How to get Free Rent in Exchange for House Sitting

Have you ever wondered how to reduce or eliminate your living costs and live for free? House sitting could be the answer!

When you house-sit you can get free rent in exchange for looking after a homeowner’s home and/or pets. When we first started house-sitting back in 2016. We would get strange looks when told people we were getting free rent in exchange for house-sitting, however, it has saved us over $150,000!

House sitting has been around for as long as houses, however, recently the amount of house sitting positions available on the housesittings sites has exploded! And in 2023 house sitting is more popular than 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.

Below you’ll see the exact steps to take so you know how you can get free rent in exchange for house sitting too!

This is not just for travellers looking for somewhere free 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 it’s like to live in a different part of town this article is for you!

In this post you will learn:

  1. What house sitting is.
  2. Our 4 steps to receiving free rent in exchange for house sitting
  3. If you get paid house sitting
  4. Where you can do it.
  5. Your duties & responsibilities.
  6. Where to find the best house sitting opportunities.

An Introduction to House Sitting

Before we get ahead of ourselves let’s first understand exactly what house sitting is.

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.

Free accommodation in Rome while house sitting
Looking after Ugo while House Sitting in Rome, Italy

So, How Do You Receive Free Rent in Exchange For House Sitting?

There are many different ways that you can book in 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. It makes 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 but we have put together a quick version below! So you can get started straight away!

How to get Free Rent in Exchange for House Sitting

Our 4 Steps to Receiving Free Rent in Exchange For House Sitting

1. 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 specialize 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 worldwide and provide you with insurance – It is the most expensive platform at $120AUD, however, that is a small price to pay for potentially 1 full year of accommodation right?

We put together a really extensive review of our favorite house-sitting platforms to use here!

Want to see house sits available now? See our favorite house sitting sites below

2. 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’s 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.

3. 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!

4. 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.

Here what to ask home owners in house sitting interview so that you cover all bases.

5. Ace The House Sit and Get a 5 Star Review!

We all need that reviews and references matter!

Whether that be for a restaurant, a new job, a hotel, or a house sitter!

So we have put together a house sitting checklist that will help approach the house sit in a professional manner.

It has all the questions we ask before, during, and after a house sit.

All the really nitty-gritty stuff. what day is bin day, where in the house can the animals go?

The last thing you want is to call the homeowner and ask, which bin the recycling goes in. Or if Fido can sit on the couch.

This will help you ace the house sit and leave with a great review.

Free accommodation while house sitting in Montenegro
House sitting in Herceg Novi, Montenegro

Need Some More Help?

Do You Get Paid For House Sitting?

Let’s also get this one out of the way:

This really depends on the assignment.

In some countries such as the USA, it is common for house sitters to be paid but in Australia and Europe, it is not as common. However, we prefer to make money while traveling, by freelancing and working with past employers.

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 (house sitting really is the best job!)

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.

We do know many people that charge for house sitting if you want to how much to charge for house sitting we have a guide that will help you.

Free accommodation while house sitting in Athens Greece
The view from our house sit in Greece!

Where Can You House Sit?

House sitting is not restricted to one part of the world. You can house sit anywhere, providing someone needs their home looked after.

There are many platforms to use to find assignments, we have found that was good so we used that site for a while! However, we now use multiple sites to find our house-sitting jobs.

Over our 4 years of 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 ex-pat community, there are often a lot of house-sitting opportunities. These places include Mexico, Singapore, France and Malaysia.

However, it is not limited to the ex-pat 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 (September 2023) 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!

Want to Live or Travel for Free?

There are thousands of opportunities to house-sit in any country and live for free!

If you’re wondering how YOU TO can travel for free, see our guide on how to start house sitting or check out our comprehensive house sitting course.

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 someone’s life.

Their home, pets, and belongings. It is important that you remember that when house-sitting – it’s not just a free ride. 

Free accommodation while house sitting in France
Britt cleaning the pool while house sitting in France

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. It really is a wonderful alternative to renting, need to pay those big bills to a landlord anymore!

Its not always pet care, so if your looking for animal free house sits see here.

Well, there it is! Our guide to how to get free rent 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 $150 000! When we ran a survey our community of over 70,000 homeowners and house sitters we found that 23% of house sitter, house sit full time and 43% part time.

Do you need a little more help to start 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, to how to write a strong captivating profile. Our secrets to applications and many templates have landed us house-sitting assignments all over the world!

Head over, enrol in the Masterclass and get started with house sitting this year. Enrol here

Author: Britt

I am Britt. I have been house-sitting and pet-sitting for the past 7 years. I have cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats 1 turtle, and 1 rabbit over 80+ houses in 15 countries.

The opportunity to experience different homes, cultures, and communities has been extraordinary.

Through house-sitting platforms like Aussie House Sitters and Trusted House Sitters, I’ve connected with homeowners seeking reliable sitters. This unique way of living has allowed me to save money on accommodation, explore new cultures and meet new people.

Being a member of these platforms has broadened my horizons and opened doors to short- and long-term house-sitting jobs. I’ve found joy in providing excellent pet care and ensuring the home is well-maintained.

I get many questions about how to start as a housesitter, so if you have any questions, please reach out! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!

You can read more about Jay and me here!

Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house-sitting community on Facebook.

House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence
Me (Britt) House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence, France

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4 thoughts on “How to get Free Rent in Exchange for House Sitting”

  1. I have been considering being a house-sitter to help me determine where my forever home will be. I lack experience, but I believe my lifestyle makes me a strong candidate. I’m single with no kids, and I can take my career anywhere. I just need that first opportunity.

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