How To Become A House Sitter in 10 Easy Steps (Updated September 2021)

So you want to know how to become a house sitter?

Let us give you a quick overview of what house sitting is, who can benefit from it, and our steps to getting started!

We get excited about teaching others how to start house sitting.

So we want to give you all the necessary information.

In this post, you will hear our actionable steps to becoming a house sitter.
PLUS house sitting best practices.

You’ll also learn how to eliminate paying bills and accommodation!

If you are looking to offer your house sitting services, this article is also perfect for you.

Let’s jump into it!

What’s in This Post?
An Introduction to House Sitting
How to Become a House Sitter
Do House Sitters Pay Utilities?

How to become a house sitter

Want to jump straight to how to become a house sitter in 10 steps?

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 4 years, we have looked after almost 40 homes.

We have found them on many different websites. If you want to see the best house sitting sites we use, check out our post.

There are three main reasons why homeowners love house sitting:

  1. The peace of mind their pets are going to be looked after by real pet lovers.
  2. Their pets can keep a normal schedule.
  3. 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:

  1. Having a pet to love while traveling.
  2. A comfortable home to look after.
  3. The ability to save on accommodation while travelling or saving for a home.
  4. Being able to explore a city like a local, not a tourist.
  5. Free rent in exchange for house sitting
  6. Having the freedom to travel to anywhere in the world.
Jay and Ruby the Pug House Sitting
Jay and Ruby the Pug at The Beach While House Sitting in New Zealand

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, 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

1. Genuinely Love Pets and Animals

How To Become A House Sitter Step 1
You must have a genuine love for animals to become a successful house sitter!

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.

Putting pets into pet hotels can be expensive.

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.

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!
Or check out our trusted house sitters reviews for more information about their platform!

2. Get Your House Sitting References and Reviews Together

How to Become a House Sitter Step 2
References, reviews and testimonials are essential!

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.

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. Obtain A Police or Government Criminal Record Check

How to Become a House Sitter Step 3
Police checks give homeowners instant peace of mind.

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.

4. Sign Up To Online House Sitting Websites

How to Become a House Sitter Step 4
House sitting websites have the biggest range of house sitting opportunities

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.

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.

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!

5. Be Creative and Self Advertise

How to Become a House Sitter Step 5
Advertising offline and in-person can be very effective

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:

  1. Created leaflets and letter box dropped suburbs we want to house sit in.
  2. Made posters and put them up on supermarket notice boards, cafes, yoga studios and community centres.
  3. Dropped business cards at local pet shops, homeware stores and real estate agents.
  4. Found and got active on Facebook groups and forums for expats in locations we want to visit.
  5. Asked friends and family members to keep an ear out or to share our services on their travel adventures.
  6. 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 ChannelInstagram, 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.

6. Complete A Pet First Aid Course

How to Become a House Sitter Step 6
A Pet first aid course could save a pets life in pet emergencies.

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.

7. Apply, Apply, Apply, Apply and Don’t Forget to Follow Up!

How to Become a House Sitter Step 7
Apply for lots of house sits, house sitting is popular now and you have to put in a little bit more effort than you might expect.

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!

8. Don’t Be Picky

How to Become a House Sitter Step 8
You can’t expect your first house sit to be your dream house sit

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), GumtreeAirbnb, Craigslist (USA only) or even the local community notice board. If you are new to Airbnb click here to sign up for free and get a BIG discount on your first stay!

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

How to Become a House Sitter Step 9
As we always say ‘too much information is the perfect amount’.

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

How to Become a House Sitter Step  10
Communication is key

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!

Make sure you sign up for one of our favourite house sit sites.

Then you can start applying for house sitting opportunities!

Trusted House Sitters Logo
Trusted House Sitters Registration Page
Aussie House Sitters Logo
Aussie House Sitters Registration Page
House Carers Logo
House Carers Registration Page
Mind A Home Logo
Mind A Home registration Page

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 in our private Facebook group!

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. 

Are there free house siting websites?

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

Want More House Sitting Information?

