House Sitting References Guide For Beginners

As a house sitter references are very important. It is one of the most important things for homeowners when considering you for a house sit or boat sitting job.

Which, unfortunately, can make things quite difficult when you are starting out.

We have looked after almost 60 homes all around the world, so we have 60+ references from real homeowners. Which makes landing dream house sitting assignments much, much easier than when we first started out with limited references.

But don’t stress, we all have to start somewhere and trust us, we have been there. But unlike us, you don’t have to figure out exactly how to build some references as a house sitter – when you don’t have any because we will show you how!

Along our journey to becoming professional house sitters we have picked up a few tips and tricks when it comes to references and reviews, which will make the start of your journey much, much easier than ours was!

In this post you will learn:

  1. Why references are important
  2. What you can use as a reference (even if you think you have none).
  3. Who you can ask for references.
  4. All about government/police reference checks.
  5. How to display and pass on your references.
Guide To House Sitting References

Why Are House Sitting References Important?

First, let’s go over why references are important. The main reason is that homeowners do not know you, and they want to know more about you from the view of someone who you have worked with or for in the past or know personally.

When we surveyed our community of over 70,000 house sitters and homeowners we found that 51% of homeowners will hire a house sitter with references, whereas 38% said “I like to give beginners a chance” and 11% said “they don’t mind if you do or don’t have references”

This gives the homeowner a fair, non-biased view of you. Plus If your looking for house sitting in exchange for rent then getting your references is super important! Sure, you can spend all day telling the homeowner about yourself, but they need some proof to back up what you say, right?

What You Can Use For House Sitting References

The number one problem we had when we started house sitting was not having any references or so we thought.

References are a little bit easier to accumulate than you may think. Although they might not all be previous house sitting references you can gather together enough references from other sources to show the homeowner you are reliable and trustworthy.

Family / Friends You Have Looked After Homes or Pets For

We have all looked after a family member, friends or neighbors’ house or pets before at some stage. This is house sitting! (I bet you are thinking right now, ‘well then I have house sat before.)

That wasn’t too hard, was it? Get in touch with these people and ask them to write you are review for your services. The more the merrier!

Airbnb Reviews

If you have ever used Airbnb (or similar) there is a very good chance your host reviewed you. This is good news! The homeowner will appreciate Airbnb reviews because the review is from someone who doesn’t know you. 

This will give the homeowner a little bit more of an insight to you over a family or friend – who is usually never going to say a bad word about you!

Teachers/ Bosses/ Credible Family Friends or Public Figures

We have all gone to school or have a family or friend who has a credible job. Have one of them write a character reference for you. The longer you have known this person for the better. It will give the homeowner a good overview of you from someone who is trustworthy. 

Think of any family friends who might be a doctor, lawyer, police officer, or community leader. 

Your Workplace and Co-Workers

This a great place to great a reference especially if you have been working for or with someone for long enough, this will have some weight behind it.  If a homeowner can see your peers or boss of 10 years gives you a good review and character reference you must be in a good position to look after their home, right?

Your Social Media Presence

When I say social media profile, I am not talking about your Instagram full of selfies or you at the beach sipping mimosas. 

I am talking about any online presence you have that holds some credibility. Think if there are any Facebook pages or groups you manage that are relevant to house sitting or show that you are reliable and trustworthy. 

Do not pass on your social media profiles if they have any photos or posts of you being irresponsible, partying, showing strong cultural or political views or anything that might turn the homeowner off you right away.

Personal Website

Do you have your own website? Obviously, if it is about house sitting or animals or relevant to what you are applying for the better.

Make your own website and put your references, skills, and links to any relevant sites on there. If you pass this onto the homeowner they will appreciate the extra effort you have gone through to showcase your skills.

We have obtained some of our best houses sits from homeowners finding our website and getting in touch with us!

Charity Work or Community Group Work

Are you a part of any local community groups or charity organisations? Have a reference written by the head honcho of that group. This is a great way to show the homeowner you are trustworthy, compassionate and responsible.

Animal Experience

Have you done any volunteer work with animals? Or do you work with animals? 9 times out of 10 your house sitting assignment will involve animals and there is no better way to show a homeowner that you are the right person for the job than to have a reference with you taking care of animals!

Knowing that you have experience with animals is the puurfect peace of mind for most homeowners.

If you have no experience with animals, it’s worth heading into your local SPCA or vet and asking if there are any courses or training days coming up that you can jump in on – and then get a certificate or reference for.

Handyman Experience

This is the same for any handy work you may have done. Remember, you will be looking after someone’s home and they want to know that you are responsible and know what to do if something was to happen while they are away.

Something that we recommend is heading into your local hardware store and asking if they know of any courses or training you can do to upskill yourself to know the basics of looking after a home! Then you can always ask them for a reference or certificate as proof for the homeowner.

Government or Police Reference Checks For House Sitting

This gets its own category because regardless of if you have any of the above or not a government or police check is something we can all obtain. It is also something that we recommend everyone who is looking at starting to become a house sitter obtains.

It differs from country to country to country how you obtain one, the cost, and how long it takes so I can’t give specifics here. However, I have collected all the information I can find for around 20 countries about how you can obtain your government/police reference check.

If your country is not listed I am sorry I tried my best – please feel free to pass on any relevant into to me so I can update this document!

How to Collate and Show Your References

So, by now you should have a few different references in your hot little hands.

What do you do with them?

The first thing I advise to do is to scan them and convert them into a PDF on your computer. Put them all into a folder and keep adding to this as you gain more references.

Make sure you know where to find them, so when you are applying for a house sit you have everything you need.

An even better idea is to upload everything to an online drive. That way you can pass on the link to a homeowner and they have access to everything. This gives the homeowner the ultimate access to your reference base.

A tip that we have picked up along our house sitting journey is that when you initially apply for a house sit attach a couple of references or a link to your online reference drive. This will allow them to check you out before even needing to reply – this can put you miles ahead of your competition!

Finally 🙂

Well, that’s about it for references, I hope that this has helped you and changed your mind from think ‘I have no house sitting references’.
If you need a little more help I would highly advise checking out our house sitting course for learning how to house sit or joining our Facebook community for house sitters!

Author: Jayden Mckinlay

Hiya! I am Jayden, I am originally from New Zealand ands one-half of the Travelling House Sitters. I looked after 35 cats, 25 dogs, and 1 turtle during my house sitting journey!

I have cared for over over 40 homes in 15 countries and even a catamaran in the Caribbean!

I wants to show you how to become a professional house sitter by putting together all the resources I wish I had when I started! You can enjoy this lifestyle as well!

You can read more about Brittnay and me on our about page.

Or connect with me on Facebook or in their house sitting community on Facebook

Jay & Arlo on a house sit on Melbourne
Jay and Arlo While On A House Sitting Assignment in Melbourne

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