So you want to know how to become a house sitter? Your in the right place! We have house sat for over 5 years in 12 countries! So we get excited about teaching others how to start house sitting.
First I’ll give you a really quick overview of how house sitting works and our simple steps to getting started as a house sitter! So we want to give you all the necessary information so you don’t make the mistakes we did!
In this post, you get our ten actionable steps to becoming a house sitter. PLUS house sitting best practices. You’ll also learn how to eliminate paying bills and accommodation forever!
If you are looking to offer your house sitting services, this article is also perfect for you.
Let’s jump into it!
Table of Contents
An Introduction to House Sitting
House sitting is becoming popular around the world.
Pet/ homeowners & couples/ singles/ families can get a HUGE benefit from it.
Over the past 5 years, we have looked after almost 40 homes.
We have found them on many different websites. If you want to see the top house sitting sites we use, check out our post.
There are three main reasons why homeowners love house sitting:
- The peace of mind their pets are going to be looked after by real pet lovers.
- Their pets can keep a normal schedule.
- Even though they are going to be away the pets will be at home in a familiar environment.
Those are three things that you don’t get from pet hotels or pet boarding services.
The benefits for the house sitter are:
- Having a pet to love while traveling.
- A comfortable home to look after.
- House sitting for free rent
- The ability to save on accommodation while traveling or saving for a home.
- Being able to explore a city like a local, not a tourist.
- Free-rent in exchange for house sitting
- Having the freedom to travel to anywhere in the world.
House-sitting can benefit many different people, such as;
- Young couples trying to save for their first home.
- Individuals who can’t afford rent.
- Long term travelers who want a place to settle.
- Those who miss animals. Whether that be because they are traveling, can’t have pets at their own home or can’t afford pets.
- Retirees looking for a cheap travel accommodation.
- Nomads looking for international house sitting jobs.
We have been offering our house sitting services for four years now! In that time we have had the opportunity to look after SOME INCREDIBLE homes all around the world.
Some of our highlights so far:
Australia, Barcelona, Bourdeaux, Canada, Chiang Mai, Caribbean, Dublin, France, Greece Kuala Lumpur, London, Rome, Spain, Istanbul, and Northern Italy.
We are both pet lovers and nomads at heart. House and pet sitting is the perfect lifestyle for us.
Since we love house sitting so much, we want to help others to get started! Below you will learn how to become a house sitter in 10 easy steps.
How To Become A House Sitter – Our Step By Step Guide
Below are the 8 steps to becoming a house sitters (we wish we knew these when we were getting started)
1. Get Your House Sitting References and Reviews Together
Reviews and references are everything.
Before any homeowner contacts you, they will want to read reviews or references. This can be difficult when you are first starting out and you may need to get creative. We found the following were helpful if you have no references:
- Family or friends whose pets you have experience with.
- Are you a member or leader or any community groups, organisations or clubs? Think scouts, church groups, youth groups, girl guides etc.
- Current or past employer.
- References from commendable figures in your life, such as policeman, judge or doctor.
- Airbnb References.
- Dog walking references.
Do you want to get started house sitting ASAP?
Skip our how to become house sitter tips and sign up to one of the house sitting websites and start booking house sitting assignments now!
2. Obtain A Police or Government Criminal Record Check
Having this police check documentation can really help you secure a house sit. It is also a great backup to have if you have no references.
Homeowners often do their own due diligence when hiring sitters and a police check is a great way for them to see you are the perfect one to look after their animals
Head to your local government or police website and order a Criminal Record Check. Each country might have a different version but should have something similar.
You will be living in someone else’s home with all their valuable possessions. Having the peace of mind that you have no convictions can be something that a lot of homeowners look for. Particularly those with precious items.
Most countries these days will send you a physical copy and an online copy to your email address.
Its good to have these on hand to forward over to anyone that is interested in having you house sit for them or to add into your house sitting profile.
It might just be the peace of mind that they need, to confirm you for the house sitting assignment.
House Sitting Tip
So, what happens if your not in same location as the house sit?
If you’re not in the same location as the assignment that’s ok. It can actually work in your favor. The best thing we found to do is have a Skype conversation with the homeowners. This is actually how we locked in our first sit!
Speaking over video allows you to showcase your real self. We have found it to be much more effective than chatting over email.
From the home and pet owners we have spoken to about this, they also agree video chat is the best way to get a real feel for someone.
3. Sign Up To Online House Sitting Websites
The number one question we get on how to become a house sitter is: What are the best house sitting websites to use?
To be honest there is an immense amount of house sitting websites out there, to link homeowners and house & pet sitters together. When we surveyed over 70,000 house sitter and homeowners we found that over 44% of house sitters used house sitting sites to find house sits.
The main ones that we use are listed below.
All of these platforms charge a yearly membership fee but are definitely worth it after you lock in your first house!