29 thoughts on “How To Become A House Sitter in 10 Easy Steps (Updated September 2021)”

  1. I did housesitting for a while a couple of years ago but stopped. I have to agree, not being picky is probably the most important tip – keep your options open!

    1. You are dead right there James! Where abouts where you house sitting? We love it! We are currently just getting 3 – 4 months worth of sits together in Melbourne. We cant wait to see what Melbourne has in store for us!

  2. Hi Guys!

    Thank you for this guide on how to become a house sitter! It was very informative.

    Me and my partner would love to get into house sitting and travel like you do! We are currently looking to join a house sitting website and hopefully find something around our city to help us save money – we realise you guys work while you house sit, but have you ever been house sitting while working full-time jobs? It is still possible to do so?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Sandy.

      Thank you for your feedback we are very happy we could help!

      When we first started out house sitting in Dublin we where both working 9 – 5 jobs and it was fine (and we managed to save a lot on rental costs!). We would definitely recommend it to help you save money. Some of our very good friends have been doing that in Brisbane over the past 4 or 5 months actually.

      Once we started working form home we did find that more home owners where interested in us – home owners love the fact that we can be at home vertically all day looking after their pets and home.

      We wish you all the best with your house sitting adventure!

  3. Just starting to consider this idea. I have one major question…. If you have a pet of your own can they come with you?

    1. Hiya Sandy,

      Happy Saturday!! We are so stoked that you’re looking into house sitting! On a lot of the house sitting platforms, they have a filter where you can select “own pets allowed”. Some homeowners also specific this point in the listing. What sort of pup do you have 🙂

      Best,

      Britt

  4. Hi Jay & Britt,

    Thanks for the awesome tips, I just booked my first house sit for a family friend! I can’t wait to build my references and apply for house sits towards the end of the year. Where are you guys house sitting now?

    Kim

    1. Hiya Kim!!

      Thanks you for the kind words, so stoked you have your first house sitting job booked! Getting those types of references is the perfect way to start! We are currently house sitting in Montengro then we will be house sitting in Greece! Its a bit of drive but we can’t wait to explore more the beautfiul coastline!!

      Let me know how you go booking your next assignment 🙂

      Best,

      Brittnay

  5. Margaret Jamieson

    Hello!
    Would really like to pursue Travelling Housesitting but was wondering what your opinion was about me travelled together with my 3 yo Groodle? Paddy is an incredibly docile, well mannered, toilet trained and gentle neutered boy who loves cats and dogs. He also likes traveling in the car and I love to drive so distance is not an issue. What better reference of someone who loves animals than someone who wants to travel with their own. I was wondering if anyone has done this before, how you were received and under what circumstances?
    Thanks!
    Margaret

    1. Hey Margaret,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      OMG travelling with a Groodle would be awesome! We looked after on last year while house sitting in Melbourne and I completely fell in love with Groodles! Right now they are my favourite dog!

      Unfortunately we have no experience travelling with our own animals or bringing our own animals to a house sit with us.

      I am aware that people do house sit with their own animals, however, I do think that it might limit the house sitting assignments that you might be able to apply for. Of course this would differ form assignment to assignment and would depend on what animals are on that particular sit. It could be a good idea to aim towards sitting assignments with other dogs and possible sits that are on a lifestyle block or maybe even a farm? Or maybe sits that don’t have too many applicants.

      I definitely agree with you that it is a great reference and proof that you truely love animals by travelling with one! I think the best way to go bout it would be to apply for sitting assignments and be straight up withh the homeowner that you are travelling with Paddy and explain to them he is docile and great with other dogs. Even if possible and the sit is close it could be worth visiting the home first and making sure the animals all get along while the homeowner is still home?

      In terms of travelling with him I think that would be an awesome idea, at the moment between house sits we are travelling in a camper van and always talk about how cool it would be to have dog with us!

      I would be interested to see how you go with applying for sits with Paddy with you, having an animal in tow is something we would love to do one day when we start sitting in one area a little more.

