout the application process, it is important that you act fast! Some locations have lots and lots of other applicants. We suggest checking your preferred house sitting website several times a week to ensure you are one of the first to apply for any new sits.
We have talked to homeowners who have told us after the first day sometimes there are over 20 applicants and they get overwhelmed, so getting in first is very important.
When applying, make sure you make it very clear to the homeowner you have read their listing and you understand what they need. Always refer to the animals by name and advise on how your past experience will come in handy with their particular needs.
Don’t be scared to follow up either – give it a day or two after your application and send a reminder – because again homeowners get overwhelmed and sometimes just don’t reply sometimes.
A secret weapon that we always say is in your initial application that you are available to jump on a phone or video call ay their next convenience – everything is much easier once you get off email.
Or even better, if you are in the same town ask to meet up for a coffee and a chat!
Accepting the House Sitting Assignment and Moving in!
When you chat with the homeowner unless you are 100% sure you want to take the sit, take a day or so to think about it – this will allow you to go over all the details of the sit or talk to your partner about the sit.
There is nothing worse than accepting over the phone and then having to decline after talking about it.
Need Some More Help?
Well, there it is, how to get free ent in exchange for house sitting. House sitting is a way of life that has allowed us to travel full time for over 4 years while managing to save over $60 000!
Do you need a little more help starting your house sitting journey? We understand it can be overwhelming with all the competition! You are in luck, we have just finished creating our in-depth, step by step how to start house sitting course.
This course is aimed at those who have never house sat before. We go over everything from which platform to use, how to write a strong captivating profile, our secrets to applications and many templates that have landed us house sitting assignments all over the world!
Head over, enrol and getting started house sitting this year!