Most of these house sitting sites allow you to set up email alerts for certain types of sits, pets, locations, or time frame. We highly recommend doing this so you don’t miss any house sit opportunities.
- Trusted House Sitters (our favourite international house sitting website )
- Aussie House Sitters (Best for in Australia)
- House Carers (Best for the USA)
Sign up to set up your house sitting profile using your email address.
Make sure you build your profile to showcase your trustworthiness, responsibility, relevant skills, and house sitting qualifications.
Remember its all about trust and showing the homeowner you are perfect for house sitting jobs.
House Sitting Tip:
Sometimes the smaller more local house sitting platforms have some real great house sitting assignments & much less competition!
4. Be Creative and Self Advertise
It is always a good idea to self-advertise.
Always remember with advertising, creativity is key! Think outside the box.
In the past we have:
- Created leaflets and letter box dropped suburbs we want to house sit in.
- Made posters and put them up on supermarket notice boards, cafes, yoga studios and community centres.
- Dropped business cards at local pet shops, homeware stores and real estate agents.
- Found and got active on Facebook groups and forums for expats in locations we want to visit.
- Asked friends and family members to keep an ear out or to share our services on their travel adventures.
- Spoke to local councils about adding our pet sitter services to their community resource documents.
Remember the best marketing is word of mouth. House sitting is still a fairly new concept to most. Someone who has never heard of house sitting might get your leaflet and tell 10 people about this great new idea they have found!
You can try social media platforms to get more exposure. You never know what platforms your next house sit might come from!
You could make yourself a Youtube Channel, Instagram, Facebook Page, Twitter, or your own personal house sitting website. If you have a LinkedIn profile even put it on there. You never know who will stumble across you.
5. Complete A Pet First Aid Course
If your applying for house sits with animals, it is important it is to genuinely like animals.
Particularly if you are looking for long-term house sitting assignments.
The last thing you want to happen while looking after a family’s furry friend is for something bad.
You may need to be prepared for pet emergencies. Pets are like family members and you may need special skills to solve one of the many potential pet emergencies that can happen.
We recommend finding your local pet first aider and complete a course. Generally, they are a one-day course and will only cost around $100.
Attending a one-day course could one day save one of your pet’s lives. Along with your police record check, this looks more professional to any homeowner.
Once you have completed any course make sure you update your house sitting profile to let homeowners know you have the skills.
6. Apply, Apply, Apply, Apply and Don’t Forget to Follow Up!
Once you are all signed up make sure you start applying for as many house sitting assignments as you can!
Remember to make sure to set up your email alerts so you never miss your perfect sit.
House sitting is competitive so you need to be prompt and stand out with your applications.
Don’t send a generic copy and paste application.
Show the homeowner you have read their listing and you really want to look after their home and pets.
Remember, depending on the home’s location some homeowners can get hundreds of applications in the space of 1 week.
You want to send an application that is well thought out, grammatically correct, and relevant to the assignment.
Some homeowners will want to know why you want to house sit their house. We have landed assignments and made lifelong friends by being honest about why we want to house sit.
House sitting is a way that we can stay somewhere for a long period of time. The option of checking out local markets, cafes, parks and walks is what we enjoy doing the most.
We can’t think of a better way to do this than by exploring with a 4 legged friend at our side!
7. Genuinely Love Pets and Animals
You will find that most house-sitting assignments are focused on pets.
Pets are usually the most important members of most families!
Usually, this is a cat and dog, but it is not uncommon to see horses, chickens, llamas, ducks, turtles, rabbits.
You need to be able to look after their pets like they are your own. You need to give them the love, and kind cuddles they would usually get.
Pet sitting lets animals stay comfortable in their own environment and stick to their normal routines. This keeps them happy, calm and not missing the owners too much.
Let’s face it the pets didn’t get to go on holiday so they need some special attention while their owners are away on their trip.
8. Don’t Be Picky
You may need to be flexible when you’re starting out and building your references.
Remember, the more house sits you do the more references you will get.
When we first started out house sitting we lived in London, UK. Our first house sitting job was also in London. This was simply so we could build up our references.
The more references you have, the more likely someone is to hire you for a job as house sitter for them.
Homeowners get lots of applications. Particularly in nice areas or busy vacation spots.
So much like a job application, until you have some experience you might need to take some shorter assignments.
House Sitting Tip:
Sometimes you will have gaps before or after a house sit. Don’t worry this is not a big deal. There are many options out there for you for cheap or even free accommodation.
Look into Couchsurfing (free accommodation), Gumtree, Airbnb, Craigslist (USA only) or even the local community notice board.
If you need to fly to your house sits, make sure you check out where the cheapest airports to fly into are. It is also essential that you make sure your passports, visas and other travel documents are all in order!
9. Get All The Information
This is important for people who want to know how to become a house sitter.
Get the homeowner to list out all the information about the house and pet/s.