      All the best,

      Jay

  6. Hello guys,
    I’m starting to do housesitting, just worried I don’t know enough about the pay scale ? what’s the average pay for these jobs? Between 250.00 to 500.00 a week or what?
    Your 10 things where very helpfull.
    Thank you for your time
    Carrie

    1. Hiya Carrie,

      Thank you for your feedback we are glad our 10 tips on how to become a house sitter have you out!

      In terms of payment, generally speaking no money changes hands either way. If you obtain house sitting assignments through a website most of them have a clause in the contract saying no money is to change hands – this can also complicate things if you are house sitting internationally.

      While house sitting we work for ourselves, so for us house sitting is all about the animal interaction and accommodation.

      If you where looking for more of a paid way of house sitting I think on websites like https://www.rover.com it is more common to pay for house sitters, but we have never looked into it so we can’t advise to much more on that unfortunately.

      I hope this helps!

  7. Thanks for the tips. My wife and I are just starting house sitting, but we are more interested in local (Las Vegas) opportunities. I signed up on housesitter.com, but I’m not sure if there are any better sites for local house sitting jobs. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks

    1. Hey Roger,

      Thank you for getting in touch,

      House Sitting in Vegas would be awesome!

      We haven’t really looked into house sitting in the states before, however, What I would do is check out a site called https://housesitsearch.com.

      That site searches all of the bigger house sitting websites without you having to sign up to the platform – it might give you the best indication on what site has the most house sitting opportunities in Vegas!

  8. thanks for the awesome tips britt and jay! I am looking to starting house sitting at the end of the end. For your tips on how to get started I have already started contacting friends and family that I have house sat for before, hopefully these references will help! I have also applied for my police check, lots of little steps but I am getting there! How was your house sitting in Italy? I saw you guys were there in July 🙂 Where abouts are you now? Greg

    1. No worries Greg!! Nice work, getting all your ducks in a row nice and early before Christmas is an awesome idea, there will be loooots of house sitting jobs available then 🙂 We had the beeeeest time house sitting in Rome!! We had the cutest dog called Ugo and we miss him so much. We managed to see all the sights of Rome, which we had to spread out as it over 35 degrees most of the month we were there! We have made our way from Rome to Croatia, then Montenegro (house sitting for a month) then we drove to Greece! We will be house sitting in Melbourne for the rest of the year and spending time with Britts fam 🙂 Let us know how you go with the steps!

  9. I want to start house sitting so bad! My partner and I LOVE animals and would love to take a year off after we have finished uni next year

    1. Hey Rachel, that is a fantastic idea! There is no better way to celebrate graduation than learning how to become a house sitter and travelling for a year! Where do you plan on sitting?

  10. Hey Britt & Jay!!
    My boyfriend Justin and I are headed to Europe next year, we would love to house sit in France so much, your pics of there looked incredible!! What do you think we should do first?? Sign up to a site (ohh which one) start sitting for family??? We are a bit lost but really wanted to get started
    Thanks heaps!
    Julia

    1. Hiya Julia!! Thanks for the lovely words Jay has taken looots of pics this year :)We loooved Europe especially when we house sat in Greece! Ohh I think you should check out trusted house sitters or Nomador both are awesome for there, also check out ideas for getting references, Christmas is an awesome time for this! We have also put the best sites for different regions in this one, check it out https://www.thetravellinghousesitters.com/our-favourite-house-sitting-websites/

      Let me know if you have anymore questions

      Brittnay 🙂

  11. I am still struggling to believe that you can essentially live rent free. I can wait to start house sitting. I appreciate your how to become a house sitter guide guys.. ps if you are ever in Miami I would love to catch up with you two!

    1. You really can live rent free if you are serious about house sitting – or you can find yourself a long term 9 – 12 month sit (which do exist!)

      Miami.. I am currently boat sitting in the Caribbean so maybe that could happen! We could teach you all about house sitting!

      Take care

    1. Hiya Priscilla!
      Hope you had a lovely Christmas!! On all the platforms you can see where other house sitters have rated the that homeowner, home and pets previously. We have never come across any problems at all 🙂 Were you thinking of getting started house sitting?

      Brittnay 🙂

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