No matter how small or irrelevant they might think they detail is. Finding out all the information about the house, pets and area can save an unwanted problem or nasty surprises.
Find out everything from quirks of the house, when the postman comes to the names and numbers of the neighbors & close family members.
The last thing you want to do is contact the family while they are enjoying their holiday with a question like ‘where do you keep the trash bags?’.
Find out what the animals favorite snack is. If they are likely to get up in the night to go to the bathroom.
Their favourite sleeping spot. If they have a favourite scratching spot and anything else you can think of. Your main priority is to keep the animals happy and safe and every last detail about them will make your house sit a lot easier.
For Example: We recently had a long term sit with a cat who had a tendency to throw up at night time. The home owner had owned this cat for many years and had just come accustom to this and had almost forgotten to tell us. Without crucial information like that, we could have been in a real panic.
10. Update and Communicate
Before the homeowner goes away come up with an update schedule/communication schedule.
Remember that every homeowner is different. Some people will want daily photos and even Skype calls. Others will want an update once a week or only if something goes wrong. Be sure to come up with a clear plan of attack and respect it.
Don’t be worried if the homeowner asks you to share updates with their friends while they are traveling around the globe. That is something we have come across before.
To some families their pet is everything and it is hard for them to leave them at home with strangers. You want to show the homeowner the pet is having fun, happy, and most importantly very well taken care of.
That is How To Become A House Sitter
We hope that our top 10 tips on how to be a house sitter have inspired you to get out there and start your own house-sitting adventure!
Below are the three house sitting sites we use to land all our 50+ house sits around the world!
Then you can start applying for house sitting opportunities!
Need More Help Starting Your House Sitting Adventure?
We love house & pet sitting and love helping others start their own journey.
If you have any questions or need advice about how to become a house sitter (or would like platform discounts, discount codes or reduced membership fees) please reach out to us on our contact page
House Sitting FAQs
Do you get paid to be a house sitter?
It depends. Sometimes house and pet sitting is a mutual agreement between the house sitter and the homeowner where no money changes hands. Whereas some people charge for their services. We are currently putting together a fact sheet on to help with this.
What does a professional house sitter do?
A professional house sitter is to make sure the home and pets are safe during the period of time where the homeowner is away. As a house sitter, your duties include but are not limited to caring for animals, walking the animals, administering any medication, taking care of the home, keeping on top of housework and garden maintenance, and anything else specified by the homeowner.
After four years of house sitting, we are yet to find any platforms that allow you to sign up for free and apply for house sits.
What do you do as a house sitter?
As a house sitter your main focus is keeping the home and animals safe while the homeowner is away. This can include walking animals, feeding animals, administering medication, vet visits, keeping a tidy home, ensuring the homeowners mail is safe, paying any bills, maintaining the yard/garden and ensuring no one breaks in.
Do house sitters stay overnight?
Yes, house sitters do stay overnight. House sitters stay in your home for the house sits entire duration. Usually, the house sitters will be coming from out of town (or out of the country) to care for your home so will be at the property the entire time of the sit.
Do house sitters pay utilities?
This is something that you need to discuss with your sitters. In general, we do not pay for utility bills on house sits. When sitting we spend a lot of time caring for animals, the homeowner’s property, and making sure everything is safe – which in turn is ‘working’ for the utility bills to be covered when we are sitting. Usually, we travel a long way to get to a sit, for which we never ask for any compensation from the homeowners for. We would not be comfortable paying for utilities on top of that. In saying that we make sure we take care when using utilities at the home so we don’t put the homeowners out of pocket.
Do house sitters pay a security deposit?
Generally speaking, no. However, this comes down to the homeowners. Make sure you sit down and talk with the home and pet owners throughout the application process about what they would like to do. We have never been asked to pay a security deposit for any of the house sits we have completed.
Why do people hire house sitters?
There are many reasons why homeowners choose to get sitters in. The most common reasons are to take care of pets, administer medication to sick animals. Other common reasons homeowners hire sitters to take care of their home is to make sure the home is safe, and to make sure maintenance of the home is kept up while they are away. Let’s get into how to start house-sitting gigs!
Is Trusted House Sitters worth it?
Trusted House Sitters is a platform that we have been using for years. It is one of our go to platforms and a site that we highly recommend! In terms of is the cost worth it, it is one of the most expensive platforms but once you lock in your first sit the membership fee has already paid for itself! You can find house sits all around the world including house sitting in Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, London, Mexico, New York, North America, Panama, Toronto, United States and almost anywhere else you can think of. For more on Trusted House Sitters read our full Trusted House Sitters review.
Have You Done Boat Sitting?
Yes, Jay has cared for a catamaran in the Caribbean. There are many opportunities for to care for boats, if you looking for more information see his post on house sitting in the Caribbean
Author: Jayden Mcklinay
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